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.