During my sabbatical (January through March of this year) Willa enjoyed the best of both worlds spending time in Boise, Idaho with Len, and then he’d bring her to me in Darby, Montana. She adored the wilds of Montana for a couple of reasons:
- The two resident cats where we stayed—Marlo and Avocado.
- The zillions of up-close-and-personal mule deer. Willa always stayed statue-still and simply enjoyed watching them.
Willa watching the Nature Channel—deer outside the window
And then there was the day that a doe hopped the six-foot wooden fence into the back yard and couldn’t get back out. That was definitely an oh deer moment. I made like Harry Potter and put on my invisibility cloak, snuck outside and opened the gate, then snuck back in and watched through the window. Sure enough, the moment she saw the way to freedom she made like a bread truck and hauled her buns!
Literal or figurative, what was your last “oh deer” moment?
While on sabbatical in Darby, Montana to complete The Business of Being, I wrote like a fiend during the day, and read until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer at night.
During a walk with Willa near the river, we happened upon a skeleton—most likely that of a mule deer. It immediately brought to mind Natalie Goldberg’s book “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.”
In her book, Goldberg addresses the importance of reading. Writers read for the sheer joy of it, but also to ignite our imaginations. We read to gain insight on storytelling; to ponder concepts, ideas, and issues outside our sphere of knowledge; to learn new approaches and techniques for narration, plots, and scenes—each necessary for “writing down the bones.”
Goldberg said, “Writing practice is no different from other forms of Zen practice.” I would add that—for me, at least—reading is the same. It’s a practice; one I adhere to daily.
What book are you currently reading?
While in Darby, Montana to finish writing The Business of Being, I passed this Lost Horse sign on my weekly drive to Hamilton to buy groceries. The mischievous side of me was desperate to strike through the word “
lost” with a black marker and write “found” instead. I’m happy to report that the better part of me won out.
And though I didn’t lose a horse while on sabbatical, I lost some preconceived ideas and found better ones to take their place. For instance:
All males in Montana are not fashioned after the Marlboro man.
Not every public place in Montana has a spittoon.
There’s an incredible French bistro—Taste of Paris—in Hamilton, Montana. Who knew?!
The libraries in Montana (I visited four different ones) are amazing!
While there I learned that “creek” is pronounced “crick.”
On the Montana Fun Facts and Trivia website I additionally learned that “the word ‘ditch’ can be used to order a drink. It means ‘with water.’ ‘I’d like a Jack Daniel’s ditch, please’ means, ‘I’d like a Jack Daniel’s and water.’ This is not a joke. In fact, all you really have to ask for is a ‘Jack ditch.’ Try it out the next time you find yourself in a Montana saloon.”
What have you lost and found lately?
And while invention and discovery are two different things—invention means to create or design something; discovery means to find or observe something that was already there—both of these occurrences can experience breakthroughs. Here are just a few examples:
- Scientific breakthroughs
- Architectural breakthroughs
- Medical breakthroughs
- Technological breakthroughs
- Archeological breakthroughs
Bandit Brewing Co. is a nano-brewery and the smallest brewery in Montana with a quaint tasting room in Darby, just off of Highway 93, and within walking distance of where I stayed.
When I was on sabbatical in Darby, I experienced an artistic breakthrough. I wrote to beat the band! I assure you, however, that the discovery of Bandit Brewing Co. and my writing breakthrough are not linked.
What was your most recent breakthrough?
In this technology-intense era, we can send an email around the globe in a nanosecond with the mere push of a button.
I don’t receive handwritten letters often, so when I do, they’re extra special. During my sabbatical, I received physical correspondence from a few people. One package winged its way across the pond from Wales!
People sent mail to my Boise address and then Len brought it to me when he visited Darby. It was so much fun!
When was the last time you sent or received a handwritten letter?
During my three month sabbatical (Jan-Mar) to finish writing The Business of Being, my schedule was simple:
- WRITE during the day
- READ in the evening
Some of the books I read were serious; others were laugh-out-loud funny!
When I finish reading a book, if I can give it three or more stars, I write a brief review/recommendation and post it on Goodreads and Amazon. These are the books I read and enjoyed during my sabbatical:
Some people hesitate to write book reviews because they feel they have to be long and involved, but many of the best reviews are short. Here’s one of my favorites:
Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth is “as good for you as kale, but reads like chocolate—smooth, rich, and fun.” —Leanne Dyck
When you enjoy a book, do you typically write a brief review/recommendation?
The first person to type the accurate location of my sabbatical — Darby, Montana — into the comments section of March 28th post was bodojanbo. Congratulations! She has won a signed copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth.
Wintering in Darby, Montana was a great experience. Not only was it breathtakingly gorgeous, it was productive. I completed what I set out to do—finish The Business of Being: Soul Purpose In and Out of the Workplace.
Often mistaken for an extrovert, I’m an introvert who functions as an extrovert. So this opportunity—three months of solitude—was like a decadent slice (or three) of crème brûlée.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?