Well, the rumours are true. I have returned from my trip into the blue yonder and have joined the rest of civilization with vigor and new-found determination. Hopefully this will last more than a few days, but regardless the trip was a success. Proof?:
*I wrote 33 pages or 10,400 words of my novel, or the first two chapters (plus I plotted out the whole book)
*I read The Great Gatsby and A Good Man is Hard to Find
*I wrote my 1st essay, a 1500 word essay on the The Great Gatsby
It may not seem like a lot but it's certainly a start.
As I had mentioned before, I took the liberty of renting a cabin on an island for three nights. I figured that by isolating myself, I could get some work done and reconnect with ME.
I am naturally a solitary person. As a child I prefered to play by myself or sit in the corner alone and draw and write. I had friends of course, but in a pinch I would rather keep to myself and live in the giant imagination of mine. If I ever felt lonely, which was rare and is still rare to this day, I would just invent imaginary friends to play with. I even had an imaginary horse, but sadly he doesn't come around anymore.
Anyway, as of late, even though I am alone quite a bit, it was never quality time and I felt like I was missing out. My thoughts were preoccupied with family, money, boyfriend, doubts, jobs, fears etc. I felt like I was just going around in a circle of promising that things would change and then forgetting about it a day later. My creative drive was stifled and fading away.
So I decided to take the initiative and get away for a few days. Even though I didn't go far, just two hours away, it was enough for me to leave it all behind.
Of course, I wasn't completely out of the technology loop. There was a TV in the cottage, but I am happy to say I didn't turn it on once. I also had my cell phone there for emergencies. I was a bit torn about bringing it to begin with, but when I got off the ferry and found myself surrounded by falling darkness on a deserted and unfamiliar island road, the cell came in handy (I called the cottage owners to pick me up).
It especially came in handy when I realized I forgot my camera. Yes. Me. Forgot my camera. I didn't think that was possible, but there you have it. So, despite the totally shit quality of my camera phone, I was able to document some of my trip (see pics), and aside from a few random texts and calls to Ross, the phone stayed off and I was able to relax in complete isolation.
During my days I took many walks, which really got my creative juices flowing. When I was younger, being in nature, especially in forests or by the sea, always got my mind creating stories and plots and characters. This time was no different, and I often found myself hurrying back to the cottage to get my plot on.
The weather was excellent too, a good mix. The first day was clear as a bell and warm. Unseasonably warm. Note anything odd about the pic below (aside from the poor use of self-timer)?
It's the end of freakin January and it was too hot to wear my sweater!
The next day though was misty, grey and moody...a perfect primer for creativity. I found myself walking down a damp, lonely road and notices a meandering path leading into the woods. A small sign was marked "Beach Access" and that sold me on it. Even though I didn't know where I was going, I walked through the mossy forest until I came to a muddy, steep path that led down a precarious bluff. Even though it looked impassable, and the only way to the beach was by rapelling down the cliff using battered ropes, I decided that giving up and turning around was out of the question.
I can be stubborn like that.
I'm glad I kept at it and risked sliding down the slope to my impending death, for waiting at me at the base was an isolated beach. Devoid of any footprints and anchored on both sides by forested bluffs, I felt like it was my own private expanse, and I happily frolicked across it, collecting seashells and kicking up sand...and just acting like a complete moron (being alone can also do crazy things to you).
Even the usually busy sea traffic that traverses the currents of Active Pass was nonexistant. The only reminder that I wasn't completely alone in the wilderness was the occasional roar of a seaplane or the passage of one solitary ferry. Oh, and the four bald eagles that soared above my head and watched me from the nearby trees.
Anyway, my mission was accomplished. With no distractions except my own thoughts and nothing to do except read, write, walk and think, I got got everything I wanted done.
Now I am back in the swing of things and continuing to ride this creative momentum. All I needed was to get past that blank page that loomed before me like something bigger than life.
It might have taken a small sum of money, a willingness to enjoy my own company and a large box of wine but I got there.
And for anyone else who finds themselves wrapped up in their day to day lives, why not take time off, maybe just a weekend, and go spend some time alone with yourself (and not just in that way, wink wink). Even if you don't think of yourself as a solitary person, taking some time for you, and just you, once in awhile can do wonders for your soul. Like chicken soup, but without the chicken...or soup.