Shelley Widhalm

Working, or Vacation?

In Artists, Novel editing, Vacations on June 12, 2011 at 7:00 am

This past week was supposed to be my vacation, but I spent more than 20 hours editing my novel.

Unfortunately, it’s Friday, and my vacation ends on Sunday. I’m ready to restart my vacation and not do any work, but unlike in politics, there are no re-dos.

My mom and I drove to Omaha to stay with relatives, meeting my brother and his girlfriend there for our weeklong stay. I gave up a few things to do my editing, like a trip to the casinos across the river in Iowa, grocery shopping, cooking dinner (my brother’s girlfriend loves to cook) and playing Rummikub at night (the family had a tournament thing going on).

I “snuck” off to Starbuck for two to three hours at a time to do the editing. I can concentrate there, do some people watching and listen to music as I slowly edit about 10-15 pages in an hour.

I also spent two or three evenings out on the patio doing more editing. I liked looking out at the verdant sloping lawn and at the rabbits hanging out there. One even plopped down on its belly, with its front paws splayed out, looking pretty cute.

But I missed things. Like conversations over preparing meals, playing board games and being together. I was away at Starbucks, chasing this dream that is just that, at least for now. Being a starving artist takes many forms, whether it’s not being who you want to be in order to pay the bills or being who you are but then not having enough money.

I fit my starving artist self into little slots of time that I would rather use for having fun. It’s the weekend, or after work or, like now, a vacation. I spend my vacations being who I want to be during non-vacation time, when I am not who I am.

It’s quite confusing.

All I know is that my family probably wonders where I am. Oh they know, it’s Starbucks, but I’m away from them when, really, I should have been a part of their whole. I guess I’ll have to wait until next year, having learned my lesson.

Working hard has its place, but not at the cost of what’s in front of you, that moment, that being together. Even so, I’m glad to have the editing done.

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