Yes, it’s true that writers need to find a way to write every day. But it’s also true that writers, like everyone else, need vacations. For me, I need to escape from the dreary, dark, cold and rainy Seattle weather sometime post-holidays and pre-spring. I used to take my laptop or at least a notebook with me on these sun breaks, but not anymore, not since I noticed a pattern. That is, most times my laptop and notebook stayed in my carry-on bag — never even making it on to the desk or table of my sunny getaway room. Because, when I’m on vacation, those things look like work and I don’t want to work. Oh sure, sometimes an inspiration may occur, a lovely bit of conversation overheard bears writing down, or the book I’m reading sparks a thought I want to remember for future reference. That’s what cocktail napkins and hotel stationery are for!
On my recent trip to San Jose del Cabo, I immersed myself in new experiences and took in as much Vitamin D as my fair skin would allow.
I toured an organic farm (Los Tamarindos: http://www.huertalostamarindos.com/) and took a cooking class:
Walked through an old estuary:
Took a hike up a dirt road where zip-liners zoomed past overhead:
Toured the old town of San Jose del Cabo — especially the art district — where I picked up a beautiful salad bowl set:
Took lots of walks down the beach, waded and swam in the sea:
Ate delicious food and had many great conversations with my friend and travel companion:
The other thing one gets to do on vacation is read. It’s related to writing — so not all is lost on vacation for the writer.
And, when else would I have to time to read, over the course of several days together, a brilliant novel of 771 pages? I didn’t quite finish it in Mexico and cannot put it down now that I’m back. What a fabulous novel, Dickensian in its character development and unexpected plot twists. Simply the best book I’ve read in some time. Buy it! Or get in the queue for it at the library and be prepared to surrender to the world that Donna Tartt has so expertly fashioned in The Goldfinch. Set aside plenty of time to savor the story of Theo Decker, from damaged adolescent (his mother is killed by a bomb at a museum in New York, while he survives) to the blinding sun, heat and shady characters he meets in Las Vegas and back again to New York, moving between the world of the impossibly rich and the underworld of organized criminals. It is gut-wrenching and sad but filled with insight and wisdom, lovely writing and passages that I simply must jot down, read out loud and read over again — the best kind of reading experience.
Which brings me back to the idea I started with. Vacations are important and necessary, allowing time to relax and experience new things, and also — to read.