Saturday, January 27, 2007

Three Days of Solitude

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.


M said...

It looks absolutely breathtaking. I was one of those solitary type people that lived in their imagination too...okay I still am.

Dan said...

wow... wish I had my camera there to take pictures. can I just send you mine and you snap away?

Wombat & Aspen said...

So you actually had an imaginary horse that bolted.

Wondering: Have you shut the stable door? Is that why he doesn't come back?

*sound of my head exploding*


Becslifeonline said...

That looks like paradise. And congratulations for getting all that work done!! You've made me ashamed now at the lack of work I'm doing for my MA compared to you ha ha.

Karinaxoxo said...

looks great. glad you are back!!!

Markbnj said...

Congrats on a Great retreat.

I've uploaded two different poems for you from the automatic poetry machine.
One is about David and your magical evening, and the other is about the chocolate strawberries.

Suggest a poem yourself HERE


eurobrat said...

Welcome back.

I was quite like you as a child :)

Good luck with your book.

Rachel said...

Welcome back. I don't know if I could do an entire weekend. I am not a solitary person by nature. I can handle a night or so but other than that I prefer people around. I tend to become creative when I am brainstorming in a group so trying to come up with ideas for something when I am alone is very difficult.

Anonymous said...

Must be nice to have this kind of time...I know I never would...

Expat Traveler said...

wow - those were great pics! I love that area. We want to go to Tofino soon and escape from it all since I've never been..

Congrats on getting some work done! I've done the same and now I actually can start applying for any job too!

Janellerific said...

That's such a great thing to do! I know I spend quite a bit of time alone (well, with cat's...because I'm insane), but I think going to a place where I would have to face myself alone would be fantabulous.

Perhaps in the Spring I will do something like that...maybe in Jasper or Banff...

Congrats on your writing...I look forward to having a signed copy of your soon-to-be-famous book!

simon said...

great photos!
I often spend time away, either on my mountain bike, or camping.. Its a fantastic way to recharge.

You are not alone with troubles with blogger either!

Rachel said...

that sounds amazing.

i think it's all too easy to forget that we need time on our own to re-connect with who we actually are. sounds like you did a good job of it!

Kira said...

sounds SO LOVELY! glad you had a wonderful time. you have inspired me...maybe a february weekend will hold the same for me, i can't wait to get "my plot on" already. god, i love that phrase. i am so stealing it.

Wanderlusting said...

M- Me too and sometimes I prefer it that way!

Dan - Wish I had a proper camera too with me. First time I ever forgot it, tho I must say the camera phone didn't do too bad of a job

Wombat - Yeah, I don't know what that says about me. I could tell you what he looks like though, in case you see him.

Becs - Thanks but the real struggle now is trying to continue getting the work done

Karina - I come back and you are just about to go!

Mark - Your poem on David Copperfield was quite...unique, to say the least! ;)

Eurobrat - Must be our Finnish ancestory!

Rachel - Yeah I admit I suck in a group...I just want everybody to shut up so I can think.

Anonymous - I think it's important that even if you don't have the time, that you make the time.

Expat - Tofino is lovely, especially now with all the storms and waves. Congrats on your work permit! No more snotty brats!

Janelle - Hmm, Banf or Jasper would be a great idea. You are lucky to live so close. You gonna road trip with your cats because that's something to write a book about.

Simon - Being alone in the outdoors is a tonic. As for new Blogger, one good thing about it is that so far it lets me upload as many pics as I like. Yay!

Rachel - you know it! I'm already planning my next retreat!

Kira - I think everyone needs to get away and have some alone time. It's a great idea and I promise you would get your "plot on"