I never thought it would happen. A weekend away – alone. Away from dogs and babies and cats and whatever else is living under my roof in this crowded house. My family has access to a retreat in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and we never have time to enjoy it.
Between work schedules, housework and the hectic pace of life in general, a weekend away is a luxury I can’t afford. I vowed to change things this weekend even though it meant I would be traveling alone. Not exactly alone – I brought my computer, cell phone and Kindle to make sure I didn’t get bored. I have more than enough projects to keep me busy and now I had time to make some progress on them.
I packed my bags into my Dodge Nitro and I hit the highway, just a man alone with his thoughts (and his Blondie CDs). I get some of my best ideas while I’m driving. I think it’s because my mind is clear and focused only on the road (and trying not to get pulled over by state troopers – they have enough on their plate without adding a reckless writer to their list of problems).
Friday traffic was extremely heavy on Memorial Day weekend but it didn’t bother me. I wasn’t in a hurry. I watched the rows of cars ahead of me stretch for miles like a giant reticulated metal python snaking over the highway hills. There was no end in sight.
Hours later I arrived at my destination at the foot of Waterville Valley. I grabbed a few manly groceries to survive on for my long weekend (and a Subway foot-long Sweet Vidalia Onion Teriyaki Chicken sandwich that I could stretch into a couple of meals if need be).
I was supposed to be writing. I complain about not having enough time to write uninterrupted. My house is always in a state of hyperactivity. This was a weekend to prove all I needed was time to start writing the next great American novel. Instead, the first night, I cracked open a few Harpoon beers and watched “The Avengers” on television. It was late and I was tired. Sounds like and excuse even to me.
The next morning I visited the gym at the condo complex where I was staying. Afterward I attended the homeowner’s association meeting (always entertaining when heated exchanges take place between the board and irate homeowners). While I was out doing errands, I followed fluorescent yard sale signs searching for that discarded box of valuable comic books I never seem to find. I thought I should get in some pool time while the weather was hot and sunny. Coincidentally, lounging by the pool, I bumped into my nephew Matthew who I hadn’t seen since Christmas. It is a small world after all.
Later, back at the condo, I felt like I needed to recharge my batteries. I listened to Joni Mitchell’s album “Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter”. I wondered how I missed this gem back in 1977 when it was originally released. After some downtime, I thought I should start typing something. I logged into my blog, my Twitter and my Facebook account to keep my social media presence alive.
I looked at the clock. It was almost time to make dinner. It seems I came all this way to do things I could have done at home. Instead, I’m surrounded by the serenity of the mountains, and the peace and quiet that comes with living in my own head for three days. If I don’t get enough writing done while I’m here, I’m sure I’ll come up with more excuses. Maybe I’m one of those writers who can only work in the middle of noisy chaos while telephones ring, televisions blare and distractions never stop. Who am I kidding? I don’t miss those things at all. Now where’s my keyboard? I’ve got a book to write.