Although I think a certain amount of minutia and struggle can be healthy, I’m trying to find ways of keeping the Spirit of Vacation alive, beyond wearing my new necklaces made of bright-colored beans. Because the Spirit of Vacation is also the Spirit of Inspiration, one I’m always trying to tap. Here are my tips for you, or not for you, because these things are highly individual by nature.
Nevertheless, I possibly highly encourage you to:
- See Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It takes place in a world in which people bicycle through cobblestone streets on their way to pick blackberries. Then they go home and paint on giant canvases and have threesomes. Yet somehow it all feels grounded and even profound. It is the rare move that is joyous and funny but full of good life advice: Its title characters are proof that in order to be happy, you can’t rely entirely on planning (Vicky) or reacting (Cristina).
- Realize that you won’t, in fact, die if a pair of jeans gets left on the floor longer than five minutes. AK asked me to stop picking up after her with the vigor of that little robot in Wall-E who follows the other robots around with a scrub brush, wiping up footprints as fast as they’re produced. I realized that I’ve been cleaning like a madwoman since we moved in together and that on some level I felt like I was getting away with something (She doesn’t mind that I’m always rearranging her stuff? I guess I’ll keep rearranging her stuff!), and that, like a little kid who secretly craves boundaries, I was relieved when I was finally called on it. I’d been following all the rules that my OCD brain had laid out for me (the DVD player must be aligned with the edge of the TV), and I just needed a new, less neurosis-enabling rule to follow (no putting away AK’s books while she’s still reading them). It was scary to realize how much tension my particular brand of crazy had been causing me, but this newfound lack of tightness behind my shoulders is heavenly.
- Start a new novel. Technically, I have three books in progress if you count the picture book and the novel that is awaiting some final edits. Starting something new seems greedy and unwise. But this morning I did it—just some early, freewheeling prewriting, which might be the most fun part because the stakes at this point are deliciously low—and it felt great.
- Smoke your first cigarette ever. Do it in the back yard of the Hollywood Hills home where your friend—a new smoker herself and one of the most consistently inspiring, whimsically angling people you know—is house-sitting. The place where you saw your first urban coyotes a long time ago. Marvel that you are not going to get in trouble because you are 31 years old and it’s even okay to drive after smoking. Feel sophisticated and ridiculous at the same time. Then smoke your second cigarette ever—this one minty—and wonder why they don’t come in all sorts of flavors, especially cinnamon. Note how much you enjoy this, how much it appeals to your aforementioned OCD and promise yourself not to do it again for at least six months. Watch a green-and-yellow, free-range parakeet land on the lawn, and then a swallowtail butterfly.