Dear friends, followers and innocent passers-by:
You may have noticed an increase of unusual activity on this writer’s public pages.  I can explain.

I am in the midst of a self-inflicted vacation. The past 18 months of my life have been crammed with action, adventure, fantastic but demanding work, staggering personal change, joy, grief and adaptation. During this time I made some tough decisions and soared, took risks and failed, and chased dreams that have yet to be realized…while somehow simultaneously and often unintentionally embracing or rejecting just about everything you can imagine including my identity, marriage, love family, friends, math, work, sleep and higher beings, and not necessarily in that order. After such prolonged excitement I needed to stop and catch my breath. 

Believe me, this was not an idea that I embraced at first. I’ve rather gotten used to going gangbusters in every aspect of my life, so I took to the idea of relaxation with a mixture of anxiety and reluctance.  But t once I got past the feelings of you-know-you’re-a-mother-when guilt and a few startling moments when I woke up feeling certain that I’d slept through something important (then realized the alarm wasn’t set on purpose), I eventually decided that I either had to embrace the idea of time off or give up on it altogether and go back to work.
I chose the former. I’m glad that I did. I’ve had time to spend with my family and friends, to exercise, clean a few closets, and organize some shelves, take baths and read. I hadn’t realized how much I missed being able to sit down somewhere quiet and catch up on my favorite authors, books and magazines. And I hadn’t realized how much I needed to re-read a few chapters of my own life, which time seems to have written while I was busy making other plans.  
There’s nothing that I love more than a good story, and I may have roped a few of you into reading or listening to one or two of them. Perhaps that’s because I been a writer and a storyteller for as long as I can remember.

My love of writing (and its side-effect of reading) was inspired during childhood by my great uncle Charles Fern – a terrific writer and successful businessman who decided shortly after I was born that I was going to be his pen pal. It was a role that I happily started fulfilling as a toddler, with the help of a talented staff of trained readers that I affectionately referred to as parents and siblings.

I got much better at the Uncle Charlie correspondence job once I figured out how to manipulate crayons and other assorted writing instruments with which to respond to his letters. Those early experiences turned into a writing hobby, then became a storytelling habit, then a journalism degree, and then a communications career.

In my first career-life I was a journalist, and that’s when I learned that what I loved doing most of all was writing columns. If you ask me, there’s no better place for a writer to tell stories than in a newspaper column. I missed that after I left the news business and started writing for other people.

I never really had the time to write like that again. But something happened in my fourth or fifth career-life. I discovered social media and a remarkable new word-crunching, microblogging mechanism called Twitter. Turns out that Twitter is a dandy solution for a storyteller who doesn’t have time to write her own stories or read anyone else’s either, for that matter.
But I’ve got the time now, actually (see title, above). In fact, I’ve got time to spend five minutes going back and forth about whether I should write “time” or “time off,” and in Real World Writer Time (RWWT), spending five minutes for three words is technically classified as either a condition of leisure luxury or a case of writer’s block. Seeing as I am presently a vacationly woman and will be for the next 10 days, it’s clear that I suffer from the former condition. 
Once I dispensed with the first few days teeth-gnashing, which is an early symptom of self-inflicted vacation-positive (or SIV+) writers, I settled down to do some honest to goodness mindless wandering, absorption and reflection.  The in-pouring of various creative and intellectual stimuli led to a buildup of writer-type energy, which, either as a result or a consequence, has expressed itself in the outpouring of communicatable stuff. And everybody needs a place to outpour — or at least blow off a little creative steam.
Twitter just so happens to be a nifty little safety-relief valve, especially for the clumsily contained stockpiles of unsorted mayhem that only a communicator can generate and amass. Microblogging has allowed me to release years worth of pent-up energy and imagination and finally do something with all those misfit words, left-over lines and ideas that never seemed to fit anywhere else. 
Knowingly or not, we all need our sacred spaces, and they can be in public or private places — churches, parks, concert halls, the bathtub, a comfy chair near a bookcase, or the pages of a personal journal.  I have many, including this blog and Twitter. 
I created a personal Twitter account so my own writing would have a place to live and breathe. It’s a playground for characters and stories – some true, some pure fiction. It’s a laboratory for my experiments with words and a proving ground for ideas or lines that I might use somewhere else.  A lot of people I know and love have joined me there, and some other really awesome people I’ve never met have visited me there, too. I’ve scared a few others away as well, but that’s never bothered me. People should enjoy the places where they spend time. And they should love the people they choose to spend time with.
Writers are odd creatures, and it hasn’t taken me long to prove that point to readers and innocent passers-by, whom I’ve half-wittingly exposed to my vacation-positive communicable stuff both here and on Twitter. And it is this very situation that led me to writing this post.

This self-inflicted vacation is as much about relaxing and having fun as it is about taking important time to think about my life and many of the people who are in it, or who might read about it. Sorry about those odd bits, by the way.  I should have warned you sooner.

I don’t really need any vacation time to realize how lucky I am on both counts, but I did want and need to take the time to tell you so. I am lucky. I am really, really, lucky.

I have a great life. It’s been undeniably stressful and overwhelming at times, but I really do believe I wouldn’t change a thing, because I wouldn’t be who I am now if I lacked even a single moment of what it was. And what I am, apparently (although the jury is still out and some of them have quit on principle), is a dang-good and determined woman who’s not half-bad at her worst. I believe I’m starting to see some signs of improvement, too.
I also have great people in my life. I’m not going to dress that statement up in any sort of garden-glovey, summer-hatty vacation language, because it is what it is, and you are who you are, and frankly if I think or write about you too much I’m likely to cry, which would only make a mess of my keyboard. But you are all sacred to me. And I’m so damn grateful that you’ve allowed me to share my ideas and words…. and time with you. Thank you.
If you love to read, come back here once and a while. And if you love to write, regardless of what you think about your writing, promise me that you will never, ever stop doing it.