I’d wager that there isn’t a writer alive who hasn’t fantasized about going away to a seaside cottage or cabin in the woods or 4 star hotel or—I don’t know—an aunt’s attic for a few weeks. Just someplace safe, quiet, and –WITHOUT INTERRUPTIONS!!! I used to be convinced that if people would just leave me alone long enough, I could produce, at the very least, something saleable.

Since that seaside cottage never materialized, and since I had kids and a husband who needed me, and friends and extended family who inexplicably wanted me in their life—I avoided the act of writing for a long time. Then one day, I read something that made my jaw drop. I can’t remember who wrote it, can’t remember where I read it. It was an author who said that it is impossible to write well in a vacuum. That we write best while simmering in the “rich stew of humanity.”

That phrase changed my life.

Yesterday was a “rich” day. I had lunch with two friends who make me laugh and who feed my soul with wisdom and love. Then I drove over to the elementary school to pick up my granddaughter who was struggling with her first day of braces. Saw my daughter-in-law off to her night class at college, touched base with some extended family, and wrote an e-mail to my son in Afghanistan.

Didn’t get a creative word written.

But today, Lord willing, will be a writing day. I plan to take our old truck out to the meadow. I’ll park, then pull out my latest manuscript and write until I don’t want to write anymore. I’ll unscrew the top off my thermos, have a sandwich, and write some more. The writing will be better, and my heart will be lighter, because of all the good people I spent time with yesterday.

It took me awhile, but I finally learned that a real writer writes—whenever, wherever. Even if it’s in the cab of an ’87 Ford truck. The conditions don’t have to be perfect. The words don’t have to be perfect. And true isolation, I believe, would dry out the spirit entirely.

Of course, I still wouldn’t mind a week or two at a seaside cottage.

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