At 59, I’m almost done with the decade Gail Sheehy calls “feisty” and I wonder what took me so long. To get feisty, I mean. Really, I spent my 50s publishing novels and teaching writing. Not what I’d call feisty activities. But then something happened this year, well, a lot of somethings happened, and I snapped into feisty so fast it made my head spin.
As an example of my new-found adventuress spirit (it’s not new, it just went away for awhile and now it’s baaaack) I’m going away alone today on a special sort of date with myself. I’m even spending the night. I’m not really clear on why I’m doing this except something inside says “you must.”
With Mac and my camera, I’m hoping to get some writing done and maybe start dabbling with a new video project. But then, maybe I’ll just write a few pages and then read. (I want to learn about this next stage Sheehy talks about, the “Selective Sixties” which are right around the corner for me.) I’m going to be spontaneous. I’m going to look out at the water. I’m going to order a really good dinner and eat alone in the restaurant attached to the hotel. I’m considering dressing up. Which for me means not jeans. Just going to see how I feel when I get there.
I first heard about writing alone in hotels from the ever-feisty Anne Stuart. There’s something about being alone in a room with a book project on deadline that fires up a creative spark. It works in a way being at home does not. Stuart has often drafted entire books over a long weekend this way. My friend Laura Zera also swears by writing outside the house. She has a little office she goes to every day where she is not distracted by domestic duties. Natalie Goldberg prefers coffee shops as does Jennifer Weiner.
Me, I like writing early in the morning, in my blessedly empty house, in my pajamas. But just lately I’ve been stalled on my current fiction project and the mere thought of this mini-getaway sparked some plot ideas. Really, I can hardly wait. Check in is at 3. Better start packing:)