A scribbled travelogue
Written on Saturday morning in Victoria:
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Me, in shorts, sitting crosslegged in front of a locked hotel lobby in British Columbia. Such is the joy of getting up early to write and then discovering the joys of a) your spouse having the only room key, which you discovered (too late) that you needed to have to get back inside the hotel and b) that your travelling companions are still asleep and have the only key that will unlock the rental car.
We are in a satellite building of the hotel. Thwarted in my quest to get my favorite pen and scribbling notebook, I wandered down to the main lobby, attempted to explain my predicament, and for my trouble / confused look / riddance I was given four pieces of plain white paper and the kind of pen I hate. I am currently sitting outside the satellite building's lobby, where I will wait until some kindly soul decides he needs to come back inside. At that point, I'll inobtrusively rise and catch the door before it locks again…
…which I have just now done. Ah, much better.
I am still more than a little in love with Victoria, and, like last year, I am still more than a little at odds to figure out why. She is quaint, a little archaic, blatantly touristy, blaring her stunning gardens for visitors to gawk at. Less than a day after my arrival I found myself already saying, "I can see why Brad can't imagine living anywhere else."
How can one not be affectionate toward a cityscape that slyly shows her ankles beneath her skirts, slipping you glances of the harbour, blue and shining, between the grey stone and metal of the buildings of downtown?
I know I'm enjoying myself, in my own strange way. I have not thought about the cats, my house, or my hometown since yesterday morning. It is a mixed blessing. The removal of the weight of the everyday is a pleasure to behold. It is a pleasure filled with foreboding, for I know that the weights that are my daily life have not been eradicated, only momentarily dropped. They will return, and the knowledge that my carefree gaiety will vanish as suddenly as it came tinges even the serenest of relaxation with shades of sorrow and regret.
Would that I could sign my name to this sheet of typing paper, lay down my pen, and go. Where, I don't know, exactly. Turn off my cell phone and throw it in the soil of the potted plant to my right, straighten my shirt, pull down my cap, and walk.
Walk, anonymously, perhaps to the harbour. Find a vantage point with good light, the tang of marine life, and a view of the ships coming in—and sit so quietly and so still that someday a plaque to the unknown statue-girl would be placed by my crossed feet.
Later, when I had time to think through it all and understand everything, I would shake off the stone of contemplation, to the amazement of the tourists posing with their cameras, and simply walk away.
Today is not that day, no matter how much I might attempt to fantasize it into being.
Today is the second full day in Victoria, and it may be my only chance to take some time to myself and write. We'll go see the telescopes and eat dim sum with Brad and Alice today. We will walk, and I will ignore the fact that my quadriceps ache constantly. (Why? One, because I was a silly woman and danced until past midnight, and two, things like muscle aches shouldn't be discussed while everyone's away from home. No need to worry them now—they can chew on me when I post this later.)
Ahhh—someone is holding the lobby door open. With it comes an onrush of outside air, seemingly scrubbed clean and left wet and shining by the expanse of water that surrounds this island.
As always, Monday will come too soon.
I've been mulling over the words of my seatmate on my Memphis-Seattle flight. "If the words are telling you that they want to come out, you must find the bravery to let them."
She, probably in her fifties, having finally taken the leap and finished her first book. How I must look to her. Twenty-four, young, married, and with seemingly no cares. Yet I confess to her that I have a storyline, a plot, a narrative hanging tenaciously to my mind, despite my attempts to let it go. It simply will not leave me, and I can't find the courage to start. She minced no words at her amazement: "It will never be easier for you than it is now. Why not allow the words to come?"
A paraphrase: you might fail, yes, but what is the failure? You are going to write, whether or not you receive payment for it. Don't worry about the failure—worry about the satisfaction you'll receive in doing what your creativity dictates you must.
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With that, Andy, Heather, and Jeff appeared from the elevator, and my day began. Or continued, depending on how you look at it.