Sunday I'm off to New Mexico - to a town I can't pronounce: Abiquiu. I'll be staying where George O'Keeffe had a studio and touring her house, as well as visiting Taos and Santa Fe, and seeing an old friend from grad school. Oh yeah, and I'll be at a writing retreat, too! This is the first time I've ever taking a trip expressly for the purpose of working on my writing. It'll be good to get back into workshop mode (did I really say that?) and work with new poets like Kim Addonizio and Joy Harjo. And then there's the mystery of who my roommate will be, and whether or not she'll hog all the hot water and talk my ear off when I'm trying to sleep. I'll hope for the best!
This is also the first time I've taken a vacation alone, just for me. I can't believe I've waited this long. My advice to you is: make this a priority as soon as possible. We all need it. How well do you know yourself? The only real way is to get away from the Everyday You and take a good, long look. If you're worried about having a breakdown from what you find there, where better to do it than on vacation where you can let the natural world (or some exotic locale or beautiful city) support and heal you? On a brighter side: wherever you decide to go, no one knows you. You can be whoever you want. This kind of adventure, whether it takes place in darkness or light, good or bad, gives you and your writing greater depth and complexity. Try it.
Back to me: I will not have access to the internet, nor will my cell phone work, and I think this is for the best. If I'm going to spend this time with myself and my writing, I can't let myself be tempted by outside forces. Another plus: no laundry to do, no dog to walk (he's being boarded), no men to wear lipstick for. Aside from workshops and lectures, it's just me and as much desert and sun as I can take. I love the desert. I can take a lot.
Yes, I'm secretly hoping for a transcendent, transformative experience. Perhaps even a little transgressive!
The only worry: a year and a half ago, on my drive cross-country to move to LA, my car died in a very spectacular way in Albuquerque where this trip begins and ends. Let's hope that carma is beind me...