READING BETWEEN THE PINES

If life's about the journey, does it matter how many bathroom breaks you take along the way?

After creating two posts a week since the inception of this blog, I’ve written nothing for the last three. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I’ve been on vacation mode, and I can’t bring myself to do anything that doesn’t involve self-tanning, a cocktail, and my DVR.

For the Type A, sometimes over-achieving, often napping Gemini that I am, this form of being is both thrilling and mortifying, but mostly mortifying since it’s 2:23 a.m. and I’m in a pseudo-manic state when I should be asleep.

Self Portrait taken April 18, 2012 at 2:45 a.m. Image via insanity.

How bloggers like Sweet Mother and A Clown On Fire manage to post brilliant material every day is beyond me. I think they might be bionic, but don’t tell them I said so or they’ll flex their witty, razor-sharp biceps even more often than now, forcing me onto the floor and into Jane Fonda donkey kick mode in a lame attempt to keep up.

Image via filmbug.com

When it comes to blogging, I’ve been in a bit of a stupor lately. Call it writer’s block, spring fever, or general disdain, but anything I’ve considered producing comes out in a blah, blah, blekity blah kind of way in my head. So instead of turning the bleck into something anyone might care to read, I rub on some Jergens Revitalizing Glow Daily Moisturizer, mix a fairly strong Maker’s Mark and ginger ale, flip through back episodes of Jersey Shore, and cry.

Image via nydailynews.com

But all of this, and by this I mean the writing void I’ve existed in for the past few weeks, is about to change because tomorrow I’m headed to The Farm. No, not that farm where they siphon off every last peso you’ve ever earned, commandeer all sharp objects including your mind, and pad you up in a nice white suit for your stay.

I’m gonna visit my seventy year-old dad’s fancy, new, working farm (sort of, whatever that means) in Varnville, SC…population 2,032.

The great thing about this trip is that I’m not a farmer. Not even close. Neither is my dad, which makes the whole thing doubly exciting.

That’s not me. Image via wikipedia.com

Even better? I’m going sans-kids, although anyone who has children understands that it’s taken me approximately seventeen days to set up a three-day trip. Yes, I’ve invested 408 hours to get away for 72, which is voodoo math, but after a few drinks, who’s really counting? I’ve set up carpools, babysitters, video surveillance cameras and booby traps to ensure that my offspring get safely from Point A to Point B while I’m gone and don’t kill each other in the process, or eat too many leftover peeps from Easter and orbit the house in Matrix-like fight mode as they…kill each other in the process.

Dead Peeps. Image via flickr.com.

And last? There’s absolutely nothing to do. Check out Varnville on Google Earth. There isn’t anything there. Except my dad’s farm. And a pack of wild dogs. And some dude in a squirrel hat riding up and down the wrong side of the road on an electric scooter. O.K. I made those last two things up, but still.

So I’m going to Varnville to tap my creativity again and get out from under the spell of this evil-brain-witch-slacker-zombie who’s taken over my body. Because I miss writing. And I miss you. And I would like to be asleep right now. So maybe we can all join hands and sing Kumbaya together. Or not. But either way I’m for sure finding that dude on the scooter and catching a ride. I don’t know where we’ll end up, but the real fun is in the journey anyway, right?

50 thoughts on “I Am Not A Farmer (Part I)

  1. I’d say, relax and don’t get worked up by such mental deadlines. I’m not a daily blogger myself, don’t want to be, never will be. However, I do dream about having a farm of my own one day :). Would love to retire as a farmer.

    We do miss you when you don’t post regularly but that doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten you, you do exist in our thoughts. So go take a break, come back rocking! You’ll perhaps get a zillion more ideas. It’s the peace that matters not the pace.

    Love,

    neha

    1. Neha, I find my entire mental being breathing a heavy sigh of contentment just reading your comment. Thanks for stopping by. I will attempt NOT to worry about writing while I’m gone and bask in the glory of pigs sloshing around in the mud. If my dad has any pigs. If not, I’ll probably worry about writing so keep your fingers crossed…. =)

      1. Oink Oink!

        Sorry I missed your reply. I’m so glad you’re having a good time. Found any pigs yet? 😉
        Hope the purest oxygen around helps and you come back really really fresh.

        Do put some pictures on your return.

        Love,

        Neha

  2. WSW says:

    There must be something in the air, because I’ve been inhabiting a parallel universe for the past three weeks. FWIW, all it takes is one little spark to re-ignite the flame.I found it on the NYC subway, but If you can get there via rural South Carolina, go for it. I’m looking forward to the result.

    1. I read it when you posted and “liked” but didn’t have the mental capacity to leave a witty comment. Hilarious. If only I could be so lucky as to land in a pile of cow dung on the farm, perhaps I too will be inspired.

  3. clownonfire says:

    Stacie,
    1) Le Clown is overrated. And he should know that all his ideas are not great ideas: learn to edit, Le Clown.
    2) If I could take pictures and look blue like you, I wouldn’t need to write posts. You made blue look smashing. I don’t care if you say that was not the goal. Le Clown is right.
    3) There are bugs on farms. You could have taken your kids. Bugs would have eaten them and you would have had alone time anyway, with less planning, and more money to spend.
    Le Clown

    1. Clown,
      1) You are the only clown who makes me laugh.
      2) I don’t like bugs.
      3) I do like my kids. Most of the time.
      Stacie

  4. It sounds like a fantastic trip! Can’t wait to read the stories that come out of it. And I look forward to having you back in my inbox because I think you’re very funny. Until then, enjoy the farm!

    1. Very funny is better than funny and funny is better than avearage and average is better than “I think you suck” especially when I’m writing in the middle of the night and posting horrific pictures of myself. Thanks for the love. =)

      1. By the way, you have a place of honor on my blog roll (the one I finally got off my lazy ass and created.)

    2. I immediately went to your blog to see my name in stars but couldn’t find it. Maybe your blogroll is written in invisible ink? =p

      Seriously, thank you. You’re one funny girl and I’m honored to appear on your site, even if no one else can see me.

      1. Oy. Admittedly I’m no technical genius. I’ll have to figure out what’s going on which will probably involve lots of expletives. You’re there…somewhere.

      2. Fixed it! Thanks for letting me know because lord only knows how long that would’ve gone on before I noticed. I am that on top of things around here. I wonder if the kids are missing too…

  5. What kind of working farm is it? I DIG farms. Maybe not pig farms, though. But no offense to your father if he has a pig farm. Just bring a nose plug. I think a little time on the farm will be just the ticket to rejuvenate. Not that you need it, judging from your writing. But you are looking a little “Blue Man Group.” Have fun!

    1. I think it’s a part-time working farm: corn, soybeans, and horses. No pigs. Yet.
      Thanks for your sweet comment, Beth, and CONGRATULATIONS again on getting an agent. Such a huge, huge deal. Can’t wait to read the latest version of your novel. We need a Sarah Ockler reunion to catch up!

  6. crubin says:

    A visit to a farm should provide some good blog fodder. And I hear you about trying to get everything together ahead of time when going on a trip without your children. Can anything be less fun? But the trick is to then go on your vacation and not worry about whether all of those instructions you left are being carried out…

    Good to have you back. Even in a funk your posts are a joy to read.

    1. How much do I love you? If there was an award for the most supportive blogger, I would give it to you. In fact, I think I will. I hereby honor you with the Community Blogger Award. You don’t have to pass it on, tell forty things about yourself you’d rather hide, or spin in circles until you puke. You just have to remain your wonderfully awesome self. Oh yeah, and let a skeleton out of the closet. Just one. But hopefully something shocking.
      Thanks Carrie! =)

      1. crubin says:

        You are too kind. And I love your on-the-spot award. Anything with the name of “Community Blogger Award” given to an introvert is quite an accomplishment. But I doubt you’ll be getting any skeletons from my closet anytime soon. Nor will I likely be nominated for that TMI award floating around. And if I was, I might just have to let that one pass by. 🙂

  7. Bryan says:

    “I rub on some Jergens Revitalizing Glow Daily Moisturizer, mix a fairly strong Maker’s Mark and ginger ale, flip through back episodes of Jersey Shore, and cry.”

    The exact same thing has been happening to me lately and this is how I deal with it too! Except replace Jergens with Crisco, Maker’s Mark with Crystal Head Vodka and Jersey Shore with re-runs of the Super Friends. The crying stays.

    1. So we’re going through the exact same process! It must be something about spring, writing consistently for a period of time, or acknowledging that as the cocktails get stronger, the writing doesn’t exactly keep pace. I totally respect a man who isn’t afraid to cry, especially if he’s just rubbed himself down with cooking grease. Just curious, does it help?

      1. Bryan says:

        No, but it’s cheaper than Jergens.

  8. Laura says:

    Man, is that ever true about the amount of planning time it takes just to leave town for a week, or a day! I always feel like I’m working double shifts, EARNING my time away by composing the elaborate schedules for kid and dog, house, garden, work, on and on and on! Good luck in Nowhere, SC. Incidentally, I’ll be going to Charleston later this month. I wish you were going there at the same time, I could use a drinking partner. It’s not a trip I’m looking forward to.

    1. Hmmmmmmmm. Sounds like your trip might be material for one of your more introspective posts. Wish I was there too. We usually head to Hilton Head each summer to visit relatives but can’t make it this year. If Chareleston is an annual trip for you, we should try to coordinate next time. Something about cocktails and South Carolina just clicks… =)

      1. Laura says:

        I’ve never been to SC and it won’t be annual, but I have relatives who go to Hilton Head pretty regularly, so if you run into The Thomas Family from Pittsburgh… we’re related!

  9. i mayfly says:

    I saw Jonah Lehrer on Colbert last night. He has a new book: Imagine: How Creativity Works. He mentioned writing blocks and referred to Einstein’s quote that “Creativity is the residue of time wasted” to illustrate his point that research indicates that problem solving breakthroughs often happen when creatives are off-task. So this Farm thing sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

    Further David Dobbs had a great article about the Lehrer book (& research supporting the conclusions) talking about the connection between depressive states of mind (even bipolar) and creativity – “that melancholy can sharpen cognition”.

    Really. How cool is that! Our self-doubt is making us more CREATIVE. Don’t know about you, but I’m buying it!

    1. Love this! I’ve been kicking around the farm and small town USA all day and am shocked by how much I like it…and how easily ideas are flowing. There’s a quote I like, not credited to anyone….”Creativity happens when you can’t get what you want.” I love that one too. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

  10. Sometimes you need a vacation from the vacation!

    Also, are there other things to do in life besides self-tanning, a cocktail, and watching your DVR? What more would a person need?

    1. I agree 100%…well, maybe some cool ranch doritoes, a second cocktail, and milk duds. That’s like, heaven for me.

  11. Thank God, she’s back. I saved all my dirty dishes and toenail clippings for you!

    1. Thanks Cristy….I think?

  12. Clean air and roasted peeps is an excellent cure for writing ailments. 🙂 Have a good time!

    1. I’m a city girl at heart who lives in Colorado and grew up in Kentucky. I forgot how gorgeous everything down south smells in the spring. Loving just walking around soaking it all in. And you’re right…my mind feels like it’s in the right place. Thanks Jed!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Good ol Wayne – now with a farm. Maybe we could hop in the RV and join you. Seems Wayne would have plenty of room to park it.

    1. Is this Susan? If you come and visit in the RV he’ll definitely let you stay on his property, especially if you tell him how handsome he looks in his new overalls.

  14. Simon says:

    the Friday before Easter we had people over to cookout and I picked up a pack of green peeps to use as limes hanging on margarita glasses. I think you would have enjoyed it. I am not sure which is the more sacrilegious name, an Easterita or a Margarisen?

    1. I like the religious festivity of Easterita, so if I drink one every day, does that mean I don’t have to go to church?

  15. bronxboy55 says:

    By the time you read this, you’ll be somewhere in the middle of your getaway. I hope it’s going well, and I look forward to your future posts — whenever they happen. Relax.

    1. Thanks Charles. It’s going well and I’m….relaxed. =)

  16. What is going on lately? I have felt the same way. My brain is about to explode. I am on overdrive and I’m writing too much and most of it is coming out just wrong. Must be spring fever. The weather’s getting warmer and we all just want to be outdoors relaxing. I had to laugh at how much it involved just for you to get away for three days. I hear you! Enjoy yourself and the much-needed break!

    1. Thanks for the support. Getting away and unplugging helped…I hope. You be the judge with the next post. And I have to counter your point about the things you’re writing being wrong…the Reece’s post was my fav.
      =)

  17. Can’t wait to read Part II. And I loved the pack of wild dogs and a squirrel headed man on an electric scooter. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if you really did see that? A hoot.

    1. Not only did I find the guy on the scooter, but an entire CAST of characters I wouldn’t believe could exist if I didn’t meet them in the flesh. Thanks for your continued support…Part II coming this week. =)

  18. sweetmother says:

    chads, (sorry i grew up sporty and that has forever made me a nicknamer with peoples’ last names), anyway, chads, you’ll get your mojo back. the r and r on the farm will do it. i promise you. and thank you for the shoutout and i have missed you. we’re moving and i’ve been going on a lot of job interviews, as such, i’m completely missing the blogs i love…like yours. but, i’ll be checking in regularly now. so, get to writing. xoxoxoxo, sm

    1. I know you’re there Sweet Mother so no worries. Life gets in the way of life sometimes so keep doing your thing. =)

      1. sweetmother says:

        it does, now doesn’t it. so annoying how that goes… anyhoot. so glad you, me, cristy, and le clown are connected. i don’t know why i’m choosing us 4, but i am. xoxoxoox

  19. sundari0804 says:

    you write so well….i mean for a starter like me ….your blog teaches to be more creative before posting any post…..Rgds sundari

    1. Thanks Sundari. Your support means the world. =)

  20. Kanerva says:

    Voodoo math AND a trip to the farm! Can I come too? Pleeeease? Pretty please with sprinkles on top?!

    1. The door of my rented BMW is always open and the view from the passenger seat is super-sweet. =)

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