By Leslie Lindsay
Since May I’ve waffled. I didn’t want to write. The kids were home from school. I simply didn’t have the time–and on some days–the inclination to haul out the laptop, open the manucript doc and tap away on the keys.
“Once I go on my retreat at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,” I told myself, “Then I’d want to write.” I didn’t. In fact, the whole week in Madison just drilled in the fact that writing was hard. Damn hard. Perphaps I’d be better off without it. My well-meaning and devoted critique partner supported me. No, she encouraged me to re-think my statements, my intentions. I hated her for it. Throwing my laptop out of the window and lathering myself with Hawaiian Tropic sounded like the better option.
Yet for some dumb reason, I persisted. Maybe it was because I had already. spent so much time and effort on the manuscript? Sunk cost and all of that. Maybe it was because I knew there were only about 2 or 3 chapters left to write before I could consider the thing done, nevermind that editing and more rounds of revisions were needed, plus the agent submission process before it actually (hopefully) became a book.
And then I went to Ireland, home of W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Bram Stoker, other well-known literary figures. Maeve Binchy, Jonathan Swift. Ireland loves their writers. They used to have their faces on dollar bills, before the Euro. My darling hubby would look over at me in the tiny rental car, me the passenger on the opposite side of the car from what we are accustomed to here in the U.S., on the other side of the pond and say, “So, what stories would you write about this area?”
I sat the guidebook down, marking my page on castle ruins of County Limerick and looked to him, “Seriously?”
“Yes, seriously,” he responded.
“Well, I…don’t know.”
“Too foreign for you?” He pressed.
“Something like that.” More like, I’m on vacation and how dare you try to make me work. But the fact was, my brain was already spinning tales, asking questions, looking for answers the muse would provide. It was too much almost to recount those story ideas to my husband, because doing so might actually mean I can’t get away from it, it might actually mean I had to write.
The words and descriptions of the countryside filled my head as it blurred past in a series of green and brown and blue. And even though I toted my journal along, I didn’t really use it. Blasphemous? Maybe. But honestly I was too busy reading the guidebook, taking in the sites, experiencing things that I just wanted to get away from it all.
And when we returned to the States, my fingers were itching to write. Not on the laptop, mind you but on notes, paper, lists…just something to whet my appetite. I wrote travel reviews on TripAdvisor. Does that count? Eventually, several days after being home–and several dozen loads of laundry, picking up the dog from the kennel, the kids from the grandparents, I anxiously opened the manuscript.
It wasn’t half-bad. In fact, it wasn’t nearly the mess I thought it might be. Being away from it actually renewed my passion, let me look at it with fresh eyes. And that, is a good thing.
So what are you waiting for? Write on, Wednesday!