How important is staying plugged in?

By Carol / May 2, 2016 /

“Is it plugged in?” That was the first question tech support always asked back when computers were new and I called to find out why the alien on my desk wouldn’t work.

Dutifully, I’d untangle my feet from the writhing morass of cords under my desk and track the computer from the wall outlet to the back of the computer. With embarrassing frequency, the connection was loose. Plugged in securely, the computer returned to life.

Ireland - Plugging into a new source of energy.

Ireland – Plugging into a new source of energy.

Eventually I caught on to that game and checked the connections before I called tech support. When I smugly assured those helpful wizards that my computer was indeed plugged in, they had this head-slapping advice:

“Then unplug it, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back in.”

Following their advice, the computer almost always blinked rapidly and woke to do my bidding. My word. If life were always so simple. Anne Lamott suggests that it may be. She says:

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes .. including you.”

For much of the past many months, I’ve worked diligently to write the first draft of my novel. For most of this time, I’ve been securely plugged in, writing most days and thinking about the characters and story when I wasn’t writing. I have made great progress, though with increasing frequency, my energy lags.

I know it is time to unplug and re-boot. To that end, my sister and I embark this month for a trip to Ireland. We have no Irish ancestry that we know of, but we are both drawn to the green of the Emerald Isle, to the coastal landscapes, to the people and the pubs. The sense of place is important to my writing, and I am fascinated to see the place that has spawned so many great writers and enduring stories.

During most of May, I will be unplugged, literally and figuratively. No computer. Limited wi-fi access. Any writing I do will be old school, using the notebook and pencil in my pocket.

When we return, I expect to plug in, blink rapidly, and spring back to this life, fully charged with the energy and perspectives travel invariably offers.

I look forward to sharing thoughts on my journey – when I return and plug in again. In the meantime, I wish you moments of unplugged luxury, too.

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  1. Janet Givens on May 2, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Bon voyage. In so many ways.
    I look forward to traveling vicariously through you upon your return.

  2. Shirley Hershey Showalter on May 2, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I second Janet’s wish. And I love the fact that you’ll be in Ireland while my friend Gloria and I explore Iona and Lindisfarne, also unplugged.

    “May the road rise up to greet you. . .”

  3. Merril Smith on May 2, 2016 at 11:33 am

    How marvelous for you! It sounds wonderful.
    I agree with Anne Lamott, and I’m sure you will return refreshed. I echo Janet and Shirley, and I also hope to experience your trip vicariously–after you return. (Shirley’s too!) 🙂

  4. Kathleen Pooler on May 2, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Enjoy your trip…and being unplugged, Carol. It sounds very enticing and I am looking forward to hearing about it. IMHO, unplugging every once in a while is a healthy option even if one isn’t traveling abroad!

  5. Sherrey Meyer on May 2, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Wishing you and your sister a beautiful journey to the Emerald Isle and back! If there’s one thing my sojourn with my friend called Pain has taught me, unplugging me is a good thing even for the wrong reason. Seems to me you have the right reasons!

  6. Nan Johnson on May 3, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Beautifully written, Carol. I feel restored just reading your piece.

  7. Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder on May 3, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I have a fascination with those green Isles, but have never yet been there. Have a wonderful trip, and I look forward to hearing all about it when you return! You will be refreshed and invigorated, with a new perspective on life!

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