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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

First, Get Outside...

Photo of author in her kayak by Kevin Tomasello c. 2015
I need a distraction from working on my new novel--okay, not really, I need an excuse not to work on it. Actually, a little procrastination goes a long way. Too long. I have a whole list of writing projects I need to work on, so why do I hesitate? My mind craves silence...and nature. Ideas rush between the tortuous convulusions of my cerebrum, yet I balk at putting them to page. My much more prolific colleagues continue to create and publish every scribbled thought--or so it seems--while my words thunk to the page with all the elegance of a corpse.

The truth is, I have been pulled away from writing by the bodacious bounty of a rare and splendid summer. The hot sun has been tempered by the low humidity--almost impossible in this Susquahanna River valley, nicknamed "Sinus Valley" for good reason. Even without a breeze, the air has been warm and dry with a hint of the Atlantic sneaking in from the far-off coast. Our little dog Teddy raises his muzzle often, as if to sniff the salt air. We are several hundred miles from the coast, however, and even further from the wonderfully rocky Maine coast we love so much. Not the crowded Downeast known to most vacationers, but further up, to Acadia's Schoodic pennisula and beyond. My husband and I were married on a fishing boat 14 years ago, in the harbor. Sadly, our paradise has been discovered by developers and summer in Bar Harbor has been lost to a bulky luxury hotel that juts out into the water while masses of sightseers crowd the streets. For the first time last summer, it was a chore to buy a week's pass to Acadia National Park. People spilled from the crush of the parking lot into the park office like marshmallow Easter Peeps squished in their box. The beauty of Maine's craggy coastline, though, is that there is so much of it that one can find hidden gems in its lesser known crevices. There I go, off on a tangent again. Ah, the winding mind of a wanderer.

Anyway, I have been soaking up the glorious days of this solstice before they get away. Occasionally wracked by guilt for not writing every day, I have taken long weekends away from my day job to bicycle the rolling hills, paddle the river, amble through the local park with my spouse and my dog, pluck juicy tomatoes and alarming zucchini monsters from the garden, and generally goof off. I don't feel too bad, though (says my wretched, sniveling, shackled inner writer). Soon enough, the leaves will fall and the bite of winter will arrive. There will be plenty of days to document all this rumination. Hopefully, those pasty white words will lose some of their dead weight and dance upon the page like snowflakes. For now, let the sweet sun shine!

Thank the stars for the dark night, or I'd never get any writing done.