October 18th, 2011

DL Mains

Writing in Florida

My girls and I took our yearly trip to visit my mother in Florida this past August.  Yeah, I know…Florida in August?  Yes, I am certifiable.  This year, it was the only time the three of us could schedule.  So we packed up my daughter's little Ford Focus (it get's like a gazillion miles per gallon - lol) and we drove down.  It takes us about 20 hours total (from Long Island to the Orlando area), switching between her and I, and we drive straight through.
I love these trips not only because I get to see my mom, but because we leave the men at home and there is no pressure to do anything.  It is a ‘relaxing’ vacation.  Gasp – I know.  Who would have thought it?  We do little things and day trips, but we usually don’t plan anything, so we can always change plans if we need to.  It’s bliss.
The biggest thing I love about this trip is I get to write whenever I want.  I don’t have to drop everything to cater to anyone or feel guilty if dinner is late or the bathroom isn’t cleaned.  My mother is a big supporter of my writing now, so she is very indulgent. 
This year presented a problem.  My mother quit smoking. 
Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful thing and I am thrilled.  My problem is that I still smoke.  And I smoke more when I write.  If I have a scene or a situation that warrants mulling around in my head, I light up.  There goes my perfect little writing scenario because now, when I need to light up, I have to go outside. 
Ever dedicated, does this stop me?  Not at all.  The carport is shady and has an outside outlet (my laptop is a few years old and the battery is iffy so I always plug it in).  My mom dug out a folding chaise lounge and I set it up in the carport with a little stool for my mouse.  This was surprising comfortable and worked quite well, except for the heat.  August in Florida.  And except for the mosquitoes once the sun went down.
So there I was, out in the carport in 100 degree heat, complete with humidity, straddling a chaise lounge with my laptop on the foot rest.  Sweating profusely in shorts and a tank top and occasionally swatting at bugs, I hacked away on the keys, smoking at my leisure and sipping lukewarm beverages.  Rereading the passages I wrote, I think it’s some of the best stuff I’ve ever written.
I guess there’s something to be said for the suffering artist.
So let’s hear your tales of ‘suffering.’