• Elizabeth Bartasius

Vacations & Writing - The Battle

Vacations are hugely distracting to my writing.

I love vacations.

When I return, I always have a few moments of regret.

When I’m lingering in bed, recovering from the exhaustion of sightseeing, on-the-go, overspending, and over-eating, I never want to go on vacation again.

I resent vacations when I stand in the kitchen heating water for tea and peer over at my desk, knowing it’s time to write, but I just don’t feel like writing again.

I don’t have the energy, the headspace, or even the ideas.

My first reaction is irritation, anger and resentment.

Then, I settle into my rational, thinking brain and remember…

Vacations are the glorious and mandatory flooding of the well.

They are full of “out-of-context” experiences.

Strange faces.

New and exciting nooks and crannies.

Exhilarating art.

Exotic nature.

Creative architecture.

And pretty much everything I don’t see on a day-to-day basis.

Not only am I stuffed from eating when I return, but I’m bloated from imagery, unfamiliar colors and sounds, walking a different way to the store, even speaking a new language.

Post-vacation, there is no room in my mind left to create, think, analyze.

It’s not until I’ve swallowed the newness that I can sink into work.

I never know how long it will take me to digest and sink in.

Like a mother pulling the covers off a sleeping teenager, the monkey anxiety taps its fingers on the kitchen counter, questioning:

“When are you going to get back to that laptop?”

“When are you going to get back to that laptop?”

“Should you be getting back to work?”

Still I resist: I linger in bed, check my iPhone for emails over and over again in the span of minutes, hoping that something, anything will keep me from the page.

Each day I avoid the blank page, the longing for the page grows. I always long to move my fingers over the typewriter, but after vacations, my practice has become rusty with its recent replacement of planes rides, museum tours, and trips to the ice cream storm. It’s hard to get the rust out and move the fingers again.

For sure, I know that must get back on my laptop, but I’m learning patience. I’m old enough and experienced enough now, to understand, no matter how many times that monkey pulls the covers off, I will only write when I’m ready. Often, it seems the writing may never return, but that isn’t true. The writing always returns.

One day, I will wake up ready, or maybe I will spend all morning lingering, like today, thinking I may just have to change my profession, get a real job, start a house renovation. Yet, out of no where, like a good poop, it’s time.

I can cancel the therapy appointment and abandon all plans of what I “should” be doing instead.

I carry on with that little idea that popped into my head on a nondescript afternoon, at an obscure time, during a normal, everyday moment.

Ahh…a writer, born-again.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

**Terry Pratchett​**