Monday, September 1, 2014

Surrounded by silence and water...

I know I’ve been silent of late.  This is a function of three things.  First, I was getting ready to leave for a week.  Second, I left for a week.  Third, having been gone for an entire week and virtually incommunicado, I returned to a week of turmoil.  But today, I’m just going to talk about part two…leaving for a week, because it was glorious!

I arrived on Middle Bass Island around 6 on Sunday afternoon…August 17.  After driving to my temporary domicile, clothes, food, and computer equipment were moved inside and I got busy getting my living situation organized.  Stacked on the dining room table were two manuscripts I had printed at home for reference and notes.  There had been a glimmer of hope that I could sit still long enough to finish both books in my time on the island, but after due consideration (how far along I had gotten in the actual writing and how recently I had worked on each story), I decided that I would concentrate on the coming of age (or should that be coming of middle age?) book.  With organization, decisions, dinner and a glass of wine behind me, I crashed early, hoping to get a good start on Monday morning.

From early Monday morning through noon Tuesday, I read and reread the original 50,000-word manuscript, correcting inconsistencies in the existing document and fixing irritating timeline issues.  After lunch, I finally began the process of writing.  With doors and windows flung wide, the sound of gently lapping water, and the cooling lake breeze blowing through, the words began to flow.  When my eyes needed a break, I would look to my left through the open French doors into the garden
or I would look right through the open living room window to the lake. 
Every evening, I would take a glass of wine and head out the front door, and walk to a bench on the shore. 
Never did get a particularly good shot of the sunset, but it was nice to take that little bit of time for something quiet and soothing.

Other than the few early morning walks I managed to squeeze in, and sleeping and eating of course, I simply wrote.  There was no TV and no WiFi.  I barely had cell service, which was hit and miss at best.  Sometimes I actually had 3G…sometimes I had 1X…sometimes I had no signal at all, which was a particular pain if I needed to Google something for the book or use my online Thesaurus.

At night, I slept with the doors and windows open wide, the incessant sounds of crickets and water becoming the best and most soothing lullaby in memory.  I slept like the proverbial rock.  Quite honestly, I could have stayed there forever.  Of course, winter would be problematic…no crickets, and only crunching ice sounds.

I ended up staying an extra night, at the invitation of the owners.  The additional time enabled me to exceed my word count goal.  My 50,000-word manuscript had grown to 80,500 words by the time I departed the island.  Even now I find it amazing that I managed to write 30,500 words, more than 12 chapters, between noon on Tuesday and midnight on Friday.
Staying on Middle Bass was the epitome of distraction-free time.  It’s the type of time a writer can’t find at home, with family, laundry, cooking, phone calls, door bells, e-mail, and work issues looming.  I could use several Middle Bass weeks every year!  Now all I need to do is win the lottery…then I can buy my own place on Middle Bass.  In the meantime, I will continue working on the novel with a self-imposed completion deadline of end of September and edit deadline of mid-October.  With any luck, I hope to have the new novel for sale on Amazon and Kindle by November 1...just in time for Christmas.

I hated it when my idyllic week came to an end.  Life has a way of bringing you back to reality with a jolt.  My immediate one was learning that I had been driving on an expired license since mid-July.  So I drove off the ferry and directly into Port Clinton, where I paid a premium to regain my driving legality before heading home!