Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Way Back Wednesday: Beach Pages

It's time to step away from the computer since I'm supposed to be on vacation, so I'm sharing this post from two years ago, in honor of the Beach Pages journal I forgot to pack for this trip.

On Monday night, I found my Beach Pages journal, right where I expected to: on the back wall at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach. Yesterday morning, I cracked it open, ready to write. The imprint inside announced it was published by Peter Pauper Press, a family press founded on the mission of creating "fine books that sold at 'prices even a pauper could afford.'" I made a mental note to check out the publisher and put the date on the first page.

Beach Pages, such a simple idea in theory, proved a little more challenging in execution. I was breaking in my new book not on the beach, but on the screened-in porch, which seemed appropriate  in its own way, if devoid of direct beach inspiration. It was good, in a way, as this pretty new book from Peter Pauper Press was protected, on its first day at least, from ocean breezes that whip the pages around as I write and the sea spray that curls them.

Yeah. No pressure here.
In retrospect, that little bit about the publisher in the front of the journal didn't make the task of filling blank pages any easier. The inspiration that had drifted in on the waves at the beach drifted back out again, intimidated by pretty covers and publisher names the where-is-this-going/what do you mean where-is-this-going-I-thought-we-were-just-having-fun duality that stymies many a relationship. What was I supposed to write about? Was this really a "good use of my time"? Was it okay to just be casual about this lovely book when it had the potential to be so much more?

But, by the end of my hour, I'd broken the book in and established a sense of what I want these pages to be. Reminding myself that the only rule was to "just write," I stumbled a few times, then found my stride.

Just like any other kind of writing.

Along the way, I discovered there's a process at work, even in Beach Pages. I use this word a lot when I write about organization, emphasizing that any progress is just that -- progress. Committing to an hour for my Beach Pages meant that there would likely be warm-up time, productive time and staring-into-space time. Sticking to the hour through the warm-up time and the staring-into-space time was the only thing that would get me to the productive time.

Just like any other kind of writing.

Quangpraha via Pixabay
Process popped up in another way, too -- as a verb. After burrowing into my writing tunnel, I need some time, when I emerge, to think about what it all means. When I closed the book today, my mind was still spinning, so I set a timer for five minutes and closed my eyes, just concentrating on my breathing and letting thoughts come and go (thank you, Headspace). The most insistent thoughts -- summaries, really -- warranted opening my eyes and jotting them down and suddenly I'd created a brief summary of contents.

Huh. That wasn't part of the plan. But apparently it's part of the process.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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