Monday, May 12, 2014

Writing life on vacation

I’m at the cottage on the lake. I arrived about an hour ago and have been fussing and fidgeting and restless, having trouble getting over the “I should be doing something” mentality of the last few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a champion at sitting still and gazing out the window while in the throes of writing or editing or avoiding one or the other of those things. I love gazing at nothing and thinking deeply. But I’m not ready yet.  

I’m annoying to myself. I think I should drink something, maybe have a snack. Pick up a book, put it down, pick up the iPhone, set it down, get dressed to go out, sit down, open the fridge, close the fridge, look in the cupboard, watch the waves, turn on the computer, pick up the book, invite people over, decide to go to the cheese shoppe, decide I’ll go tomorrow, sit down again…Lord. If I lived with me I’d have knocked me over the head with a lamp by now. 

And I know in about an hour I’ll be over it. I’ll settle down, curl up happily in the chair with my book, listen to the waves and enjoy not having to go anywhere or do anything for the next 24 hours. I’m going to edit, but I have to chill out first. There will probably be wine involved. 

Yesterday I was singing at a church and during the sermon (twenty seconds after it began, to be precise) I started looking for a pencil. I found a stubby little golf pencil in the pew in front of me and used the service bulletin to jot down notes that were suddenly coming to mind for Captain Millicent Book 2 (title tbd). According to what I can decipher, I’m looking at blackmail, mining, a book virus and a dragon. Fantastic. Just having some vague notions makes me feel productive. I don’t know what the minister’s message was, but I made use of his time wisely.

The lake is rough and there’s a cool wind, which occasionally flickers some rain onto the deck. I want the sun to push through the clouds but they’re just a bit too thick. My plan to walk to the cheese shoppe was thwarted by drizzle (although I could drive, but that just seems ridiculous when it’s only a few blocks away. See? What did I tell you? Annoying

 It’s an hour later and I’m good. I decided to walk to the cheese shoppe despite the rain, and it was closed. I forgot that most of Dover is closed on Monday. That’s fine. The gluten-free bakery was open and I picked up a couple of dessert bars for tomorrow’s lunch-and-cocktails date with a friend. I decided to be a grown-up and cook my own burger instead of going to a restaurant. Good for me. So I fired up the grill, only to discover that the burners wouldn’t turn up. I tried to wait it out, but I was already drinking and this is my vacation, so I decided to screw being a grown-up and go back to the restaurant.

An adolescent raccoon was waiting by the barbecue when I got back from buying my dinner, so I gave him some of the unneeded bun, and after another half hour of waiting for the grill to heat up, I said “screw this” and left the burger for him too.

It’s raining steadily now and the gulls are congregating at the shore as I get quietly tipsy. The sound of drops on the cottage roof and deck is one of my favourite things. One of my other favourite things is when the lighthouse at the end of the pier goes berserk because of the humidity, and starts moaning and honking like a dying cow. It makes me laugh aloud, and heartily, every time. Even in the middle of the night when it startles me awake, I think it’s hilarious. It’s supposed to make a typical WOO-ooo foghorn sound, but when it gets really worked up it’s more of a WHEEEoooooo-UUUUOOOOoooNK. Cracks me up every time.

Tonight’s wine of choice is a delightful Riesling-Gewurtztraminer from Small Talk Vineyards in Niagara ( So far it pairs very nicely with onion rings, peanut butter and chocolate, and medium cheddar. I’ll likely be testing it later with Kit Kat ice cream, because that’s what I found in the freezer.

And there you have it – writer’s vacation, day one. Now I’m going to stare out the window until everything grows dark. 

This is the life.

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