I realize that most people, when they think of Washington, DC, probably wrinkle their nose, or at least scrunch some fold in the memory area of their brain.
Granted, we all can’t be consistently happy with what does, or doesn’t get handled by the U.S. Government in Wash DC, but if you’ve ever read any history, you’ll know that the people have never been–nor do I believe will they ever be–really happy with their governments–U.S. or not.
But in Washington DC there are wonderful museums and monuments and libraries and things that serve as testaments to the fact that in spite of such statements, we’ve come a good piece and we do continue on, and I cannot wait to take it all in.
This weekend I leave on a muchly-desired guided bus tour vacation headed for such sites. And before the 9-day tour concludes, I will also get to walk the ground at Gettysburg and visit the crash site of all those courageous souls of Flight 93 during the time of 911.
Of course when one is going to be gone there is preparation work to do. Deadline writing had to be turned in, interviews in place for right after I return, yard work/house stuff/errands/arrangements, you name it.
By the time we are done preparing to go on vacation, we r-e-a-l-l-y do need it!
Notice that dang exclamation mark?
Wellllll . . . there’s my real rub today.
It occurred to me—while on my most favorite-ist bike trail the other night—that as of late I seem to be living with a constant exclamation point chasing me.
Exclamation point: n. A punctuation mark (!) used after an exclamation or interjection of sudden, forceful utterance.
Maybe that’s not so good—at least not as much as I appear to do it.
I have high hopes for this bussed vacation. Someone asked me (and they were wrinkling their nose, by the way) why I didn’t just fly out to the sites I wanted to see instead of “taking a bus?” (much wrinkling by now)
Because if I have to deal with air travel and all that that has declined to, I’ll have even more exclamation points chasing me!!
Do Not Want That.
I won’t have to deal with searching for directions, or places to park, or places to stay, or obtaining tour tickets or finding guides, or any of that.
I get to sit back and anticipate the next item on the itinerary. (I had to resist the urge to use an exclamation mark here—twice.)
An old-fashioned lined journal and a notebook will go on the bus with me. The notebook has a picture of famous pirate Jack Sparrow, aka Johnny Depp on the cover. Another traveling buddy of mine gave it to me the summer we took off for a girlfriends’ travel week. And pens. I’ll take pens. The laptop is going, of course, for use at night in my hotel room only.
I get to sit and stare out the windows while someone else does all of the driving and have interesting – if not unique – conversations with people I’ve never met, and journal freehand—just because I can.
In the world of writing, the exclamation point should be treated like it is a fine rare wine. Drink very little—or none at all.
When I receive a piece of communication that is filled with exclamation points I feel like I’m being shouted at. I don’t like being shouted at. I’m going to guess you don’t either—so why do it?
I said I felt like I’m always being chased by an exclamation point?
When I made my list of to-do’s for this week in planning out what all I have to get done, I promised myself I would not put one exclamation point behind anything on my daily clip boarded task list that I keep on our kitchen island.
I have been making daily plans lists on a kitchen counter ever since my high school days, but it’s in these last several years – and it is interesting to note that since I took on my freelancing writing life—that that screaming exclamation point has pushed its way into my life so consistently.
This is not a rant against freelance writing. It is a rant against the way I’ve responded.
Would you believe I had to think consciously to not tag any exclamation points onto this week’s tasks as I wrote: fertilize and water everything, water the church flowers, pay all bills, get Derek’s birthday gift, use up those bananas, finish those last two articles and submit, try to transcribe one more interview, look for a new gold chain, get Lexi’s new food . . .
I am so looking forward to my trip where I won’t be shouting at myself about anything.
My hope is that when I return home, I’ll remember how to continue avoiding too much shouting.
Could your life and your writing use less shouting, too?