“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.”

—Eugene Ionesco


I’ll admit it: last week’s blog post was pretty much non-existent.

All I posted was a flag picture and a headline, “Happy birthday, Americans.”

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of inside jokes and comments in my head. That headline was one of them. 

I’m an American, so it might seem a little off for me to post a headline worded in such a way. 

It actually came from the July 4th, 2001 Wilco show, a mere two months before 9/11. Frontman Jeff Tweedy opened the show with two songs from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and “War on War.” He then greeted the crowd in his inimitable, laconic midwestern accent, “Happy birthday…Americans. Feel good about yourselves?”

That intro always haunted me, especially since so much of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot would come to feel prescient about 9/11, and the feeling that the chickens had come home to roost (from the Middle East, it turned out, but it could have been Chile, Guatemala…). In more recent years, I’ve also become ever more painfully aware of how so many of my fellow Americans have never felt like there was anything to celebrate—particularly people of color.


It’s Been A Long, Long Time

But I didn’t think much beyond the headline itself last week. And the reason I didn’t create a real post along with it is simple enough. My wife and I haven’t had an actual vacation since 2017, and I decided to take four consecutive days off, from July 1st through the 4th.

If memory serves, we had tentatively planned to take some time off in 2020. You probably remember how 2020 turned out.

So much of the last couple years has been incredibly difficult. I can’t complain, because we’ve all survived, and even my 80-something parents have made it through the worst of the pandemic, fully vaxxed and boosted. Earlier this year, we had a bit of a scare when my wife’s entire family seemingly got COVID around the same time. But they all made it through, too, no worse for wear and tear, as Mick Jagger might put it.


As for Ionesco…

My lovely wife was actually thinking of working on Saturday the 2nd. The way things have gone since 2020, I totally get why she wants to pick up all the overtime she can, but I talked her out of it. While I had a four-day weekend, she at least got a three-day weekend. Not enough to recover from burnout, but enough to recharge for the short week that followed, from the 5th through the 8th.

If you’re expecting an exciting report, though, I hate to give you the news. The big July 4th staycation consisted mostly of five activities:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning 
  • Exercising
  • Resting

I know, pathetic, right? But as for Eugene Ionesco’s quote, I’ve got to call B.S. I didn’t think about writing for four solid days, and it helped me out the rest of last week, and into this week, too. Since the holiday, I’ve cranked out about 5K words of material, not including this post. For now, that’s going to have to be enough.


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