During the LA Carmageddon weekend, when the 405 was closed from the 101 to the 10, I spent the weekend with friends at Lake Nacimiento.
Here’s my friend, whose house we stayed at, wake surfing. I didn’t attempt to wakeboard or wake surf, but I did ride – and drive! – the wave runner.
The amazing thing I discovered during the weekend was that it is possible to have a social life and write at the same time. Also, when people realize how committed you are, they’ll get behind you. In middle and high school, being smart wasn’t always a good thing. I got made fun of a lot. I did wonder, as I packed my laptop, if I’d get heckled for bringing it. But I was among mostly medical students. If anyone knows what it’s like to work hard, and to get picked on for being smart, they do. And as luck would have it, one of the med students’ boyfriends happened to be a screenwriter. “Hey,” he said as I typed away one morning before breakfast, “You’re making me look bad.” A compliment.
Being a writer is different from being a doctor in so many ways. Often my friends have described the way they have to disassociate. Most doctors don’t talk about work. What happens in the hospital stays there. When they do, the way they talk about death gives me chills – so nonchalant it seems almost lackadaisical. But they have to, when they deal with it the way they do. Writers are on the opposite end of the spectrum: rather than detaching, we are always thinking about how things link, about how something could be turned into a story. We are always working.
And I was proud of myself for keeping to my schedule even while on vacation. While others woke early for a spin on the boat or nursed hangovers, I worked on my novel.
I first heard about Lake Nacimiento through a friend and fellow writer – a member of my LA writers’ group, in fact. He happens to have a friend with a lake house, as well. My thought: writer’s retreat?