To Grandmother’s House We Go


A little over a month ago my husband and I were talking about our dreams and aspirations – specifically my desires to write.  He is well aware and very supportive of my dreams and has encouraged me to follow my passions over the course of our marriage.  In our conversation, we explored my current efforts and the time that I have carved out of my week to set aside for writing.  We discussed some of the challenges that I was facing in regards to writer’s block, finding my voice, or the difficulties getting into a state of flow when you only have a limited time set aside or know that you have other pressing duties to attend to.

I made a quick comment that I wish I could escape to a mountain retreat for a few days and simply be by myself to meditate, relax, and write.  He seemed surprised at first, but then quickly realized that he often gets down time away from the family while out on travel for work, but that in the entirety of our existence as parents I have never had time away, by myself.  To clarify, I have had awesome opportunities to go on girls retreat weekends which are amazingly rewarding, but never a time to simply go off by myself and just be.  

Our conversation ended and our day resumed as normal.  My husband headed out to take the dogs on a walk and I started on lunch for the family.

The walk seemed a little longer than usual,  but it was a gorgeous day out, so I didn’t think too much of it.  When he walked through the front doors with the dogs he said that I was going to have my wish and that he had just gotten off of the phone with his mother and coordinated a weekend away for me at their mountain home in North Carolina.  They had the weekend picked out and a plan set.  The kids had a long weekend in May that we would take advantage of.  The plan was to drive from DC to NC, spend the night, and then he would drive with his parents and the kids to GA, where they have a second home and spend the weekend there visiting with his sister and niece as well.  Then, at the end of the weekend they’d return to NC pick me up and we would head back to DC.  This gave me almost 3 whole days to myself in their beautiful home on top of the mountain.


I could not believe that in this little amount of time he had made one of my long standing dreams come true  and without me having to plan it.  I may just have one of the best husbands on the planet.

Last week, the trip transpired.  The family pulled away from the mountain side and headed to GA leaving me in the serene silence  of the mountaintop- just me and my laptop.

I spent three days and two nights by myself living almost primarily off of my inlaw’s garden vegetables and keurig cups, lol.  I wrote for several chunks of time each day, meditated, practiced yoga, gardened, and slept.  It was a well needed recharge.

It was certainly challenging diving into the writing.  I would have liked to have a clearer sense of where I was going with the task, but alas I did not – so no miraculous manuscript transpired over the few days in the mountain, but instead, many lessons.

The first being that I have an incredibly supportive and encouraging husband.  He brilliantly gave me my space while still texting me a “goodmorning” and ending the day with a quick phone call to say goodnight – reminding me that the weekend wasn’t about producing, it was about unplugging, reconnecting, and recharging.  He continually reminded me that he had no expectations of what needed to be achieved there on the mountain other than taking some well needed time for myself – and that should be my only expectation as well.

The second lesson I learned is that the pressure we put on ourselves to produce completely inhibits the creative process.  I had to let go of the idea that anything specific was going to come out of this weekend and simply think of it as a “workshop” of sorts that I was allowing myself to have.  It was unencumbered time that I was able to use practicing the skill of writing – whatever came of it.  There was no deadline or publisher at the other end of the weekend.  This was my first time to sit in silence for consecutive days and just be.

To get my juices flowing I simply sat on the ground with my laptop and wrote about that my current experience.  It helped to have my fingers hitting the keyboard and the words flowing out of my head – despite the banality of the topic.

Thirdly, being in a mountain house all by yourself is very creepy at times – especially at night.  Seriously.  Lot’s of strange noises.

And although there were certainly more take-aways than just these four, the last thing I will share that I learned over the weekend is that to be a writer, you simply need to write.  I allowed myself to write that weekend.  Whether or not the material I wrote will ever see the light of day is another story, but I wrote.  For hours on end, I wrote.  I am a writer.  It is my duty to continue writing and the mighty powers that be will decide what happens next.  

Oh, and I also learned, that no matter how hard I tried – I could not put a dent in my mother in law’s garden!  🙂

Well, before I bid adieu, I am taking a vulnerable moment to put out into the world a little bit of my writing.  As I mentioned above, in order to get the juices flowing I simply started by writing what was in the present.  It is a rough draft, no edits, so don’t be too harsh.  😉  


Here is what I wrote…


“She sat on the floor, laptop in her lap, determined to make something of this weekend.  The house, although quiet was not silent.  Classical music streamed in the background thanks to the new technology of Alexa and an old wind up clock ticked loudly from the fireplace mantel.  
She felt a sense of responsibility and urgency to write.
They had given her this gift.  This time away.  To create.  To produce.  But what was the expectation.  Was there a presumption that she would have a manuscript in hand by the conclusion of the weekend?
In the days leading up to the trip she wracked her brain for ideas and plot lines that she could draft.  From love stories, to mysteries, to self help books, but nothing seemed to spark a true idea.
She had started several books over the years and gotten thousands of words into the process, but the ideas seem to lose steam and lead to nowhere.  Should she be reassessing these attempts and focus on their completion, or start something new?
She felt unsure.  Perhaps if she had any experience in the field of writing she would know where to start. She had never taken a creating writing class or even attended a workshop.  She had recently started reading a book on the creative process of writing, but only got two chapters into it before getting distracted by other projects.  
Was she fooling herself?  What made her think that she could be a writer?  Or that she had anything worthwhile to say that people would want to read?
The incessant ticking of the clock seemed like a callous reminder that her time here was limited and that it may be her only opportunity to write uninterrupted for days at a time.   
She took a long, full sip of her coffee that had already gone cold.  The music playing in the background gave a feel of trepidation that seemed to mock her own fear.  Was she foolish to have asked for this time away?  She would ultimately fail, would she not?
She brushed this thought away.  What a horrible way to think.  
She tried to focus her thoughts on positivity and abundance.  
The myriad of self help books that she had consumed over the years had always expressed that there is room on this planet for greatness from all of us and that we simply needed to overcome our fear and simple start taking action.
She was taking action though, wasn’t she?  She was here.  She had put it out into the universe.  She had screamed it from the rooftops – well, proverbially speaking of course, but people knew.  She had shared this dream with others.  That was a big step.  It was no longer a secret hidden within her.  She had told others she wanted to be a writer and she was here, alone, in this mountainside home, with the sole purpose of writing.  But yet, she had not one thought worth typing onto her computer.  
She took a deep breath and picked up her coffee.  It was bitterly cold now.  She chugged the stale liquid until the mug was empty, moved her laptop off of her lap and stood up.  She had been sitting there for almost an hour already with nothing but a few notes jotted down on her screen.  Her legs felt cramped from the way she was sitting.  She bent forward and stretched the back of her hamstrings.  Her butt was almost numb and she knew the tingling would ensue shortly once the muscles started to awaken.  She picked up her coffee cup and stood back up alternating calf stretches as she walked slowly to the kitchen sink to drop off her mug.  She ran the cold water over the cup and placed it to the side of the sink.
She walked out onto the front deck and took a deep breath.  The site was truly amazing.  There were luscious green, tree covered mountains for as far as she could see.  The depths of the color gave the view so much dimension.  The sun bounced from the leaves making certain patches of trees look almost as if they were glowing.  The sky was a vibrant blue and the clouds looked like puffy white pillows of cotton dancing in the sky.
She sat on the front step of the deck and planted her feet onto the ground.  The deck was warm from the sun and the sensation felt soothing.  She looked around.  It was quiet.  So much more so than in the house.  Here, she realized, she was truly alone.  A smile slowly crept onto her face.
She thought about how supportive her husband had been when she mentioned her desire for a weekend away.  Being a mother was wonderful in so many ways, but the reality was that it was also extremely exhausting and mostly thankless.  They hadn’t really even discussed it as a real possibility, he just seemed to get where she was coming from with her longing for solitude.  After their quick and what she would have described as trivial discussion of her fantasy, he had actually gone off on his own and made this weekend happen for her.  He gave her the precious gift of silence.  
She felt guilty for any feelings of frustration she may have felt towards him in the past.  He truly was a good husband.
God, she was blessed”.

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  • Reply Donna Regan 05/31/2017 at 12:55 pm

    Well I loved it!

    • Reply Jess 05/31/2017 at 12:59 pm

      😉 Thank you! For everything.

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