Monthly Archives: July 2015

Writer’s Break

I took my summer break from writing and music during the last two weeks. I’ll have another short break before September. After years of being in school and teaching, I’m still on a semester schedule. I’m not idle when I take a sabbatical, I take my Moleskine book with me to make notes, I call them sketches. I also have a music assignment I work on during my breaks.
I have a brother who’s an artist. He makes art sketches while he’s on vacation. I make author’s plans. Some character will sit near me in a restaurant and I’ll make up a story about him or her. It doesn’t matter that none of what I make up is based on any reality, it’s just a story. Sometimes I take headlines and make up a story about what I think the real content will be, then read the story. They seldom match. That’s not the point. I’m exercising my creativity.
It is not unusual for me to have vivid dreams when I’m vacationing. Maybe it’s because I’m in an unfamiliar place and don’t sleep well. Sometimes my dreams form a story I record when I wake up.
For the last several days, I was in San Francisco. There were many street performers that interested me. Someone could write a story about the artists who perform there. It could be a spin-off the actual ones and their life stories, or a fictional one. Many of them know each other. They are a community of performers for an ocean of tourists who may pause a moment or walk by. Some have advanced equipment, others, just themselves.
For me, part of the joy of travel is to see others with different lifestyles and cultures. My imagination expands as I take in all the different things I see.
Before SF, I spent a week at my cabin in New Mexico. It was more of a quiet, contemplative trip than the SF on. Texas was ninety-four degrees when I left home. New Mexico was at fifty-six. I wrote a few notes to myself there, but for the most part, I just relaxed. I fished for trout most mornings, a laid back activity that requires concentration, but little mental activity. (Yes, I caught some.)
Hiking was out of the question because of the cold rain. NM has had a drought for the last several years, and it was beautiful to see all the rain.
I go to NM to get my batteries recharged. The less I do in terms of meaningful activities, the more I get out of it. Though I don’t teach anymore, I’m ready to start a new semester (of writing and playing music) after a stay in NM.
I think it is good for writers to have some haven where they can think without distraction. When I attended UT Austin, I found a patio on the undergraduate library that was rarely used by anyone else. It doesn’t have to be an NM escape. There are places for quiet contemplation everywhere.