I posted a few days ago about having a “down day”, and my wife pointed out that what I was feeling was a perfectly normal bout of depression caused by being locked in close quarters and basically chained at the wrist to two tiny humans without hope of respite for all of my waking hours and most of my non-waking ones.
In other words, this happens to stay-at-home parents. Apparently. And seeing as I’m a stay-at-home dad during the summer months, apparently it was an inevitability that I would be so stricken. But there is hope. Because this week, we’re heading out to a literal island for some much-needed time away.
Okay, so it’s maybe not an island like you think of island paradise. It’s just a barrier island in humble Georgia. But still, it’s a landmass surrounded by water, and we all know the therapeutic effects inherent to the open sea (something something waves, something something ocean breezes, something something sunset shattered and reflected millions of times in the soothing waters). Also, we’ll be just a stone’s throw from Savannah, so there will be lots of ghosts hanging about.
Also, sharks. If you’ve been watching the news, you’ll be well aware that there have been something like fifteen shark attacks on the Atlantic coast this summer. In fact, this morning’s news packages on the attacks bore so much similarity to the film Jaws I just had to shut the thing off. “All these attacks keep happening up and down the coast, and we’re coming up on the July 4th weekend… these beaches are going to be packed.” And all I can think of is a sleek dorsal fin gliding through the water with a harsh orchestral score behind it, and me fighting the urge to shout we’re gonna need a bigger boat.
But more important than avoiding becoming a sharky snack, I’m going to use the time to noodle a bunch on the project. Because despite my halfhearted jubilation and dutiful self-back-scratching over reaching the halfway mark, the project has some problems. Bugs in the batter that need picking out. Knots that need untying or cutting or being burned at both ends. Cracks in the mortar that need spackle or patching or that need to be opened right up with a jackhammer. And the only way to really come to a decision on problems like that — the only way to really see what’s functioning as intended and what’s fargoed beyond repair — is to take a step back, get a bird’s eye view, and take a good, long, look. Hike back out of the trees to get a look at the forest.
And while a week away won’t do that for me — the thing’s not even finished, so I can’t do a proper big-picture analysis — it’ll help. Just like every now and then on a road trip you have to pull over and check the map, when working on a big project like this you need to build in time to catch your breath from it, to let it sit and settle before you go back to work.
I don’t yet know if I’m going to work on the novel over the week away or not. Part of me says that the vacation is primo writing time, and I should take full advantage of it. Another part of me says that vacation is vacation is vacation, and maybe I shouldn’t even bring the laptop with me.
Well, maybe I’ll just bring it to write a blarg post or two and send up a few pictures of sunsets.
This weekly Re-Motivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every Saturday, I use LindaGHill‘s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.