When I was a child I spent a lot of time with adults or alone. My grandparents had (and still have) a little cabin at Buena Vista Beach and although the area is fairly developed now, when I was a child it wasn't much more than a collection of beat up cottages, gravel roads and one small corner store where my cousin and I would buy sour candies and chocolate bars. In Canada, school was out in the last week of June, and didn't start up again until after the September first long weekend; me and my grandmother would spend most of that time at the cabin where there were none of the modern conveniences or distractions of the city.
There weren't a lot of kids in the area, or maybe I've never been great at making friends - either way, except for playing with my cousin Justin who would sometimes come out with us, I can remember spending a lot of quiet time reading, drawing, writing and listening to music on my Walkman. We went for long walks in the hills on the edge of town down along an old trail that used to be a train track and spent time sitting on the beach - me floating in the green lake water trying not to put my feet down into the weedy bottom and my grandmother reading on a towel.
I used to write a lot when I was younger. I can remember working on a 'novel' when I was in grade six; every night after dinner instead of watching television I would settle down at the kitchen table to write for hours. When I was thirteen, I saved up my allowance for months to buy a typewriter and when I finally got it, I set up a little desk in my bedroom and wrote and wrote and wrote. I actually looked forward to it.
Although I never really stopped writing, I stopped finding time for the kind of creative writing I was so in love with as a child. I'm not really sure how that happened or how I allowed my feelings to shift to the sense that writing was a chore rather than a pleasure. Slowly, I am trying to find my way back to the feeling of play and pure enjoyment that I used to feel at the prospect of an afternoon in front of my old typewriter (now it's my old Mac). Yesterday I wrote my first complete short story in quite awhile; I had no particular market in mind and no plans to try to publish it, I just wanted to get it down. I have no idea whether it's technically good or bad, but I love that it's there. An excerpt from my work in progress (but fully formed!) first draft:
Through the dark green of the bushes back beyond the beach, January could see flashes of plum and the rolling water became the sound of fabric passing over stones and twigs, a procession of women – Lucy’s best friends – leading her down the path towards the sea.I had cake and tea with the beautiful Ms. Dean the other night and as we talked about books and reading I was struck by what a gift this year of travel is, not only because I get to see the world, but because it affords me the time to read and write that I haven't really had since those childhood summers at the beach. Apart from exploring (fodder for writing), and some freelance work we've taken on, I have endless patches of time to read, study photography and write and I really want to use it well.
If anyone wants to start a virtual writing group, let me know; it would be great to build a little community around this rekindled romance.
Image from my Pinterest Lovely Stuff Board, Photographer Unknown