alone time


I spent the weekend at my little Ozark cabin, immersing myself in my writing.

By “spent the weekend” I mean getting there around noon on Saturday since I had to, of course, run that morning, get some errands done, and then drive the two hours to the woods. And I left around 1:00 on Sunday since it was too cool to swim in my little lake and I had forgotten my toothbrush and my laptop battery and reserve battery had run out of power.

And by “immersing myself in my writing” I mean actually writing two stories, making copious notes on several others, writing a long letter to my aunt, sitting in a comfy chair on a shady porch overlooking a sparkling lake thinking about writing, and drinking far too much beer. Oh, and I also ran for three miles on wooded roads because I’m apparently insane now.

It’s an ideal place for solitude. A little cabin at the very end of an unforgiving road, more than two miles from the nearest paved road. Nothing but birds and deer and ducks and raccoons (raiding the bird feeder) and blue sky and white clouds and turtles surfacing in the lake below and insects lazily buzzing by and me and my laptop and my notes and my thoughts and my efforts to put together some fiction. I could concentrate on my ideas. I could read my words aloud and savor them in my mouth and ears. I could write and rewrite and consider and reconsider with no one around to judge or to urge. With only the life of two batteries to carry any kind of influence.

I could solve the power problem, of course, by having electricity brought in. And as soon as I find about $5,000 on the ground during one of my runs, I’m gonna do that. Of course, my currently modest property tax will then go up. As will my insurance premiums on the wooden cabin. And the local, spirited youth, who have up till now paid little attention to my hideaway, would probably find it far more interesting if it could power up their gaming devices and big screen televisions and boom boxes and who-knows-what-else-since-I’m-no-longer-a spirited-youth.

So as it was, I managed to get five hours of life out of my laptop, which was sufficient for me to write the first drafts of two stories. I’ve mentioned here before of my creative process. I accumulate notes on a given story until it seems to reach a critical mass and is ready to be written. That was how the first story got written, though I failed to use many of the notes I’d made for it in my frenzy to write the “whole” thing. And I’m pretty much afraid right now to go back and read what I’ve written since I’m sure it will make me cringe. It’s part of my Fathers and Sons canon, so I know I’ll come back to it soon and begin the polish. (Okay, “polish” is the wrong word. Maybe anguished tearing apart and tearfully piecing back together is a better way to phrase it.)

The second story is, well, a different story. I’d only come up with the premise for it about a week before and had barely made any notes. But it was clamoring for attention in my poor brain and I knew I wouldn’t get anything else done until I got its first draft out of the way too. I’m sure it’s even more cringe worthy than the first story. This one has nothing to do with the Fathers and Sons stories and is a stand alone. I think there’s something good there, and I’m sure more ideas for it will come to me. I think it’s good that I have a draft of it written. It anchors me in a way. I’m committed to it as I wouldn’t be to simply a collection of notes.

Could I have been more productive? Probably. I could have scheduled my time more rigorously, lined up little writing chores that I wanted to get done, brought another another backup battery, brought along a certain novel that needs careful reading, avoided the temptation to visit my neighbors to get the latest local gossip, avoided the temptation to sit and stare (too much, anyway), and maybe make better use of the daylight than I did cuz once the sun goes down, anything creative stops.

I don’t get enough of these writing weekends. But I have been pleased with what I’ve been able to do when I have indulged.

Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts, short stories

3 Comments on “alone time”

  1. “anguished tearing apart, and tearfully piecing back together” Yes

    And I think sitting and staring is essential to writing. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. It helps you think longer thoughts.

  2. Libby Says:

    Lettin you know

  3. I have nothing to say, other than this is one of my favorite things I’ve read this week. Glad you got some cabin time!

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