Sunday, July 15, 2012

Away and Home


After a month of renovating (read “destructing”) our kitchen, the heat finally got to us.  We couldn’t see to work on the ceiling because every time we looked up, sweat filled our eyes.  Time for a break.  We headed west to the Finger Lakes region of New York.  I found a bed and breakfast overlooking the southern end of Seneca Lake where we could sit on our balcony, sipping wine and gazing at the boats as they sailed on the quiet waters. 

And, yes, I did say sipping wine, not beer.  Before I researched microbreweries for the first book in my brewing series (A Deadly Draught), my preferred drinks were scotch, wine, and tea, depending upon the occasion.  I have grown to respect craft-brewed beers, and I’ve even spent an evening or two with a low calorie cousin to the microbrews.  Stouts and ales are now on my list of drinks to love. 

But this trip returned me to my original love, wine.  How could it not?  We were in one of the premier grape-growing, wine-producing regions of the United States, if not the world.  The hills ascending from the waters of the lakes abound in grape vines, and wineries are around every turn.  They offer tastings of their product, and we complied. 

We intended to do wineries several afternoons, but found that one was enough.  We’d found wine we liked and purchased a few bottles.  We spent the rest of the time relaxing on our balcony and enjoying our purchases with some cheese and chocolate.

Not only did our mini-vacation return me to my earlier love of wine, but we also did something more radical.  We left our laptops at home.  Let me say that in a different way.  We did no writing for the week.  It was like quitting smoking.  I kept thinking there was something I needed to do, yet not doing it felt momentarily liberating.

It’s good to be back home.  Our yard is undergoing its own renovation as the village undertakes shoring up our stream bank eroded from last year’s flood.  Actually we have no real yard.  I had no idea how tracks on a piece of earth moving equipment can tear up the ground.  They promise to repair it when they have finished.  We’ll see. 

Everything else is as it was before we left.  Our cats are still as spoiled as they were and ungrateful we have come home to them.  The kitchen is still unfinished.  The weather is too hot to work in.  The best part?  Sipping a cold beer on my deck with my laptop in front of me.  Of course, the view isn’t as good as on vacation.  I’m looking at machinery, a pile of rocks, and clumps of dirt.  But there’s a creek out there somewhere.  I can hear it.

For all you dedicated writers out there, are you ever without your laptops?  Can you vacation without it?  Do you look forward to the time when your thoughts are magically transferred to your computer screen?


15 comments:

  1. Lesley,
    You don't know how much reading your post made me want to get in my car and head for the ocean! Unfortunately, this year, it doesn't look like I'll be able to do that. Oh well, what's a struggling writer to do, right?
    In answer to your question, I have no problem taking the occasional "trip" away from my computer, phone, etc. As a matter of fact, I deliberately don't have a cell phone. For me, getting away from it all, one way or another, is crucial. I don't think it's healthy to be "on call" all the time. When I do come back, I'm refreshed, renewed and ready to write!

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  2. A half-century or so ago, I spent winter quarter teaching in southern California. We soon took a Sunday visit to a wintery. Tasted several, found one i liked and bought a case.

    What I took home was a far cry from what we'd tasted at the wintery. We finally mixed it with a Mai-Tai concoction from the supermarket.

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  3. I love this area of New York. You weren't in Watkins Glen were you? We spent 4 lovely nights there as well as two nights in Saranac Lake. It was in the summer and fairly hot. We enjoyed several different brews, too, while watching the cardboard boat regatta.
    I was working on my whooping crane book and I remembered getting a lot of writing done.

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  4. No, I always take my laptop with me, but then, I rarely am gone for less than a week, and that's too much time away from the computer. So glad you took time to relax and get away. Renovation is hard dirty work. It will all come together in the fall (it always takes longer than you think). I'm heading for the beach again. Sometimes I can write there, but I think of it as my simmer time. The ideas meld.

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  5. I usually vacation without the laptop. I do, however, have to give myself "permission" to relax and not write. Of course what usually happens is that I get a great idea/epiphany about a story and have to scrabble to find something to write it down on before it flees. Fortunately, I rarely travel without my iPhone, even when it spends all its time in the bottom of a suitcase, on which I have Evernote, so I can at least capture that idea before it takes a vacation of its own.

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  6. Lesley, it sounds like a fine vacation. And yes, some of my best fiction happened to me while I was vacationing, mostly in the tropics. I carried a notebook with me, and then, when I got home and transcribed into the computer, I always relearned the value of rewriting and revising.

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  7. Lesley, No laptops???!!! I've never tried a vacation without a computer or notebook. Not a concept I have ever ventured to think about let alone try. I think the withdraws would be more than I could handle. I MIGHT give it a try.

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  8. I don't know which I missed more, my laptop or my cats!

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  9. I don't know how you did it, Lesley! I do, occasionally, spend a day or two away, but I'm antsy and incomplete the whole time. I'm going to spend a weekend in October doing nothing but writing and am looking forward to that so much! I met a woman yesterday who is *not on the internet*. I was astounded. Do people still live that way?

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  10. People are too wired to their technology and need to unplug now and then to relaX. To me, "going on vacation" means leaving the computer behind (I don't have a cellphone). The bad thing is catching up on emails upon return. My cats are happy to see me come home because they hate getting boarded at the vet's.

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  11. The woman next door takes care of our cats. I think she must be bribing them with some kind of special treat. Wnne we get home, they act like they don't know who we are.

    As you can tell, I'm back to my computer, happily putting to- gether a Thanksgiving story and puddling around with a new novel- length story. I feel rested. Huge machinery is in my backyard repairing the stream bank. Sounds like music to me.

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  12. The bes thing I read in your blog is the part about leaving your computers at home. Now that's a vacation. Even better, leaving the cell phone, too. I've never been to the Finger Lakes, but it sounds just lovely. Have you ever been on vacation out in the Hamptons, where I live? Best time is not in summer; it's a zoo out here right now -- so many tourists and traffic. Thankfully, I live in the woods, away from the chaos. In late August I may head upstate for a short getaway, or to New England. And I don't own a laptop. Thanks for your blog.

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  13. I have a laptop that is in dire need of repair. The problem is that the place that the manufacturer (Toshiba) recommends has a policy of erasing the hard drive if it is damaged or "the software is corrupted". The laptop's hard drive is perfectly fine, but it has only Linux installed on it, and I expect that Linux will be regarded as "corrupted" software, resulting in an unnecessary erasing of the disk.
    laptop repair boston

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    Replies
    1. Nice blog! I liked your narrative style of writing which makes the content come alive in more ways than one. Exemplary style. Keep it up

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    2. Nice blog! I liked your narrative style of writing which makes the content come alive in more ways than one. Exemplary style. Keep it up

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