Whether we call them day trips, getting out of dodge, or as I did recently, house-sitting for a friend, getting out of the daily routine is a necessary part of staying fresh—and looking at the world with a fresh eye. Creativity flows well when new material—sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and textures—enter into your life. To say nothing of abandoning your routines.
I remember, even as a child, taking day trips that included a boat on a lake, ones that included a hike through the woods, and ones that were merely trips to the junkyard so that Dad could find a part for the car. Yes, even the junkyard. In fact, while Dad negotiated for a new transmission, I remember finding all sorts of treasures, like bolts and washers, but also metal things in shapes I’d never seen before. I used to keep a box of junk under my bed. That’s where I went when I wanted my toy Army men to have weapons different than anyone else. It was also where I went to touch metal things that promised exotic uses. I read a lot of science fiction in those days and could easily imagine those parts inside a strange machine.
These days, getting out of dodge means that I get to eat at a small restaurant outside of town where the food tastes, somehow, better than I can remember food ever tasting. It means stopping along the road and getting out of the car to look at how the creek flows around rocks, or where a tree had fallen across the creek and is now stopping other logs, bushes, and sometimes a dead animal from traveling down current. The smells rise from the creek like negative ions from thunderstorms, fresh and invigorating.
That’s how house sitting has been, these last few days. My wife and I are both there. We call it the lake house simply because there’s a lake out back. It seems quieter there than at our own house. There are also fewer responsibilities. Sure, we have to clean up after ourselves, but we don’t look at the property and think that we “have to mow the grass” or “weed the garden.” We’re just house sitting. Feed the dogs, care for the house, and relax. It’s almost like a vacation.
Getting away from the daily routine always gets me to thinking in poetic terms. I write more poems when I’m in new surroundings. I don’t know why that is, but it’s a fact. So, even when I’m living my day-to-day life, I try to get out every once in a while and take a drive somewhere I haven’t been, or take a walk in a different part of the woods. Sometimes, going to the farm where we keep our horses and spending time with them, without a specific job to do, is enough to get me out of my own way so that I can let the creative juices flow.
These are necessary life events. Taken out of our normal routine, we increase the energy in our bodies; we look at everything in a fresh way, even our routines when we get back to them appear different somhow; and we open the channels for new information to come into our lives. Fresh ideas need fresh perspectives. Getting away from it all is as important for your life as it is for your writing. I highly recommend it.
Terry Persun is an award winning author and a #1 Amazon bestseller. He is also a Pushcart nominee. His mainstream novel, “Wolf’s Rite”, was a Star of Washington award winner, a POW! Award winner, and a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalist. His science fiction novel, “Cathedral of Dreams”, was also a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists. And his historical novel, “Sweet Song”, won a Silver IPPY Award for best regional fiction. His latest novel, “Doublesight”, is book one of his new fantasy series. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. Terry writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy.