By Chuck Woodbury
I have been alone now for two weeks with two weeks to go. My significant other, Gail, has flown to Seattle to ski in the Cascades with her son and small grandchildren. I have remained in Quartzsite, Arizona, in a quiet RV park where I pay $12 a day for full hookups and an unlimited supply of dust, and jack rabbits passing by.
For whatever reasons I love the place. I love the warm, sunny days (in the winter season) — my front door wide open all day long, and sometimes sitting outside under my awning, typing stories, my little dog-friend Archie by my side, who keeps an eye open for the rabbits, which he dreams of catching.
When I am left alone 24/7 I never stop writing for long, even when I am not actually sitting at my computer. I wake up in the middle of the night and realize I have just written a story in my head from start to finish while in some sort of semi-consciousness. I am usually too sleepy to get up and write it down. By morning I have forgotten it. Many times, if I do remember, I realize it was harebrained, anyway. My best ideas come to me in my sleep or in the shower. For the record, one-third of my story ideas are good, two-thirds are stupid.
I’ve been publishing the RV Travel Newsletter now for nearly 20 years. Every week, about Wednesday I start thinking about what to write in my opening essay. Every week! The chore is now hard-wired in my brain. Most weeks the problem is not what to write about, but what NOT to write about. I always have more than one idea, usually three, four or more. I am forced to choose one.
In a typical day I write a dozen headlines in my head. I want to write the stories that go with them, but I can’t because my brain would explode, and there’s no time anyway. Days fly by, twice as fast as even 10 years ago. My brain may be old, and more forgetful all the time, but it is like fine wine, aged to perfection when it comes to generating ideas for articles and essays. I just don’t have time to write them.
This is what happens to me when I am left alone, day after day. I turn into a word machine with no off switch.
We are quickly closing in on the 1,000th issue of this newsletter. I never, when I started in 2001, could have imagined I would still be doing it 20 years later. But here I am — a once-middle-aged guy who has traveled warp-speed through time into Geezerhood.
I wish I had more patience so I could write a book with the half million words in my head trying to get out. But, then, maybe I already have if I put all my stories together. If you’re an excellent writer and want to collaborate on a book or two or three, contact me. We’ll meet up somewhere and I’ll tell you everything I know for two straight weeks. We’ll drink massive amounts of coffee and I’ll unleash a lifetime of RV knowledge your way. You just have to make sense of it on paper. We’ll split the profits.