Wednesday, July 30, 2014


                           A little friend rests on my legs while I think about what to write next ...

We set sail on the MV Explorer from Southampton, England, on August 23rd. However, I'm leaving the USA on August 8th (that's nine days away!) for a two-week trip to visit family in Israel. From there to England, & then the ship. We return from the Semester at Sea voyage on December 8th, sailing to Port Everglades, Florida. August 8th - December 8th. A long time to be away from home.

July has been a month of Pre's:

1. PRE-paring ... for a four-month voyage. Mentally & emotionally preparing to be a traveler-- ready to meet new people & shift perspective, see the world from different angles, taste new foods, listen to voices speaking other languages, watch the sun rise & set over the ocean, & open oneself to new experiences. I try to be a traveler in my daily life, but sometimes it's a challenge.

Packing is another story, one I haven't tackled yet. Can I manage four months with a single suitcase? I know I'll be happier if I travel light, but ... I want my comfort clothes (my writing hoodie & sweats, etc), & I must pack fancy stuff for the Captain's Dinner & a wedding, & then there are my "things"-- non-clothing items from books to cosmetics. They'll easily fill half the case.

I'll tackle the suitcase(s) this weekend.

2. PRE-writing ... a new novel. Time presses on me from all sides, & all I want to do is plunge into the deep & just write, but for some reason I can't rush this one.

I'm thrashing through a jungle when I discover an ancient palace that bears the same inscription as the modern temple I left behind. How can that be? I lean closer to examine when I hear a sound.

Footsteps outside the clearing. Approaching.

Someone followed me, & oh God, it's not who I thought it would be-- it's -- well, this opens a new door to the story, & now I need to work on this angle.

More planning & plotting, researching, exploring options, contacting experts, reading & taking notes. Slowly, the world & its people are taking shape around me. I'm not trying to be cryptic here, but it's too raw & wild, too much in my imagination, to share. Yet.

But I'm bursting to write & forcing myself to hold back. Soon, I promise myself. I need to make sure the ground beneath my feet is solid because man, I can already tell -- this is going to be one hell of a journey.

3. PRE-tending ... my garden & my mind. Thanks to my friend & writing colleague, Virginia, for that term. Pretending is something I do very well, & if you're reading this blog, I'm sure you do, too. We know how to pretend a world into existence, but this magnificent ability to pretend involves pre-tending, too.  I am watering my plants, savoring my garden & the calm of "before." It's not an empty time at all, not simply a waiting. It's another part of life, a "now" that feeds the soul & heart.

So that's where I am now. Getting ready for take off. In a new story. On the sea.

But that's tomorrow. When I'll bring out the suitcase.

Today ... is here now, me & this little dog watching each other at this exact moment. Pre-(I mean, Per--) fect ....


Alexandra said...

Sounds like a powerful book in the making, Ruth. May you get lots of time to work on it on the voyage. But be sure to take enough party clothes, too!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with both of your journeys...ship and new novel! Can't wait to hear more. JK