the Traveling Writing Room
Go. Be. Do
Well, I’m trying to get back in the saddle, so to speak, of regularly blogging. I’ve had a zillion thoughts during my sabbatical and I’m trying to sort through them all as we journey along together. So, let’s start here:
I want to introduce you to my Traveling Writing Room (TWR). It’s a perky, little tear-drop trailer equipped with bedroom, dining room, living room, kitchen, and bathroom and I can stand in the middle of it and be in all of those rooms at once. In fact, I can be sitting in the dining room and lean a tad to the right and get something out of the fridge in the kitchen without even getting up. Or I can be in the bedroom while I write from my computer in the dining room. It’s a marvel and I’m getting lots of writing done in various lovely locations to boot. I love it.
I have named the TWR, Gerp. I tend to name things. “Gerp” was the first pet name I gave my husband back in our dating years. Like I said, I tend to name things. My sweet Hubs died in 2013 a few days before our forty- second anniversary. It had always been our dream to own a camper and hit the road at retirement. He fought valiantly but didn’t make it. As time went on I discovered that I still wanted to buy a camper and hit the road, so why shouldn’t I? So, I did, and I named it after the Hubs. It’s like he’s still with me.
My inaugural trip was to St. Augustine, Florida to do research for a book. I took my then, 90-year-old mother with me. (That’s a whole other story and it will come in good time.) However, I spent my first night in Gerp at a mom-n-pop campground in Illinois before I picked up my mom in Memphis. I drove into the campground around 8 p.m. in the pouring rain. Fortunately, my site was a ‘drive-through’ which meant no backing up required. (Backing up a trailer for the first time is yet another whole other story.) So, there I sat, my dog, Atticus, in the passenger seat, Gerp hooked in the back and me looking out the windshield at a monsoon. No biggie, right? I got my operations manual out and found the page that listed what I was to do and in what order. First, I needed to ‘chock’ the wheels so the trailer would not run over me while I hooked it up. Fat chance of that since if I didn’t hurry, Gerp was going to turn into a boat, in which case I would need to chuck the chocks and jerry-rig an anchor.
My first hand at hooking up sewer, water and electricity was going to be while tromping in flip-flops through a moat that was quickly filling up around me. Picture it: Me. Ecstatic dog. Rain. Sewer hose. Water hose. 30-amp hook-up. Hammer. Screwdriver. Orange, plastic wrench. (Another story for a later time.) Tiny flashlight stuck to my head. And, flip-flops.
Yes, it was as bad as it sounds. A knuckle-bleeding hour later, I climbed into Gerp soaked to the bone, freezing and caked in mud. I sat down in my living room or was it the dining room and fought back tears as Atticus stood in the kitchen and shook rain water and mud from his doggy-person.
Had I made the worse mistake in my life? A sixty-something-year-old woman should not be galivanting around the country alone pulling a fifteen-foot trailer that could squash her like a bug if she slipped under it in the mud. “It ain’t natural,” I heard my grandmother, Ginny Mae, say over the thunder that boomed outside.
Well, let me tell you what I think ain’t natural and that is being afraid to try. I have been in mourning for four years. I’ve cried, prayed, locked myself away, talked myself and others silly, and listened to all kinds of advice. Through it all I think I’ve moved about three feet down the road toward healing. It’s time to hook up Gerp, load up Atticus, and bury the fear of making a mistake, disappointing somebody, offending somebody, horrifying somebody, getting lost, having a flat tire, running out of gas or coming to some great bodily harm if I actually get the dern trailer out of the driveway.
A healthy dose of caution is prudent but paralyzing fear is life sucking. A writer who knew his way around fear once was inspired to write, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.” I think I’m going to go with that.
Okay, there you have it for the day. Be well. Go. Do. Be.