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?
For three months (Jan-Mar) I enjoyed the gift of life in a bubble; the opportunity to live where I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me.
Life in a bubble afforded me the opportunity to finish my next book—The Business of Being.
On April 20th I turn the manuscript over to my editor for her to knead. Then she’ll return it to me for a final polish, and shortly after that it’ll go to my publisher. We’re looking toward a spring 2018 publication.
On January 10th in the Looking for Laurie post, I provided the latitude (according to Bing) of my sabbatical location, with the promise of providing the longitude (according to Bing) today: -114.173143.
With those coordinates, the first person to type the correct name of the city and state of my sabbatical location into this post’s comments (not previous posts) will receive a signed copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.
Next week’s post will reveal the winner!
Intentional or otherwise, have you ever lived in a bubble?
Note: Today I’m traveling back to Boise and will respond to comments tomorrow.