My calendar for last week
was full. It was going to require
careful juggling to be on time for everything scheduled. For some silly reason,
I was tired, but I ignored it. Overbooking and multi-tasking is the story of my
Then, my son invited me to
come to Denver to see him in an improv show. This was the graduation
performance for the second improvisation class he’s taken since realizing he’s
reached an age where pick-up basketball games can be dangerous to his health.
I almost said “no.” I had a calendar of excuses – not to mention
I doubted I’d be able to find a cheap airline ticket, but because he’d invited
me, I knew it was important to him. More
important than anything on my calendar. So, I threw frugality to the wind and bought
a Birmingham to Denver ticket.
It was the best thing I
could have done. I was only there for four days, but we had some wonderful
mother/son time and I was so proud of him – he was darn good up on that stage.
From a word or concept,
using the forms he’d learned, he managed to convey ideas and thoughts of common
place things through energized sketches that had the audience in stitches.
During the days I visited,
we shared meals, went shopping, entertained 30+ of his friends who either
wanted to meet me or who I already knew but hadn’t seen for a while, and
talked. Nice. What was also nice were the hours of solitude I had while he
I wrote, but not much.
Instead, I took advantage of the view from his condo. I stared for hours at the
point where the mountains and clouds merged.
I didn’t turn on the television or listen to music, I simply hung. Those
hours were as precious as the ones I spent with my son because I gave myself
permission to relax without an obligation to do anything.
The days of my visit
passed too quickly. I’m home, but my mind remains shrouded in the moments of
mindlessness I experienced in Denver. The irony is I’ve resumed my planned
schedule with a bounce in my step I didn’t have before I went away. I am
re-energized. My tasks are being done
effectively and my mind is as clear as the view I had of the mountains.
Sometimes, stepping back
or improvising let’s one truly be alive.
For a writer, that translates to new and more imaginative ways of
working. Too often, writers are so worried about our works in progress that we
fail to give ourselves the gift of downtime. The result often is bad writing,
stilted thoughts, and frustration. I’m glad I stepped away for a few days
because I now am re-dedicated, have a newly found sense of purpose, and am
finding it easy to creatively improvise. What a peaceful and wonderful feeling.