Writers are observers. We need to observe life in all its grand scope and small detail—places, things, people, events, words, emotions.
A couple of weeks ago, I moved from one state to another one—literally across the country. Since everything about my new home is new, I’m in major observation mode right now. There are so many details that may or may not ever make it into a story. But whether a certain detail actually makes it into a book or not isn’t really the point. Every detail observed and pondered is another wrinkle on the brain, another thought or sound or smell added to the richness of experience.
Details like the dirt road I drive on every day that leads up to the house where I’m staying. I’m learning the spots along the road where the rain has eroded the dirt into a washboard surface, and the spot that looks smooth but the dirt makes the car fishtail ever so slightly whether the road is wet or dry.
Details like the lichen that grows in abundance on the trees. So many different kinds and colors:
I have not been very active in the blogosphere or on social media for the past two weeks. Normally I am one to preach about the importance of being consistent with your blogging or social media postings. Consistency does indeed count for a lot, but hopefully I’ve built enough of a following that my two-week absence hasn’t cost me all of my supporters. (Right? I say, dear follower, isn’t that right?)
Anyway, my excuse is that I was moving. Across the country. I’ve lived in Virginia my entire life, and I decided to move to Idaho. And I drove the whole way (well, my sister drove with me. She awesomely gave up a week of her life so I wouldn’t have to drive solo cross-country). But still, I spent a week either driving, navigating, or passed out in a hotel room. I didn’t have phone or internet signal a lot of the time (sometimes it was enough for the GPS, sometimes not).
After the drive, I’ve spent the last few days getting settled in the room I’m temporarily renting, putting my stuff in storage, learning my way around town, etc., etc. And so finally, for the first time in two weeks, I have a chance to sit down and write. Continue reading
I don’t often participate in blog tags, but since this particular post by one of my favorite bloggers was about travel, I decided to join up. So here are the questions, and my answers, all about what a jaded world traveler I may or may not be:
Which countries have you visited so far?
Assuming this does not include airports (therefore I cannot put Germany on this list), then I have visited England, Norway, Iceland, and Costa Rica. And West Virginia, which some in my part of the USA might consider to be a foreign country, but that’s a different topic.
A lovely little stream in the woods in southern Norway. It looks a lot like West Virginia, actually.
Which destination is at the top of your bucket list? In other words: where do you REALLY want to go some day?
I have a long travel wish list! But some of top ones are Finland, Ireland, Faroe Islands, and Canada.
What is your most ideal vacation (beach, shopping trip, cultural holidays, etc)? Continue reading
It’s been a while since I’ve written a travel post, because it’s been a while (far too long) since I’ve been on a trip. But last week I finally went on another adventure to a new land – and this time, I actually stayed in my own country.
The farthest west I’d ever been before was Kentucky (I’m east coast born and bred, in case you didn’t know). Last week I ventured all the way to northern Idaho.
Evergreens, mountains, a mirror lake, and snow – what’s not to love?
Before the trip, when I told friends where I was going, Continue reading
For this week’s post, I’m going to share a poem. A bit unusual, especially if you know me – I’m not a poet, and I don’t pretend to be. I wrote a poem for a writing contest for the Iceland Writers Retreat. I didn’t win the contest, but I wanted to share the poem anyway. It’s all about two of my favorite things, stories and Iceland.
Eternal Continue reading
This past weekend I treated myself to a mini writer’s retreat. I rented a little cabin through Airbnb (free plug here for the Airbnb site and this cabin in particular). While there’s nothing particularly stressful about my home life, I just wanted to get away for a couple of days, and give myself an excuse to not get distracted by the hundreds of little things that can pop up when you’re sitting at home trying to write.
This little cottage was perfect: cozy and rustic but still had all the amenities (air conditioning and wi-fi being the most important), easy to find but not in the middle of town. Being surrounded by nature is relaxing and inspiring for me. It was refreshing to wake up to a rooster crowing, and take an afternoon stroll down the road and be greeted by a horse at his pasture fence. Even though nothing I’m writing on right now features farmlands or roosters, this sort of environment pus my mind and spirit at ease and therefore lets the creativity rise to the surface.
Here are a few take-aways from my writing weekend:
- Two nights is not long enough. Next time I decide to take a writer’s retreat (whether by myself, or with a group), it needs to be longer.
- I didn’t feel guilty about being anti-social. Actually, I spent several hours chatting with my wonderful host (who is also a writer) and had a lovely time. A writer needs to be a keen observer of people, which is hard to do if you’re a hermit. But for just a couple of days it was nice to not put on makeup and not leave the house except to sit in the garden and write.
- I really need to live in the country, preferably near the mountains. While I don’t want to live so remote that it takes an hour to get to the nearest grocery story, it’s nice to drive down a two-lane road and not see a traffic light—or a traffic jam—for a few miles.
So now I’m back to my regular life, driving through the bustling city and wearing makeup and looking presentable. But I came away from this weekend feeling refreshed, inspired, and with several writing tasks checked off my to-do list. The trip was well worth it and I hope to do it again soon!
My view of the garden when I sat outside to write