Thursday, May 07, 2009

If You Like Pina Coladas.....

I know, the song is shudderingly bad, but it will forever associate the image of a pina colada with "escape." You don't drink pina coladas unless you have a reason, perferably its because you are on vacation or maybe you are out on the town with friends. Wherever you are, the frozen beverage is something different, a symbol of fleeing the pressures of your everyday life. An escape with a slice of pineapple and a tiny paper umbrella.

Writing provides the same outlet for me. I started writing when I was twelve. My mother was on a mission to find the perfect rattan furniture for her family room. It was 1980, rattan was big. Give me a moment to wince in memory. Anyway, we traipsed all over the Southland in my folks' king cab Datsun truck with me squeezed into the jumpseats in the back. When I read in the car I get car sick. But not when I write. So I started writing short stories, mainly to amuse myself. The stories grew bigger with more detail, carrying me away from the reality of pre-teen existence. The writing wasn't much to speak of, but it took me to another world, one without freeways and industrial complexes filled with bamboo furniture with earth-toned upholstery in tropical prints.

I continued to escape into writing while I was in high school to escape all of the misery and horror that those years supply. I spent most of Spanish class writing and my friend and I would write when we got home. I was reading a lot too. This was the golden years of romance when males were alpha and heroines' bosoms heaved. Heavens, I miss those books. Those were total escape but the writing helped. Writing is proactive and draws me in deeper than reading does.

I quit writing in college. Heck, why would I want to escape from college life? In fact, I quit writing again until I had kids because in fact, my early 20's provided the life I wanted. I had no need to escape. However, those were pretty shallow years and not particularly fulfilling (yeah, right).

I got seriously back into writing about nine years ago. At the time, I had a pre-schooler and an infant. I was working full time and trying to balance it all. And while pina coladas are a great escape, they leave a helluva hangover. I plunged back into writing. Again, that first book was dreadful, but oh, the joy of losing myself in another world, a world of my own creation.

This has been a difficult week. Not horrible but one where I've been stretched pretty thin. My time and attention has been claimed by so many other things, I've been run ragged. Certainly a pina colada would be nice, it really is a temporary fix. Plus they give me brain freeze. What I truly want to do is escape into the world of my book. I want to lose myself in the lives of the characters I've created. I want to feel all of my senses engaged on a platform of my choosing.

It's more important than ever for me to find the pleasure of writing. I have to much invested in it as a writer with regards to trying to get published. Its very easy to lose sight of the escape. I find it too easy to focus on the difficulties of the business part of writing and not enjoy the elation of creating my stories. So when those dark thoughts invade, the doubts and despair, the Pina Colada song pops in my head. I sit down at my laptop and I plan my escape.

Does writing provide you with an escape or would you rather just get lost in a pina colada?

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