So this weekend I get to see Faith and Misty. We’ll be at ConCarolinas, speaking on panels, selling books, and, I would imagine, goofing our way through a couple of meals and a trip or two to the bar. Come on down to Charlotte and see us. I’m looking forward to it, especially because I’ve never actually met Misty before. I feel like I know her because of all the comments we’ve exchanged here and all the emails we’ve sent back and forth. But this will be the first time we actually meet. (I’ve never met Catie either. Catie, you need to come to the States. Or better yet, I need to get over to Ireland!)
From the convention, my family and I head east to the North Carolina coast, for a week’s vacation. This will be an unusual vacation for us. Most of the time we travel to see family — Nancy’s people are out west; mine are up north and on the West Coast. Usually we’ll combine a bit of camping or sightseeing with grandparent visits and cousin time. But this week will be entirely our own. Very psyched.
So what does this writer take on vacation with him? Good question, since today packing is very much on my mind. First off, I bring books! When I’m working, I generally don’t like to immerse myself in someone else’s narrative and worldbuilding. I find it distracts me from my own work. So while I read still (the NEW YORKER mostly), I don’t get to read many novels, particularly in genre. But this week, I’ll read! I’m thinking YSABEL by Guy Gavriel Kay, and WICKED GAME by Jeri Smith-Ready.
I’ll also bring my laptop. I intend to write a few blog posts from the beach, and I need to keep up with email. I don’t plan to work on the current book, but I suppose if the weather just totally sucks, I might do a bit of writing. Also, in this digital age, my computer is a traveling dark room, and since I’ll definitely be bringing my camera, I’ll want to be able to work on pictures.
What else? I always travel with a notepad and pen. I like to be able to write whenever the moment strikes me, and since I probably won’t have my computer with me on the beach itself, I’ll need to have a notebook. Generally speaking, this is something I recommend to all people who want to write. At this point, I do my best writing on a keyboard. I find it very difficult to compose fiction in longhand. But for journal-type writing — thoughts, creative ideas, brainstorming — I like to write by hand. It just works better for me. And it might for you, too. Always carry a pad (even if it’s a small one) and a pen or pencil. You’re a writer; you should always be able to write.
Other things: Binoculars to look at cool coastal birds, dolphins, butterflies, etc. Frisbee, softball, mitt, bat. Board games. A sharp eye for spotting shells, sand dollars, and other gifts from the sea. My imagination, which goes everywhere with me, but seems to need periodic recharging. A week at the beach, with crashing waves, brilliant skies, and the scent of brine in the wind, is usually a wonderful curative for bouts of writer burnout.
So there it is. I have a lot of packing to do. I wish all of you a good week. I’ll be blogging here as usual this coming Monday. (Sorry for missing this past Monday — the holiday threw me off my normal schedule. By the time I realized it was Monday, it wasn’t Monday anymore, if you follow…) And I’ll be posting to my personal blogs as well. Keep in touch, and I’ll be sending a few words your way from the coast.