Balcony Seats to an Exclusive Performance

Maybe the happiest I ever am during summer is not an isolated event. It’s more a genre of moment: The location can vary. Maybe it’s a bed and breakfast, maybe on the balcony at our family’s Lake Coeur d’Alene cabin. Maybe it’s while camping.

I’m always on some form of vacation. It’s always morning. The air always has a slight crispness to it. Sometimes there’s fog rolling over the lake or hummingbirds chirping at the feeders. I always have a cup of coffee in my hand — it doesn’t have to be good coffee; any brew will do. And the final ingredient is a laptop or a book. It doesn’t even have to be a bad book. In fact, this sort of environment is the one place I can actually immerse myself in literature.

I love reading, of course. But as an adult, reading is like seeing the Milky Way. I can’t do it if I’m too connected to civilization. There are too many other options: Video games, movies, TV, Twitter feeds all beckon constantly, pulling me away from the pleasure of books. Boredom — the kind of boredom that drives discovery, that drives creation, has been chased away by the infinite stream of entertainment at our fingertips.

So that’s the last ingredient: no internet. Either the setting doesn’t have it, or the setting is so serene I choose not to use it.

I woke up early at a Mount Rainier campground last year, lugged my Inlander-branded camping chair to the nearby riverbank, plopped open my laptop and wrote for two hours. For once, it wasn’t a piece related to work. It was a personal essay, the kind of piece that can take months, even years, to finish because I can only make progress in perfect settings like these.

It’s the same way with my even more absurd personal project, 2020: The Musical, my Hamilton-but-with-Pence-and-Fauci fan-fiction of a musical-theater epic. To be clear, there is no music or talent involved, in any sense of either word. No, it won’t be performed, even in a semi-amateur fashion — because, like the coffee, it’s not really any good. Being good isn’t the point. It’s the ritual. The joy of absorbing creation and the joy of creating creation.

Article Source: Inlander