I am going to Arizona in seven days. During the semester spring break, I am, for the first time since my middle year of undergraduate (which was in 2002), going to have a proper spring break in which I do “spring break things.” I understand that most of the world does not get any version of spring break, let alone a proper spring break, and I am grateful for any break at all, spring or otherwise. But I spent last spring break coming home from AWP and then having the worst flu experience of my life (really for ten full days). Generally, “spring break” means one or several simultaneous variants: grade like a lunatic; go to AWP and run around feeling exhilarated or abjectly miserable (with truly no middle ground); complete grant applications; visit family; feel guilty about not visiting family. Spring break has been part of my life for the last thirteen years. With any luck, it will continue to be so. But spring breaks have never really meant break, and spring breaks have certainly never meant writing.
I aim to change that, at least for this year. I am doing so by doing a lot of things I’ve never done before.
1. I will be making a two-thousand mile round-trip solo. I’ve done a lot of long road-trips in my life, but never with just me for company. …I should probably add some new tunes to my collection before I go and put fresh batteries in my hand-held tape recorder. (Taking actual notes while driving is a poor choice.)
1a. If you have strong opinions about music I should be listening to, recommend me stuff in the comments. I will have a long time to test-drive a lot of tunes.
2. I will be creating a writing retreat for myself for the first time. Over the summer, most days were “writing retreats” for me, at least in the sense that I had the house to myself for the bulk of the day, but being at home is never a place I can really isolate myself. There’s too much familiar, too much waiting. Too many feelings of You should be doing ___.
3. I will be finishing my revision. Come hell or high water, this is the heart of my trip.
4. I will be going to MLB’s Spring Training in the west. I’ve never been to Spring Training (as I have never lived closer than a thousand miles to it, but apparently the distance matters not this year). I’ve got plans for a handful of Cactus League games, and I’m staying within walking distance of two different stadiums. I will hopefully get to see Hunter Pence. Twice.
5. I have non-fiction writing assignments for myself, as related to this event. The novel revision comes first, but I’ve got some ideas, so much so that they’ve become assignments in the journalistic sense. I’m not thinking so much of straight reportage or anything, but I very, very seldom know what I’m going to write before I start it. Right now, I have some actual plans. I’m interested to see what happens with these, in an experimental sense. Am I even capable of following an idea formulated in advance? How long will it take before everything takes the unexpected left at Albuquerque?
6. I will watch ice hockey in the desert. The Ducks come to Phoenix, and I’ll get to see a proper handful of former Penguins. (I miss Steve Sullivan. There, I said it.) Is it tacky to wear Penguins’ gear to a Coyotes/Ducks game in support of former Penguins…even if said Penguins’ gear is not specific to said former Penguins? Am I a douche for showing up in an Orpik jersey when Ray Shero decided the Penguins did not need now-Duck Ben Lovejoy’s services on defense? Am I over-thinking this?
6a. After consulting my brother, he doesn’t think the other four people at the arena will care. I can just move to sit in a different section.
To get there, though, I have to get through another full week of the regular responsibilities. It’s going to be a busy week, for a number of reasons, some of which I may write about at some point.