A Writer Needing a Break
by Ruby Bayan, 2000
I had to take a vacation. I didn't realize how terribly I needed a vacation until I looked hard at myself. My fingertips had taken the shape of the keycaps, the underside of my wrists were brown with calluses, my behind had gotten flat, and my legs were pale from lack of sunlight.
I also noticed that I had accumulated half-empty cans of peanuts, bottled water and coffee cups beside my monitor. The laundry pile had started to grow mushrooms and the dust on the shelves had settled thick enough to sprout alfalfa. I needed to pull myself away from my computer.
Being a fulltime online writer can get one truly engrossed in the cyberworld. I wake up longing to hear those three words, "You've got mail," and can't go to sleep without logging on one last time to find out if an editor had accepted my submission. I click on the e-mail icon every ten seconds to check what's going on in the writer's list (okay, listS) that I'm subscribed to -- and canít stop myself from joining the conversation, however trivial. My whole life was inside the computer; I was hooked like mad. This was not healthy.
I needed a vacation -- from the computer, from the Internet, from my typing. I needed to be one with nature -- the tangible world -- again. So when my partner said he was taking a week off from work, I knew this was my chance.
We made some online reservations (couldn't get away from using the 'Net one more time), packed our bags and drove off to the mountains. No phones, no computers, no deadlines, no e-mails, no discussion lists -- just plain fresh air, sunshine and silence.
The 10-hour drive gave me a chance to recalibrate my bearing. Where was I in this grand scheme of things? What am I doing with my life? Where am I heading? Am I on the right track? What IS my purpose? Serious thoughts to focus on, but I needed to re-think these things. I needed to take a reality check on myself.
Driving through the farms in the North Carolina suburbs on the way to the hotel, I wondered if the people who lived in those remote areas even have computers. How many of them have visited my websites and read my articles? How much happier are they harvesting wheat, feeding the chickens and growing Christmas trees?
And as I stood along the edge of the Grandfather Mountain on Linville, I felt the nostalgic rush of being on top of the world again -- being unique, being myself, a special child of Mother Nature.
Coming down from the mountain and driving through the dense forests along the Blueridge Parkway, I marveled at how life goes on. I realized that no matter what I do, life and the rest of the world would unfold as they are meant to.
Today, back on the keyboard and again facing the writing assignments I had taken on, I am renewed with a sense of being. Never mind the laundry and the dust on the shelves; I was given the talent to write -- to share my words with my readers, to be a part of the grand scheme of things. Like the trees and the deer in the North Carolina Mountains, I, too, have a purpose -- to live the life of a writer -- as I was meant to.
[First published in Suite101.com, Sept. 2000]