Not a Writing Vacation

So I didn’t write a single word on vacation.

I’d like a writing vacation, where the goal is to just… write. But for the last two weeks I have written nada.

It was not a useless vacation in the least. I got to visit my wife’s great-grandfather on his hundredth birthday. I got to visit a mountain summit. I got to see the wonders of the Arizona desert. (Well, some of them, at least.)

The nice thing about visiting a place very different from where I’m living is that it got the creative juices flowing in new directions. Wandering through a saguaro forest clicked off a very different world in my head. Standing on top of the summit of a mountain changes a person if they’re not used to it. (And I grew up in eastern North Dakota. We don’t have mountains there.)

And on top of all that, between visiting family and friends and new places, I got to read.

I read the two books I brought for reading pleasure: The Healer’s Legacy by Sharon Skinner and The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley. One a modern small press young adult fantasy that I highly recommend, and the other a pulp celebrating 100 years since publication. I also ripped through The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs and I finally finished Wings of Change edited by Lyn Worthen.

Yes, I finally finished reading that anthology I’m published in. Let me tell you, it is a fantastic collection.

I might be biased, though.

And then in one of my last days on vacation, our gracious hosts took us to a rare book shop. It was called The Book Gallery. 

That was really, really mean of them.

I only saw one book case in the entire store. Now, to be sure, the store had a lot of books. I just didn’t dare look at any others. In fact, I had eyes only on this one: A glassed-in book case full of first printings of Oz books. The man working the counter clearly new his stuff and talked about some of the different editions and who authored each book. “Baum wrote thirteen or fourteen, and Ruth Plumly Thompson write around twenty,” he told me.

It’s something I don’t often hear from other people. I thought I was one of the few that cared about that.

And then the worker opened the shelf. I’m so glad I didn’t cause any drool damage. The books were incredibly reasonably priced – certainly not cheap, but reasonable. I ended up settling on a first edition in terrible condition I could both afford and still read of Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz by Thompson, a newer reprint of The Silver Princess in Oz also by Thompson, and a shiny, short run reprint of The Daughters of Destiny by L. Frank Baum himself, one of three adult novels he wrote. That last was signed by the modern illustrator Eric Shanower, whose work I have in various forms.

And then I read The Daughters of Destiny.

I had aimed for a writing vacation. I didn’t get it. I got a fantastic reading and imagining vacation, though, filled with great books. (I’ll be talking about the books soon in my annual roundup of what I’ve read the previous year, probably in the next week or two.)

Which means I’m ready to get back to writing. I’ve been well supplied in prose of various kinds. I’ve been fed with the stuff of stories as I drove through the desert.

Time to get back to the keyboard.

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