Saturday, August 20, 2011

Not Writing Can Be Inspirational

Tunnel toward Manzanita (by Dot)
A couple of days ago a friend and I took a spontaneous day trip to the coast. I had been thinking about getting out of town for my first afternoon & evening off in a couple of weeks and the coast was high on the list.

This is one of the beautiful things about living in Portland, Oregon: within 90 minutes or so I can be at the beach or in the mountains or in The Gorge among cliffs and the winding Columbia River which divides Oregon and Washington. Within two hours I can be at a little farther north or south on the beach or in the high desert or in the heart of the Willamette Valley.

So I was debating whether to take some time away and escape to the beach for an afternoon or evening - or whether to stay in and do more writing. I am at the final sentences of the memoir and want to get it done so badly and yet the one scene I have yet to write is being difficult. I know the basics of the story and I will write it - but it's a hard one. I was straddling the fence of staying or going.

Then I received an email from a friend that she was thinking about going to the beach that same afternoon.

And a plan was hatched. I had my dentist appointment and she did the things she needed to do and we met up and drove to the beach. We walked in the water and I went probably 2 1/2 miles or so. Longer than I'd been able to walk without pain for a while. And I was walking on sand in my Crocs in the water and it was good.

Then we went to a restaurant that was nearby and was a favorite for each of us. We were given front row beach seats and we ate dinner and watched the sun go down. And watched the other customers: a party of 11 of various ages and backgrounds from appearances; an older artist couple who appeared to be very much in love and very skilled; another older couple who were very prim and reserved and the woman was looking judgmentally at the party of 11 and some other patrons . And watched the people on the beach: the man dragging a piece of driftwood as long as he was tall to dump in on a fire; the young couple in a four-log shelter trying to start a fire in the center; a round-up of chairs all linked together, with a windblock banner on one side and some towels - all empty.

Time away from the city and the computers and the traffic. Time in the wind and the salt air and wading in the water which soon numbs your feet so you don't even feel the cold. This is what was needed. This is what fueled more creativity and inspiration. Time away and clean air and conversation with a friend.

Time away will get me to the end of the memoir.