After a semester full of reading great books and writing great (?) things, it was time for a break, and I took one. I haven’t written anything of consequence - apart from the weekly poems - since I flew to Maui on December 20th (this is also why there was no Christmas edition of the blog this year). Instead of spending my trip back home in flat-out work mode (see also: my summer), I decided I needed to take a break while doing all of the things that I can only do while I’m at home, like recording my new EP, organizing a table read with actors, working at a music store, and seeing friends that only come home for Christmas. It takes a lot of trust for me to put down my computer - trust that the ideas won't permanently fly out of my head, trust that I'll still love the work if I put it down for a minute. The instant I realized there was a moment of doubt about my ability to keep writing if I wasn't powering through it was the same moment I realized that I needed more than just a weekend, or more than just the three days it took to record the new music.
So I took a little vacation, and this is what I learned:
Small breaks are great for reigniting the passion I have for writing, and the hunger I have for reading. When I picked up a book yesterday, one that I was told I should read by a professor, I wanted to read it. I woke up excited to write this post, even to say I didn’t miss writing until yesterday. Beyond that, it was a luxury to pour my full store of creative energy and focus into the recording sessions I had for my EP and the photoshoot I had for it. I wasn’t torn between it and several other projects; even the other pragmatic concerns I had were easy to deal with because I had a full tank of energy. The week-and-a-half break did it's job, and I'm grateful that I want to work on my vocation again and that I have the time for it.
Avoiding responsibility is bad, and more than that, it doesn't really work. Avoiding projects because they are scary isn't a long-term solution. What I'm learning to do is to put all my ingredients - my ideas, obsessions, problems, quirks, jokes, and self - into a stew on the stove and leave it on low when I don't have the energy to devote to it. It would be lovely to be able to write like a machine and never stop working, but I'm not like that. I love resting. I love having short to-do lists. Athletes in the best shape are those who know how to take a break and relax. The muscle of my mind feels like all the build-up has melted away, like there is room for new ideas.
So here's to vacation, and here's to being back to writing.