“A writer never takes a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.”
― Eugène Ionesco
That is my all time favorite writing quote, and it’s true. A writer’s mind is always at least partially on writing.
I just finished an odd pairing of shifts at work that left me seriously short on sleep. By the end of my overnight shift Saturday morning I was running on caffeine and whatever willpower I could muster, and I was barely upright.
Even as I went about my duties, part of my mind was busy taking note of my physical reactions — barely standing, lack of balance, the wobbly feeling even when sitting still, and a feeling of nausea.
And part of my mind was noticing me noticing the symptoms and was mildly amused at myself for doing so: yep — always either writing or thinking about writing.
I remember when I got word that someone very special to me had died: more than a former professor, it was his encouragement that got me writing again after a very long dry spell.
I remember the overwhelming grief that I felt, the sense of loss. And the burning in my eyes and the tightness in my chest and the way my face felt like it was going to burst from the pressure from my sinuses and the way my mind refused to focus on anything except the fact that he was gone.
And even as all of this was happening I took notice of my reactions, and thought, in another part of my mind, that he would approve. After all, he was a writer too — a poet.
And that reminded me of another quote, one he had shared with me once. I can’t find the exact quote but it is by Colin Wilson, and talks about poetry coming from “holiday consciousness” and creating a “holiday consciousness” in the reader.
To me, that means looking at the familiar as if you are always on holiday, taking note of the familiar as if it was unfamiliar, as if you were seeing or experiencing something for the first time.
So, a writer never takes a vacation, and yet always has a “holiday consciousness.”