Big Sky, Blank Paper

I don’t feel like writing. Creative writing, I mean – the novels and short stories I write that bring me such pleasure. It’s not writer’s block, at least not how I understand writer’s block. I have plenty of ideas floating around in my head that I’m itching to write down. I’m not avoiding or procrastinating. There are plenty of days when I don’t feel like writing, yet I sit down and do it anyway. This is different. I. Just. Can’t. Do. It.

As I’ve struggled to find my way back to my happy writing place, I read a blog post that helped. It’s titled “Motors” on “Andrew’s View of the Week”. He has a clever writing style using metaphors interspersed with engineering terms. Anyway, I think I’ve run out of creative energy and I need to recharge my batteries.

How do I recharge? People. I’m an extrovert, so social situations energize me. I’m very high energy, and I like new and different stimuli – people, places, food. Cities are filled with energy. So, what better place to recharge than going to two new cities on vacation?

In my last post, I talked about going to Portland. Here, I’ll talk briefly about Seattle and our train journey across country. I was especially looking forward to the train where I’d meet all new people and recharge. But first…

Seattle has hills, not quite San Francisco hills, but big ones! I’m sure we lost weight. We stayed by the Space Needle, but the highlight for me was the Chihuly Glass Garden. All I heard was there were amazing glass sculptures. A perfect description.

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Was I inspired to write? No.

The waterfront tourist area was fun; we had some great seafood. We especially enjoyed Pike Place Market, where we watched them “throw fish” and had the very best clam chowder and seafood chowder at…. Pike Place Chowder! If you go, it’s well worth the wait. And DON’T waste your time and money on an underground tour. That was stupid.

I still wasn’t in the mood to write, but I had high hopes the train journey would alleviate that.

After a couple days in Seattle, we boarded the train for our 50+ hour journey across country. We got a roomette, which is a sleeper room about the size of a dinner booth. Really.

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Meals in the dining car are included in the roomette price, and since there were just two of us, the hostess would seat us with other travelers at the booths for four.

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When we went to dinner the first night, I didn’t feel like talking to strangers, a feeling I attributed to being tired. However, I felt the same way the next day at breakfast. I put on a happy face and was social but I didn’t enjoy it. I wanted to be by myself.

I strive for balance in my life and that includes some solitude, but I’d never felt the need for it on vacation. The new people were draining me. For a description of this feeling from a self-proclaimed introvert, check out Quaint Revival, where Shelley describes how an introvert feels in social situations, an eye-opener for me.

So, there we were on the train with hundreds of strangers in close proximity. And, I admit, we were a bit disappointed by the view. We were in the Great Plains. The flatlands. There’s nothing there except some distant mountains we saw for about 10 minutes.

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I had gone back to the roomette after an energy-draining lunch, while my boyfriend went to the observation car. I decided it was time to write, whether I felt like it or not, and I definitely did not feel it.

I pulled out the small table, and retrieved my writing tablet and pen. My arm felt like dead weight. It was all I could do to lift my arm and rest my wrist on the table.

I stared out the window determined to find some beauty. Gratitude welled up within me for seeing the country in a way I never had before. I continued staring out the window looking for something… anything. And then I looked up.

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It was like being in a snow globe. The sky went on forever. BIG SKY. Images of cowboys and campfires and roundups flooded my brain. The clouds were amazing.

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I saw submarines lined up. I saw a pig relaxing on its back. Go ahead, you can think I’m crazy. None of my friends saw anything other than clouds. (And do submarines even line up???)

I went a little nutty snapping pictures of clouds. And I started writing… not a whole story, just fragments.

Then the rain started, bringing contentment with it.

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The desolation frightened her a bit but the new life she was steaming towards had to be better than the one she had left behind…

What had she done? Where was the town? Her mother had told her repeatedly not to do this, but she was determined. Having grown up in the city, she hadn’t known there was this much unpopulated land. Arrgh. Then a dark-haired man strode through the rail car, his boots clomping. She caught her breath as he tipped his cowboy hat her way revealing bright blue eyes. Maybe this would be okay after all. (yeah, yeah, mostly cliché but it’s a start)

Big Sky country. Montana. I want to go back. Stay on a dude ranch. Ride horses.

North Dakota boasted the bluest sky I’ve ever seen, a sky almost as big as the Montana sky. And then I saw the rainbow. God’s promise. The sight filled me with joy.

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We traveled through a few more states, and I wrote a bit more. By the time we returned home, my batteries were about half charged. I’ll continue to seek out solitude and big nature, and I’m confident I’ll be back in my happy writing place soon.

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14 Responses to Big Sky, Blank Paper

  1. Jina Bazzar says:

    I wish I could go on a trip like that. Not to recharge my writing batteries, but just to – relax, I guess.

    Like

    • Then go for it! I imagine there are trains in your country. Just think of all the smells and sounds that you’ll experience and that I’m sure I missed because I was so busy looking at the clouds. LOL. And the motion of the train rocked me right to sleep at night. Ah.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. oldpoet56 says:

    Very good article, I like this so I am going to reblog this one for you.

    Like

  3. I love Chihuly glass sculptures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was the first time I’d seen them. Amazing! And unexpected because, before leaving on vacation, I asked a guy wearing a Seattle t-shirt what to go see and he said his wife made him go to this glass garden thing.

      Like

  4. If it helps anyhow, I have been also non-productive around writing. I just let it be. In the meantime, I look up for the clouds and rainbows too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jaderenee says:

    Reblogged this on A Walk in the Clouds and commented:
    Being a writer as well, I couldn’t help sparing some of the trials and rewards of writing with you…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jaderenee says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I’ve felt these very same emotions and pitfalls, as most writers do.
    Those of us who are sensitive to the energy of others can be easily overwhelmed and experience anxiety and the fight or flight response.
    Idaho and Montana are both my “home” states. I know exactly why the Big Sky affected and inspired you so. And you’ve read my blog, Cloudwalk1.com. so you’ve seen my affinity for clouds.
    Thanks again for the inspiration. I look forward to enjoying more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] Still not in the mood. I’m only about half recharged from our train trip.” (My earlier post – Big Sky, Blank Paper – explains how I had run out of creative energy, was unable to write, and needed to […]

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