" A little work, a little play,
To keep us going -- and so, good day!"
George Louise Palmella Busson du Maurier 1834 - 1896 "Tribly" 1894 - pt VIII
Or, as the saying goes: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
So after the last couple of weeks of dedicated work on my novel, as I came to the end of another chapter segment and needed time to think about what was next, I 'rewarded' myself with a weekend of leisure time.
I left Friday afternoon on the slick commuter train out of Vancouver, heading 70 k. out to the Fraser Valley to a sweet little town called Mission, (pop 35,262) nestled on a mountain slope overlooking the Fraser River. The area was originally inhabited by the Sto:lo First Nations People, and the town was founded there in 1892. 180 meters up on the mountain above the lush Valley is the Seminary of Christ the King, a Benedictine monastery, founded in 1931. The last time I visited Mission my friend and I went up there to look around and wander the pathways with tremendous vistas of the river valley below. On that visit I also spent some time at the Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre run by the Sto:lo Nation. This morning the distant church bells tolling from the Abby (called Westminster) could be heard across the Lake along with the twittering of birds and croaking of bull-frogs.
My girlfriend is managing a very nice neighbourhood pub in Mission and stays in a big house called the Lake House at Hatzic Lake. The lake is unfortunately reedy but the swimming pool at the house made an extra pleasant treat. And to make the weekend even more special, my Havana Buddy had supplied us with comps to the Mission Folk Festival.
We went on Friday night and again on Saturday. I'm not much of a 'folkie' but there were some good acts including the Battlefield Band from Scotland, and a real treasure of folk music, Buffy Saint Marie, who sings just as beautifully as she did back in the 60's and 70's. Later on Saturday three other girlfriends came to join us for nachos and pizza at the pub. The weather was mostly very warm and sunny although today it rained a bit. My friend drove me part-way back to the city and from there I took the bus and sky-train home. In all, a pleasant and relaxing break. It gave me time to refresh myself and sort out where I'm headed for.
Last week I'd finished another chapter segment and find the transitions are always difficult for me. I wasn't sure who's point of view I should be writing from in the next part, what to leave out from the scattered notes I've had saved up for some time. (The novel is already way too long so I hesitate to fill it up with unnecessary scenes, keeping in mind I have to keep the plot moving along.) Anyway, given time to think about it in a pastoral setting was beneficial, and I think I have an idea of where to go next.
Sometimes when you get stuck, or you're not sure of where to go next, it's a wise idea to take a little break from the writing, step back, reassess and then go back to it with a fresh perspective.
I've got a busy week coming up with some lunch and dinner dates, the annual fireworksdisplays in the city this week and I'd like to attend at least one, and on Thursday I'm starting a five week in-home writing group with six people registered so far. So I don't want to loose the momentum and stop work on the novel. I needed some pre-planning time, which is done now and I'm ready to launch into the next phase of the story. In addition, I've been taking breaks each day for exercise, because my back is bothering me from too much time at the computer. If the weather holds out this means a few more trips to the beach or other recreation areas, some picnics, daily walks and an occasional bike ride too.
"If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it."
Herodotus 485-425 BC "Histories" bk II ch 173.