I love when you find and make time for high energy projects whether it’s work you’re paid for or work you choose to do on your own. And I deeply believe that when you get organized you do your best work because you’re choosing how to spend your brief time here on Earth.
The rubber is literally hitting the road for me as I write those words and begin a seven month journey to get the rough draft written for the sequel to Gunny Malone. This is high-energy, driven work that may make no sense to anyone but me. But I heard the call to head off on a Quest, so off I go. Today is Day #1 of the journey as I fly off to Chile, our base to head out on a Viking cruise around Cape Horn. When I get back, I’ll start a US cross-country trip from New York to Virginia, then west along the old Oregon trail ending up in San Francisco. Then I’ll spend time back on the east coast working on parts of the story in Charleston and Maine and wrap up with a month writing on the west coast of Ireland. These are all places where the sequel happens, but it starts in 1861. So I’ll also be time traveling! What does one efficiently pack for time travel? 🙂
The good-byes here have draining but inspiring. It’s hard to say good-bye to so many good people, but here’s what’s been cool about that. First – I’ve decided to return to Maine at the end of the journey, so the good-byes are more a “till I see you again.” But my leaving has brought up a weird up-welling of love. I run programs at a library in a small town in Maine. That means I touch people’s lives in a very tangential way. If folks choose to learn about wildlife, or choose to be part of a discussion group on writing, songwriting, Eldering, books, or Democracy, it’s not typically a central element of their lives. But I heard three things from patrons over the last couple of weeks.
- I make a difference to them. I smile at them and greet them when they arrive. I love that they come to the library and they feel that. So many made a point to tell me that the programs at the library matter to them, and that going to the programs made them feel like they were part of a greater community. No matter what you do in life, if you are kind and help connect people, the work you do matters. It was nice to hear that.
- Several mentioned that telling me my work mattered made them think about other people in their lives they should show appreciation for. Do have tangential people in your life that you’d miss if they were gone? Right! So tell them before they go away. That was a second great message to hear.
- While many friends, family, and patrons have said that what I’m doing is a little wild, no one has expressed doubt that I will get something wonderful out of the journey. And here’s the cool thing: Many have also said that now they now want to do something crazy – like take a long trip to write. With organization, I’ve found it best to lead by example, not by organizing other people’s stuff. And it turns out that heading off on this writing journey has some of the same effect. I don’t picture the whole town of Cape Elizabeth packing up and heading out, but I know some will. A patron last week said, “I could do what you’re doing. Why don’t I?” I hope I’m a pebble in the pond, and that the ripples go off in all sorts of new directions. If you have a dream to chase, why not do it?
As I travel and write, I may still post here but my focus will be on reading research from the 1840s-1860s and I have a feeling that content won’t be a great match here. That being said, many folks have asked me to update them periodically by email on the travel journey. My focus there will be on where I am, what I’m seeing, and how that’s influencing my writing. If you’d like to be on the travel email list, just drop me a note and I’ll keep you up to date.
Here’s my parting wish for you till I get back to this blog: Have a dream. Ponder deeply. Organize your thoughts. And take action. Please. The world needs your good energy and fresh thinking. I will be back!
My daughter suggested I close out this post with a picture of what is going to be in my car for the rest of the trip. And how the rest of my house is packed up in 1/2 of her garage :).
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