August 14, 2015

My Week of Walden

Okay, I'll admit I've never read Thoreau's Walden.  That doesn't prevent me from thinking I know what it's about, though.  It's about a guy who goes off to live in the woods near a pond and does some crazy, in-depth self-reflection, right?  Or are his thoughts more of a contemplation on humanity, society, and culture? Maybe he just needed some time alone to write?

Maybe I should read the book or change the title of this post because it's obvious my knowledge of the book is limited to a guy alone in the woods on the edge of a pond. 

Nope.  I'm sticking with the title. Reasons why:

  Reason #1: I vacationed by myself for a week.
  Reason #2: There was a pond and a forest.
  Reason #3: I was writing!

My week alone in the woods was spent in a lovely, modern campground with full hook-up, which means I had electricity, water, and sewage.  Temperature control.  A microwave.  Television. My fan. My computer.  Phone.  And chargers for all!

The only modern conveniences I had to do without were laundry, internet, and cell phone service.  Of course, all three of those could be had by simply jumping into my car and driving to the laundry room, the camp office with it's free wifi, or this place a few minutes down the road where I managed to find one to two bars of AT&T service.

Okay, and maybe I wasn't exactly alone.  I had company in the form of a four-legged fur baby.  He went most everywhere with me and was my movie buddy each night.  He sat through reruns of Guardians of the Galaxy, The Da Vinci Code, and the entire season of Firefly.  He snuggled with me while I read and relaxed next to me on the picnic table bench while I wrote.  Every now and again, he'd get restless and we'd go for a walk through the woods, along the lake's edge, or around the campground.

When I first mentioned to people that I was going to spend a week alone in our camper a few hours from home, I was met with surprise and even concern.  I was often asked if I was nervous or scared. Frankly, my biggest concern was having a bear show up near my garbage can.  I've been camping enough that I knew that I wouldn't really be alone.  With it being prime camping season in Michigan, I knew there would be other campers nearby.  I was also confident in the park staff and rangers being helpful if the need arose.

The only time I had the rangers at my camper was when they showed up with a message to call home. Remember, no cell phone service at the camper!

Other than that, I spent several days doing exactly what I had hoped to do during those quiet days.  I worked on my novel.   In the end, I wrote sixty-six pages on my space opera.  I developed a rhythm, writing from around 11:00 - 1:00 and again from 3:00 - 6:00.  In those hours of writing, I tended to produce between 15-20 pages.

I was thrilled.  Am thrilled.  I set out to do exactly what I wanted to do:  prove to myself that if I had the time and opportunity to dedicate to my writing, I would write.  I would produce.  I would be motivated to keep writing.

I'd love to leave the story there, to end on a triumphant note, but I only wrote for three and a half days because on Thursday, my fourth dedicated writing day, my grandma went home on hospice and I felt my place was there with her and my dad.  Spending hours on the road driving between the campground and my cousin's house, where hospice had been set up for grandma, cut into my writing. So did the worry and the heartache.  So, in reality, I only spent three and a half days writing.

But I wrote. And I'm pleased with how well I did in that short time. 

July 21, 2015

StoryCorps - Grandma Sherman - Take 1

I stopped by Grandma's little trailer to do more than check in on her. I had high hopes of getting her to agree to let me record her answers to a few questions. To my delight, she was willing!

We used my cell phone to record these StoryCorps audio files.

April 20, 2015

Artist Date - Week 1

This post is late.  I should have written it up sometime during the week of April 13th.  That didn't happen, though, so here we are.

I don't know why I struggle with this task, but I do.  I'm not even sure my "date" was really a date.  I needed some costume pieces for the 80s Fest in Frankenmuth that I plan on attending on April 24th. Each year I attempt to do something just a little bit different from the year before.  This year I really wanted to go as Toni Basil from her Mickey video. 

I looked online for a cheerleading costume in the right colors.  The problem is the sweater.  I could find a skirt, but the top was impossible.  This has led me to the conclusion that if I plan on wearing this next year I will need to learn how to sew.  Or beg my mom to make it for me.  Frankly, though, I think learning to sew costumes would be a good thing because I also enjoy dressing up for RenFest and Comic Con

Yes, I really should learn how to sew. 

In the meantime, though, I was still in need of a costume for this year's 80s Fest, so I decided to spend an hour or so at Party City looking at their collection of 80s apparel and accessories.  I could have gone overboard.  Easily.  Somehow I managed to pick up just a few fun pieces and leave the rest of the store intact.  

I really wanted to buy Ken some MC Hammer pants, but somehow stopped myself. 

I don't know if this techically counts as an "artists date" or not, but I figured the most important instruction was obeyed:  I went shopping by myself. I spent time alone doing something I don't normally do.