Let me begin with a confession and an indisputable fact.
Confession: I am bad with technology. I know this is not a startling confession, like admitting that, until I was 14, I slept with the lights on in my room (also true). My point in telling you this is to beg for your patience with me as I sort out exactly how to work this blog and figure out how to read everyone's email addresses, so I can respond promptly to questions and comments, which leads me to my indisputable fact.
Fact: Right now I happen to be in an Internet Cafe in Belfast, Northern Ireland. For those of you who don't know, I am one month into a three and a half month travel writing/self discovery tour of much of Western and Eastern Europe for which I took a semester off from my MFA program and begged my credit card company to up my spending limit. One of my friends from home, Casey Hurley (oft referred to as The Big Cat because he's more or less a giant), quit his job with the Dept of Defense and agreed to accompany me on the journey, in exchange for 'walking around money' and an agreement that I wouldn't 'publicly ruin his chances of getting another job'. We've kept a pseudo-travel blog of our trip and subsequent quest for self-discovery, the likes of which can be found on the blogroll (to the left) if you have any interest in hearing inaccurate biased critiques of major European cities and embarrassing facts about myself, which Case delights in revealing. I also swear, which--when used effectively-- can be awesome.
Anyway, I apologize if you've heard all of that before, but my main point in telling you about the trip is that--from a writing standpoint-- I had very real expectations for this trip that have now changed somewhat significantly.
When I first envisioned this trip, I imagined that it would greatly enhance my magazine journalism career by adding travel writing to my resume. I pretty much thought I'd be writing stories while doing active, extreme things like dog sledding in Finland and base jumping off the Space Needle in Bratislava, Slovakia. But it turns out, they don't even have a space needle. And I would never go base jumping.
So in reality, I've spent much less time working on magazine story ideas (As of this writing, I have one solid story idea, which someone is probably in the midst of pitching right...now) and working on my novel and writing a short story about going on a date with a former reality star in Zurich, Switzerland. Perhaps it's the sheer quantity of contemplative (moody?) people sitting in cafes, or maybe, more realistically, its the fact that I don't speak any other languages and, thusly, am terrified to make eye contact that have propelled me to work on fiction, but either way this reveals an undeniable truth: with writing, you really have no choice but to go where your fickle, slightly overweight Muse takes you. And for whatever reason, my Muse is forcing me to spend an inordinate amount of time sorting out what it'd be like to go on a date with a former reality star. So I guess my point is that while it's good and productive to set goals and have expectations for your writing, you never know what the hell is going to pop into your mind, and you just have to be willing to tell yourself that it's okay to see where that goes. And if that means that you're forced to watch a sh*t ton of the British version of Celebrity Big Brother while eating a family-size package of Kit Kats in the name of research, remember, it's not you. It's your Muse.
ps- thanks everyone for writing in with your support, questions and requests for pantless pics. And if you did pose a question, I'm not ignoring you. I'm not even kind of avoiding you. I'm just incompetent in sorting out people's email addresses with the NOSPAM thing inserted. But I'm learning things very, very quickly and I will be sure and get back to you as soon as possible. I just need to see if this chick gets kicked out of the Big Brother House, because she's being ridiculously unreasonable, plus I think she hooked up with that guy Matt (or maybe Chris) strictly for personal gain:)