Friday, June 1, 2012

A Working Vacation

I'm getting ready to go on vacation next week, to visit friends in Seattle. This brings me face to face with the usual dilemma of the traveler--what to take? But I'm not talking about clothes; I'm talking about mss to work on and books to read. I'm taking my computer and my camera. The camera won't be a problem, but the computer will call to me all day long and into the night if I don't put something on it. The question is what?

My choices are simple--a short story that is just in the idea stage, and a mystery novel that is more than three-quarters finished. I have a nice neat copy just waiting to be covered with ink, making deletions and adding new dialogue and descriptions, filling all the white space not already covered with type. 

And then there's the question of just how much time a guest can spend on her own work when she's supposed to be visiting with her hosts. My friends have a house in the Okanogan Valley, and "the ranch" as some of us call it always seems to need a bit of work, putting up blinds, putting in plants, fixing other odds and ends. Fortunately, they don't seem to need me for that, though I'm pretty good at pulling up weeds. My friends don't ask and they don't seem to notice how much time I spend staring at my computer, or working on hard copy. No one asks what I'm doing, or tries to read over my shoulder. (We have such good manners.) Am I being a bad guest?

I'm taking a few books with me, of course, and I never worry about that. My friends are great readers and I can count on time every evening to sit down with a book and read. The high country has deep quiet, a wonderful silence that is hard to find where I live, on a somewhat busy street, and I love to sit and read with only the sound of the river nearby or a light breeze passing among the tree branches. That's a real vacation.

How much work do you take with you on a vacation? Do you apologize for drifting off to work? Do your friends expect it?

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