I took the last two weeks of May off, to figure some things out and plug some holes where the rain comes in and nurse the broken heart that bled over these blog pages lately. (Watch where you step, some of the corners are still tacky.) I thought maybe I’d take a few swings at an idea for the, um, (whispering:) book I’ve been thinking about for the last couple of months. I always want to write books and historically never actually do, but this time I appear to have some plot and story arc and characters hovering around clearing their throats. So.
But the main thing I learned in my two weeks off was essentially this: Two weeks is not enough time off.
My genes don’t run toward leaving well enough alone, so I booked too much photo work during my two short wonderful weeks: some portrait stuff, an event shoot at the loopy cool Red Bull Ascension ’06 party, and a feature piece on summer sun and parks in New York. By the time my time ran — and two weeks run fast, even when you bookend them with weekends — I was just starting to relax, liking the happy feel of blue jeans every day, loving the new gym regimen (five days/week and six where six fit). And I was getting past the hysterical binge drinking, see broken heart, supra.
So two weeks. Like learning how to breathe all over, from scratch. I barely wrote a scrap of actual text, but I added a couple of characters, flipped over a theme, wrote a few bits to test-drive a voice or two. Added a road trip, which might come out later but feels native to the run. Spent a couple of days wearing no socks except in the gym, sat in the park with a book in my lap and listened to the air when I didn’t want to sit at home. Thought about cleaning up and didn’t. Thought that maybe one of the things we shouldn’t ever have given up is summer vacation. I remember as a kid being free until I got bored, and I wondered what that would feel like now. And then it was time to go back to the Job, and of course once I got in it was like I’d never left.
On Thursday, June 29th, I walk out of this office into a Leave of Absence until maybe September, maybe October. There might still be a place for me here at that point, but there might not. I should have the some body parts of a novel to show for it. For pretty much the first time since I graduated from college, I won’t have a job, and I already have no idea where I’m going. Can’t wait to get there.
There’s no real way I can afford this, but it’s one of those moments: if I don’t do this now, I won’t do it ever.
Safety nets are for wimps. Or is that angels? I always forget.