No TV. No WiFi. No phone. A crisp, cool lake right outside the back porch. Water lapping against the rocks. Trees as far as you can see. Sun, clouds, breeze. Fresh air you want to swallow by the gallon. Reading, writing, swimming, kayaking, napping. Peace.
Every summer, we fly up to Camp Fowler in Maine. It's a two-bedroom cottage on Sebec Lake, and while a week there is never long enough, it's just what I need to clear my head and focus on what really matters: time spent with loved ones, time spent in nature, time spent doing the things I enjoy.
As a 21st century writer, it's easy to get bogged down in virtual reality: social media, promotion, sales, rankings, randomness. Ray Bradbury once said, "The Internet is a big distraction. It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere." But for most of is, it's how we're carving out a place for our writing. It's necessary.
Checking my email every hour? Not so much. Multitasking the majority of the day? Nope. Wondering how to increase my number of Twitter followers, Facebook "likes," Amazon reviews, sales of my novella? A waste of brain space.
There is a limit to how much we can cram into our heads. Hermann Neville finds this out the hard way in my story "Memory Lane," included in the latest issue of Plasma Frequency Magazine. (Click the link for a free e-copy.) He wakes up one morning screaming, and he can't stop; his mental capacity has reached its limit. But when he goes to the doctor for a brain scan, life as he knew it is erased. Or so it seems...
Time has a way of slipping by unnoticed while we're plugged into the Matrix. If I'm not careful, an hour can pass while I compose and revise a single blog post. But out on the lake, in the stillness of the morning, with the sun's glory reflecting off the water, a minute can stretch into infinity. And that awareness of the present moment is something I hope to carry with me from the backwoods of Maine to the busyness of real life.