Wanderlust is a great word. Originated from the German-language, it means “a great desire to travel, or rove about.” It sounds poetic and pretty awesome, and it explains part of my absence from this blog since my oh-so enlightening “Year 44” post back in March (insert eye roll here).
Since that last post it might seem like I haven’t been doing much writing. This is both true and untrue. I’m still working on a third novel, and surprisingly I don’t hate it (yet), but sometimes writers just need a break to reevaluate where we’re headed, and we need to remind ourselves why we write in the first place. Sometimes even when we love it, we hate it—especially when the rejections we receive start to outweigh the amount of words we can kick out in one novel. (I’m really bad at math, but if you add the word count of both of my finished novels together, plus my half-finished third novel, that’s a lot of motherfucking words.) Breathing in new experiences, meeting new people and letting them simmer inside our heads so we can cook-up really twisted versions of them later just for fun is just good for the soul. This is called being an observer. You don’t need to be a writer, or even really be all that creative to be an observer, you just need a pair of eyes an and an imagination. Being an observer with a little bit of wanderlust is a great way to kick start inspiration.
So, being the observant wanderluster I am, I decided to drain my bank account and knock a few things off my bucket list this past June. It started with a whirlwind trip to New York to attend my very first ever Book Expo with my talented friend and fellow writer, Stacy Tornio. It was an amazing trip that left me in awe of that eclectic, busy, constantly moving, somewhat turbulent city. Though at times I literally felt like Will Ferrell’s character in Elf (because the yellow ones really don’t stop when you’re crossing the street) I fell in love with that city. What writer wouldn’t? Though my experience at the Book Expo was humbling, to say the least, and it made me feel like a very teeny-tiny fish in a big, huge ocean, it was a learning experience. And I think we can all agree that learning experiences are good. Making it in the publishing world takes more than talent—it takes attitude. I’m not short on attitude in most cases, believe me, but in the world of publishing it takes A LOT of attitude, A LOT of persistence, and even after all this time in the game, I have A LOT to learn. But that’s okay. What fun is there in giving up, right? I’m no quitter.
So, because my wanderlusting didn’t end there, just a couple short weeks after my trip to New York, I ventured out to beautiful Northern California. This trip was meant to be the opposite of New York, and it was. San Francisco is still a busy, crazy city, but with a totally different vibe. It’s gorgeous. And as we ventured up the twisting Pacific Coast Highway about three hours north of San Francisco, the scenery was even more breath-taking. Being an observer in a place like that gives new life to any tired soul. As the most western-tip of the U.S. before Hawaii, it has all the charm of Hawaii, it’s just not quite as tropical.
But, as fate would have it, life has a weird way of knocking you on your ass when it seems you’re just starting to figure out a thing or two about your own next chapter. One day you’re cruising along a California highway after enjoying a day sitting on the beach, and the next day you’re lying on the bathroom floor wishing the world would stop spinning. It would seem there should be one of my classic metaphors in there somewhere, but nope, there’s really not. It’s what really happened thanks to my tumultuous relationship with pollen that brought an abrupt halt to my observing and wanderlusting. Pollen and I are not friends, mainly because I’m allergic to it, but our relationship seems to have reached an epic proportion of strong dislike for one another. Though very beneficial to the survival of our ecosystem, to me pollen are little invisible motherfuckers who like to sneak up on me when I least expect it. Instead of giving me the sniffles or the sneezes, or even itchy, watery eyes, it gives me really (not) fun inner-ear swelling which leads to even more (not) fun vertigo.
Vertigo sucks ass, it’s a really good U2 song, but in real life there’s nothing fun about vertigo. For those who’ve never experienced it, I like to explain it like this … imagine being really, really drunk and then laying down and trying to go to sleep. The bed starts spinning, slowly at first and you think, ok, this isn’t so bad, I can handle this. Then it starts spinning faster, and faster, and faster and then you realize, oh shit, I’m gonna barf. That, my friends, is just the start of real vertigo. Real vertigo can last for minutes, it can last for hours, it can last for days, and you can’t stop it by putting your foot on the floor or going to eat a sandwich. I’ve had all three types of vertigo and it’s landed me a sleepover in the hospital twice. The latest, just a few days ago. But I’m feeling better, and eventually I’ll win this war against those little assholes, I assure you.
So, if you’re wondering what my point to all of this is (because if you follow this blog at all, you know I always have some crazy anecdote between my rambling and swearing) it’s this … no matter what you do in life, take some time to wander this big, crazy world. There’s so much beauty out there. It doesn’t take a writer to understand or interpret all there is to see, it takes human eyes and a venturing soul. Even if it breaks your bank account and knocks you on your ass with vertigo, it really isn’t the end result that matters, it’s the journey. As cliché as that sounds take the journey when you can, and be grateful for it—even if it gives you vertigo. Vertigo eventually ends, but learning and creating never does, so breath it in and capture the moments because life is far too short to stand still. (But if you’re allergic to pollen, bring some Allegra, you just might need it.)
As always, thanks for reading.