Solo

I’ve been talking about doing this for a while, you guys, and I’m finally here!

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Why, yes, it is a small, somewhat dirty hole-in-the-wall hotel room. You miss the point. I am BY MYSELF! I didn’t even realize how badly I wanted the solo time until I actually booked it. I figure it’s been about 12 years since I’ve actually gone anywhere (aside from the grocery store, sometimes) completely by myself. I mean, we were getting to the point of more freedom with the girls because they occupy themselves more and don’t need to come with us everywhere, but throwing a baby into the mix a decade later threw off the natural shedding and rebirth from the mommy cocoon. Also, since we’ve been married we’ve pretty much done everything of significance together, even without children! I almost forgot that I actually like exploring and being alone and feeling like I have the capability to make my own decisions. It’s quite exciting. I took the train northward from San Diego.

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These photos epitomize LA for me. I know I will have some haters, but I grew up about an hour east of LA and I never learned to love the sprawling, gray, dusty beast. I love big cities and everything that comes with them, generally, but in my opinion LA just did it wrong. I was happy to be on the train going through it instead of parked on the freeway.

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Past LA the landscape opens up into something beautiful. The stark coastline opens infinitely to the west, sparkling and blue and beckoning. This is what calls people to LA, really. At first, sagebrush and canyons scrabble and claw their way up the harsh terrain to the east, but as you get further toward Santa Barbara the landscape begins to give way to rolling hills. This time of year it’s a conglomerate of greens all thrown on top of each other, always softer around the edges than what I’m used to in San Diego. The above picture was taken just south of the City of Guadalupe, a small farming community just north of Santa Barbara.

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This is Guadalupe proper. I think I mostly love the train because you see the backsides of places and things that you normally would miss in a car. It’s really a beautiful way to shift perspective when you travel, and I didn’t anticipate this when I first took a long train trip.

I thought this would be a great time to just get some head space and to get a lot of writing done. In reality, I’ve spent too much time on Facebook already, and just wandering a little around the city. Tomorrow I am vowing to keep the internet off (except a newsletter that I HAVE to finish writing) and to make some art, albeit art squeezed into a day trip, squeezed out of my being at my request instead of organically. Sometimes you just take what you can, folks.

Stealing Time.

I know I’ve been absent here for a long time, but I think I’m finally ready to come back. See, we signed up for this little thing that has been sucking away my time and energy, and I’ve been using it as an excuse for not writing. We thought about jumping into this project for a while, but we finally decided to pull the trigger in January and become foster parents. Yup, you heard right. Along with two preteens of our own, we now have a 1 year old baby. It’s been a crazy beautiful and intense 8 months, but I feel like we’ve finally settled in to some sort of rhythm. It helps to have the girls back at school.

I still dream of finishing a novel one of these days. Actually, I think I’ve finally found a way to help me stay on track! I bought a notebook and have been writing the traditional way, pen to paper. It seems like my writing time is always stolen between appointments, while waiting in the car, or on family trips. My laptop sucks, and honestly sometimes it’s just tough to be creative when Facebook keeps beckoning me away. Oh, you. You know what I’m talking about. Another perk to writing longhand is that I can’t go back and delete everything I wrote the next day because I think it sucks. It keeps me moving forward, and I wish I would’ve just started doing this a long time ago. I still think everything sucks every time I re-read it, but I am determined to make it all the way through the story line and wait to edit until I am typing it up. It feels really nice to be unstuck.

I started looking into some novel writing software – do any of you folks have experience with this? The prices range a lot. What are the things I should really make sure to look for? Any great recommendations? I am looking most seriously at Write it Now and Write Way. Also, still looking for a critique buddy…

Last thing for you all. Just came across this blog by Chuck Wendig and really like it! He’s got great insight for any aspiring writer, but he’s kind of a smart ass so avoid it if you don’t like sarcasm. I especially like this one and this one. That’s all for today, folks! Have a beautiful one.