Were you planning on traveling this year?
We were going to Chicago in June, meet up with our oldest son’s family, head down to the Henry County fair and watch the harness races for posterity and writing research; my grandfather owned the world champion harness racing horse in 1926 and I’d like to write him into a story. Last year I visited cousins in Geneseo, where my grandmother is from, a re-connection brought about by my mother’s death.
In July, we planned to head to Germany through Amsterdam with a stop to see the van Gogh exhibit. Now travel plans appear precarious, if not impossible. I love to travel, but it’s difficult to imagine a relaxing experience, even if and when places open again, at least this year.
And that’s okay. Lately, through reading and research I’ve been revisiting Arles, Paris, and Auvers with van Gogh through his letters and paintings, and through his friends. Remembering and traveling in my imagination. Armchair travel as a term doesn’t quite encompass it. It feels far more active than sitting comfortably and silently in one spot might suggest.
As a family of three, we’ve also been actively pursuing our French, sitting at the table after a meal to work on our language studies, playing games that force us to speak the language, giving short presentations and challenging each other. Last night our daughter suggested we learn a song in French and teach it.
Staying home for many writers is a boon, an opportunity to finish novels, short stories, and memoirs, even letters. Does anyone write letters anymore? I love letters and plan to write one today to my brother who is in the hospital after emergency surgery.
Yesterday during coffee with a writer’s group a writer confessed that he felt guilty enjoying this time of sequester; we know it is a hardship on many, and the isolation challenges us all in new and different ways. Creatives have that capacity to make the most of “spare” time. But none of our time is spare. It is all on the clock. And we are all creatives if we just exercise those muscles.
So where are you going? And where have you been?
Your imagination wants to take you places… Enjoy the journey.