A Vacation Confession

I'm ashamed. On a nine day vacation, I got nothing written. Nothing, zilch, nada. My wife, the lovely Kathryn Trattner has kept on top of it from day one. She's posted, tried to get me on top of it, but I just faltered. Instead, I did the normal things one does on a vacation, which isn't bad in and of itself, but I did neglect my writing. I even had a day where I opted to stay home, but all I did was watch movies, play video games, and rest. Overall, not a bad day, but a piss poor one when viewed in my writing career.

The view from our upper balcony.

The vacation itself wasn't a bad one. Unfortunately, for having roughly six days at a beach house, I only got out to the beach three or four times and actually got in the water. My wife and I walked it a few times, making sure to search for clams, crabs, and the like. I still enjoyed myself, however I don't think it'll be something we ever do again - bringing four families together under one roof for one massive vacation. It's too stressful.

It might be different if some of us were reliant on others, but we're all grown adults. We have our children, but we are no longer their grandparents' children. I am a father in my own right, I have my own responsibilities, my own livelihood. At one point, my parents did help out a lot with bills, but they are no longer in the position to do that and my savings come entirely from my job. My wife works full time as well. We may not always make ends meet but we do a damn good job, considering.

So when there are multiple generations in one household, each with their own opinions on how time should be spent, and what we should eat, when, etc. Let's just say that things become hectic.

My son and I headed toward the ocean the first full day.

In this atmosphere, I felt none of the normal inspiration. Normally, I secret myself away (at a coffee shop, soooo hidden), douse myself in music, and then write until I can't anymore. I'm notorious for either staking out at Starbucks for eight hours, or for jumping between multiple establishments, just chasing down that story. Even with the wind rushing, the waves crashing, gulls in the background, I was given nothing to use.

There's some sensory details I can definitely fit into The Faithful once I delve into it again. The wind swept hair, the feel of sand rubbing skin raw, the pungent smell of dead seaweed and tossed up sand. But this is a beach town, more suited for another fictional city I made, Canei (which The Magician partially takes place in). When I was in Alaska, there was far more details I could take from whatever port city we landed in. The sea wall, the punctured holes in it, all the rust coating it. The cold air skirting off the water. That's what I like to go more to, but alas, this year's trips have been spent.

Soon, I will have another child and things will be different. I'll have to find another way, another time to write. I won't be able to simply escape while my son sleeps, because his sister will be up and in much more dire need of assistance. That was one of the big things, not necessarily an epiphany (since we have been through it before), but just a reminder: newborns need a lot of attention. Rory was different, she was laid back, especially when contrasted with Graham.

Why have lunch when this puddle looks so delish?

Graham was, and continues to be, a terror. He screams, loses his mind when you leave the room . . . he's a difficult child. He was even more so during this vacation when both his grandparents and his parents were in the room. He decided to act out for the both of us, leaving us frantically trying to figure out where our boy had gone and why he'd been replaced with this hellspawn. There were moments of brightness, but for the most part, he was a non-stop scream factory on legs.

Even for the last night, he opted to go to bed early, then wake up at 10 pm and stay up well into the morning. In fact, I think he barely slept for more than a few minutes. Luckily, that meant the trip back was all the more . . . less stressful. For the most part, he slept over the nine hour trip, being awake for perhaps three hours at the most. And still, he went to bed on time. Who knows how we'll fare over the next few days, but at least for the return, it was a delight watching him sleep.

As for my story, I did what I'm supposed to do on vacation - I relaxed. Now I've got to refocus and keep my nose to grindstone, eking out any word I can. I need to finish the Magician before the next kiddo arrives, that much I know. So I have roughly a month (give a week or two over under) to finish it.

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Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.