Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Mind's Still on Vacation

I think I’m having writer’s block.  
I’m trying to write today’s blog entry.  I’ve been at it for a couple of hours now.  I can’t seem to get anything done.  
Part of it is that I don’t know what I should write about right now.  
It should be easy, right?  I’ve just come back from a month long vacation.  Two conventions, 11,000+ miles of travel, over sixteen hundred photos snapped.  I should have a ton of material to write about. 
And there’s the transition back to real life.  A month away, going back to work yesterday felt a bit like starting a new job.  One where my first assignment was to get the desk of the person I was taking over from organized.  This was a moment I was trying to prepare for while at the convention; how to return to real life while maintaining the change of attitude being at the convention always brings.  
I could even write an essay like we used to do back in school.  “What did I do on my Summer Vacation.”  The timing is right, since school kids are starting to go back to their new terms as well.  
But nothing seems to gel this morning.  Nothing is coming together to become a topic to write about.  
It’s like I’m floating on the ocean, with water everywhere, and I’m dying of thirst.  Well...  That’s a bit dramatic.  
I’ve told myself that the point of this blog is to give myself a deadline, every week.  To come up and finish one piece and print it here.  
I’ve told myself that the purpose of this blog is to practice fictionalizing my life, to come up with the things that are important to me, find the seeds I can turn into stories, to rake over the compost heap of ideas and see what grows. 
But, even now, I’m feeling the strain of getting these words out on the screen.  This is the hardest I can remember it being after all this time.  
Why is that?  
It’s because I’m trying too hard.  I don’t know if that is the real reason or not, but for the purpose of this blog I’ve decided that it is.  I’m trying too hard.  Yeah.  That’s it.  It’s his fault, not mine.  
I want something important to come out of this trip.  It was the longest vacation of my adult life.  One month from the last day I worked in July to my first day back in August.  There was a paranoid part of me that worried “THEY,” the powers that be, my boss, the Universe, God, Fate, Karma, would align themselves and force me to cancel.  
But they didn’t.  I went.  I traveled.  I saw.  I experienced.  I enjoyed.  
What did I enjoy?  Just being away from work?  That’s always good, especially if you’ve worked hard, as I believe I’ve done.  Everyone said, when I returned to the office, that I looked very relaxed.  That is not something people usually say about me.  “He’s relaxed.”  Typically it’s more like, “Give him space in case he explodes.”  
I’m not THAT bad.  Honest.  
But just being away from work is kind of a passive enjoyment.  It’s negative in the sense that it’s NOT being over there, rather than BEING here.  
So, what did I enjoy about my vacation?  
I enjoyed feeling like a creative person.  A writer.  Being with my writer friends and talking about stories, what we’re working on, what we want to do.  
I enjoyed the fact that every pub I visited in England and Wales, except one, had hard apple cider on tap.  I tried more varieties than I can remember.  Golds.  Strongbow.  Stowford.  Aspall.  Many others.  And I enjoyed sitting with friends and acquaintances in those pubs and talking about all sorts of things while drinking those ciders.  
I enjoyed the English rain in the summer.  A very polite rain it is, I have to tell you.  Just about everyplace we went, it would rain on the bus but then stop when we got to our destination.  Once inside the castle, manor, exhibit or museum we’d come to visit, the rain would start again.  Then, as we were heading toward the bus, it would ease off until we were on our way again, when it would start to fall.  A very polite rain, indeed.  
I enjoyed learning that there is a person buried at Stonehenge.  He’s called the Stonehenge Archer.  He has a wrist guard on his forearm, the type to protect the arm when the bow is released.  He was killed by arrows as well and was buried in a ditch rather than a barrow.  What did he do to have someone want to kill him and bury him there?  I’ve no idea.  
It was letting my thoughts go that I think I enjoyed the most.  In my real life, there is a lot of thinking about what I need to do next.  What is the next project I need to work on?  How do I deal with this employee?  How far are we from making the goal for today?  For this week?  For this month?  When can I find time to create that training schedule I need to set up?  
But on vacation, one like this, my thoughts moved differently.  Sitting in the bus, looking at the country side roll past, I could think...  “Hey!  That hill looks like Bilbo’s home in the Shire.  Bag End.”  And then let myself stroll through my favorite passages from Fellowship, or recall my favorite scenes from the movie, or point it out to the person sitting next to me and start a discussion about the movies and how, the first one especially, made me feel like I was reading the trilogy again for the first time all over again.  
I think I just had an insight.  
While I’ve been struggling to write this blog entry today, I’ve not felt the frustration I would normally feel.  A little bit, maybe.  But it’s mostly been just sitting here and...  Be-ing, to a degree.  
It’s warm outside, but the apartment isn’t hot.  It’s like sitting in the shade.  Through the open front window, I can hear the cars and trucks dopplering back and forth.  Downstairs, a neighbor was practicing scales on his keyboard all morning.  Back and forth, fast then slow.  I’ve been sipping a bottle of sparkling water, feeling the bubbles dance on my tongue, washing the thirst away much more efficiently than plain water.  “Still water” they call it in England, to differentiate it from sparkling.    
Despite my one day back at work, my mind is still in vacation mode.  It wants to keep going at its own pace, taking it what it will, putting together the things it wants to think like a collections of sea shells after a stroll along the beach.  It let me do what I needed to do yesterday.  But this is the weekend.  A mini-vacation.  It wants to take things as it wants.  
OK.  Fine.  Have it your way, mind.  You let me get this much out, so I’ll thank you for that.  
Hey...  I noticed when I went to the store the other day, to refill the empty refrigerator we left a month ago, they now have Strongbow cider on sale.  In bottles, it’s true, but maybe we can get a bottle or two and listen to the day slide past for a bit.  


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