I was sitting out on the terrace this afternoon writing and someone in the valley lit a large fire. Australians tend to panic at the first whiff of smoke, but we’ve learned here that at this time of year the Luberon burns off its prunings. Every afternoon smoke pixelated the mountains and today it was staging a grand finale for us.
I’m not ready to leave yet.
But that’s the thing about dreams. They’re not real, and you eventually have to go back to reality. But the best thing about dreams is that they teach us something fundamental about what we want from life, and about who we are.
Living a dream is a journey.
There’s the physical journey of travelling into the world. It often involves going to unfamiliar places and doing and experiencing things we can’t or never think to do at home. This journey is what we usually think about when we think about travel.
The best travel involves a journey inside ourselves. These are often lived with greater intensity, like the excited state we inhabited as children where everything was a wonder. When the experiences move us or touch us in some deeper way, we often learn new things about ourselves, and this can change the way we view the world.
My time in Menerbes has been such a journey for me. But the questions I’ve been asking myself in the last few days have been, what have I learned, and what can I take from it back to my reality?
Firstly, these few weeks have consolidated things I knew about writing but didn’t completely trust.
1. Writing every day, regardless of what you write, improves your fluency and makes it much easier to express yourself on paper.
2. The time to dream and do nothing is crucial to writing. This is how you get under the surface of the things that interest you.
3. The loose pyjama approach takes away all the anxiety about writing and ‘producing’ something. It fosters a calm place from which to write and the results are often surprising and exciting.
What have I learned about myself?
I’ve learned that time away from the demands and commitments of home is essential for my growth as a writer. There will always be something or someone that will take precedence over my writing. The people I love will always come first.
So I’ve learned while I’ve been here that sometimes it’s necessary to take the power away from myself and live, just for a while, in a dream that is just for me. And, more importantly, that doing it is okay.
My project of blogging every day while I’ve been living my dream in Menerbes has come to an end.
Thank you very much to the people who have been following my adventures, and a special thank you to those who have commented, whether on the blog or privately. You have inspired me to keep writing.
I’ll be back next week from Paris! Hope you’ll join me there!
The photo of the valley is absolutely stunning!
Thanks so much for your comment, Becky. I’ve been trying to teach myself how to take photos of the rays of the sun and was so excited with this one.
Great notion that wearing loose pjs helps to put things in perspective! I think it’s very true. Thank you for sharing your journey, both internal and external.
HI Anne. Writing that is like wearing loose pyjamas certainly does put things into perspective. Thank you so much for sharing the journey with me.
It was wonderful to have a glimpse into your creative life there. Now I am looking forward to seeing your writing when you are back in the familiar environment. By the way, I loved the photo of the Parisian cat!
Thanks for reading and your comments, Anne. They’re much appreciated. Isn’t that cat wonderful! He just wandered in and jumped up on the chair as if he was a customer wanting to order. And with a tie!
I wonder what he ordered…..
Oh no, Karen! I thought we had another day to go before we left Menerbes. Without your blog to look forward to first thing every morning, my day’s going to start out a little emptier. Perhaps I’ll have to pick up where I left off yonks ago on my own blog? Now that’s a challenge to get my teeth into. Our writers’ group did a free writing exercise last night; I remarked how more fluently the words flowed for me … because I’d been writing daily for weeks on a short story project. Another confirmation of Point 1 in your post. Safe travels home.
Unfortunately, we have to leave this morning, Di. We’re very sad too. It was a pleasure to see your comments first thing every morning. It was a lovely connection out into the world. I really appreciate them.
It’s a great idea for you to do a little blog project! It will give you even more daily writing practice. I agree, it’s crucial. Can’t wait to read your short story project.
So sad to hear you’re leaving your dream world, but your dream world is also part of your reality now. I love your three points about writing and I’m also pondering on the parallels between your physical goal/journey and your character arc/transformation. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. I look forward to the rest of your holiday. I’m definitely freeloading!
You’re very welcome to freeload, Maree! It was sad to leave and you’re right that parts of that dream world are going with me. I think a character’s physical journey and their transformation are inseparable. Your understanding of that is why I think your stories work so well.
Thanks for this post. I enjoyed it! And yes and yes and yes to your three points on writing. Totally agree.
Thanks so much for your comment, Amy.