The Parade of Life

On Monday, July 4th, I came out of my writer’s cave to join the crowd lining the town streets and to watch our Independence Day Parade. My husband and I are at the stage where we look for new things to do. We have little to shop for and have been to most of the tourist sites around, so fairs and festivals often are a free and fun excuse to leave the house. Otherwise, it’s difficult to get me to emerge from my writing cave.

It’s easy to forget about the outside world when we’re immersed in our story, thinking up blog topics, or working on promo for the next release. Time can slip by. We have to remind ourselves to step out and smell the flowers, to watch the clouds scud by, and to cherish that moment as it will never come again. Imagining people and places in our minds is no substitute for the real thing, but it’s natural for writers to become isolated when we’re more at home with our characters than the outside world. But once these hours at our desks crawl past, we can never experience them again.

Good friends will call and coax us out of our caves to meet them for lunch or a coffee break. Otherwise, we have to force ourselves to get out of the house, to make a play date, to emerge into society. Usually, this short break recharges our creative batteries and we return to the computer refreshed. At the parade, I remembered how exhilarating it can be watching the motorcycle police zoom around on their vehicles, the firemen cruising past in their monstrous red trucks with sirens blaring, the legions of veterans with their funny hats drive by. Children scrambled for candy tossed onto the swales by parade drivers while families held tailgate parties, watching the parade from the back ends of their vans and SUVs. The steamy humidity made us all sweat and our skin itch, but we didn’t notice the discomfort. It was a joyous moment of feeling alive, of being united in our human experience.

Really, we full-time writers should get out more often. What do you do to push yourself out the door?


9 thoughts on “The Parade of Life

  1. Even if I didn’t write, I still prefer to be a cave dweller, and in my day job, I have waaaaay more than enough contact with the human race, so I don’t go out much except for running the errands that never end.

    But when I do, it’s usually in spring or fall, when events pertaining to history are taking place. For example, a lecture at the historical society museum, or going in February to watch the Pony Express riders come in, etc.

    Not much on tap locally in the summer due to the heat (July 4 being an exception).

    BK Jackson

  2. Those historical events sound most interesting. I do get out, too, for speaking engagements and writers group meetings, although they’re work oriented. On my way to critique group today.

  3. It takes very little prodding to get me out the door! LOL!! That’s why I get up uber-early to write. I know once the day starts I’ll have one distraction after another . . . and I usually love all of ’em!

  4. When my husband takes me out for a few drinks the night before a big day, and we’re sitting at a table with a buttload of friends, I’ll say something along the line of, “Hey, we should all have a pool party at my house and grill out.”

    Then everyone goes, “Yea! we’ll bring chips and dip, or beans, or potato salad…maybe a carrot cake with red, white and blue icing!”

    Then the next day, hungover, I’m nowhere near a computer, because now I have to force myself to clean the house, prep the food and avoid the angry glares from my husband who is outside cleaning the grill, prepping the pool and fixing up the patio furniture.


  5. It doesnt take much to get me out since I work all hours, but my favorite weekly event is THE SUPPER CLUB.

    10-14 friends pick a new restaurant or an activity or a fun location to meet and laugh and get silly. And when I need a secondary character name, sometimes they get a speaking part. These people are tonic for my soul.

  6. Due to the presence of kids I am out a lot. Between baseball, boy scouts, bike rides, and barbeques summer is a “write when you can” experience. Last night my 3rd son’s All Stars team played until 11:30 at night (in a naturally sun-lit field by the way), we have another on Thursday, then I go ocean kayaking with my 2nd son for the weekend. Luckily 1st son is an adult and I don’t have to run him places anymore…just worry if he’s being safe on his own, but pretend I’m cool with it regardless.

    Add to that my day job, church work, and occasional radio talk-hosting spots and I am out of the cave a lot.

    If it weren’t for 6 months of winter, I don’t think I’d get much writing down.

  7. Hey, Diane, can I invite myself to your next pool party? Kathy, I like to write very early too, before the daily distractions start in. Jordan, you’re lucky you have so many friends close by to hang out with. And Basil, you are one busy guy. It eases up once the kids are out of the house, but as you’ve already discovered, little worries are exchanged for bigger ones with kids.

  8. Sure, Nancy. Come on over!

    I should host a pool party for writers only! That would be fun. We would all sit pool-side with our laptops and read each other excerpts from our works in progress. 😀

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