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What are your favorite vacation spots and do they ever show up in your books?
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My favorite vacation spots are regarded sacrosanct. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy speaking about them, or sharing photographs I’ve taken there. Quite the opposite. What I’d like to avoid: tethering the places I go to feel good or better to my writing in any way.
Well that does sound a bit dark! I assure it is not. Writing, for me, is not just a pastime. I take it quite seriously and therefore as work. As you know, separating work from play requires some demarcations. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy the work. In past posts, I’ve been very clear how important and wonderful writing is in my life. Regardless, I still treat it as the office.
If I blurred the lines between time at the office and time away, I don’t think I’d every get a real vacation. My daughter would certainly be disappointed with that. Even before her, I respected the time and meaning of vacation and those who accompanied me. It’s was about getting away, exploring a new spot, having fun, and being with family in most cases. Dragging work along is so rude.
Of course, I cannot just shut off the writing muscles of my brain. In fact, feeling rested and happy tends to bring on the ideas more furiously. The thoughts come along when they will happy or sad. That said, it is important to be present in the moment and to take that downtime. We can’t do our best at the office if we’re not rested. You can guess that I am pretty thankful to have a smartphone that allows me to take notes, so I don’t have to scribble on paper or be disruptive to others trying to find one.
Oh, but smartphones are another issue! If I’m being cognizant of others and the need to rest and have fun during a vacation, how can I drag out the old-ball-and-chain? Well, it is my camera, too. It’s useful to have on you to locate members of your party that ran off to momentarily do something else (like grab a bite/drink, use the restroom, etc.) and are catching up. This happened a lot at Disney this past October. The phone was a great tool. I even used it to walk around the Downtown Disney area to find the shops I was looking for.
Jotting down a note or two isn’t very disruptive and it’s necessary, because the muse doesn’t wait to notify you of her ideas when you get back. She sends those little love notes any time of any day and anywhere (speaking of rude). By now, family and friends get it. 99% of my time is spent focused on the vacation, besides.
When I write, the locations come to me rather randomly. Not once have my ideas crossed into the spots I frequent for rest. I’d wager that this has to do with the fact that I regard those areas as respite and my works are not tranquil jaunts. The closest I have ever come to using a favorite spot in a book was setting Blue Honor largely in the hills of Vermont. That’s where I go to do some interesting shopping. It’s beautiful there. Still pristine. So many of the homes harken back to Victorian times. It makes sense that the history and countryside would inspire those portions of the work.
But, what about the rest of my work? Every other setting could be categorized as spots I’d love to visit, especially after all the work of researching them for a book. Think of Esztergom in Hungary and the important scenes there from Trailokya. I’d be ecstatic to see it with my own eyes and explore the basilica. You can bet, I won’t drag work along, however. Just me, geeking out.
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