The Big July 4th Staycation

by | Jul 11, 2022 | Articles | 0 comments

“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.


Gratitude Week: A Thanksgiving Reflection from Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

2018 has been trying, to say the least. In January, I posted a New Year's resolution to finish my current WIP, Whizzers, this year. Then, on Valentine's Day, that got back-burnered when the call came that my 81-year-old mother had taken a fall and had to be...

Music, Music, Music, and “I Could Write a Book”

I woke up thinking about Turkish drummers. It didn't take long—I don't know much about Turkish drummers. —Bruce Cockburn Music has always been a big part of my life. Maybe not everyone who reads this blog knows that, but anyone who knows me does. From the time I was a...

We’re All Looking For The Answer

Today’s post is a bit of a topic combo, if there is such a thing. What’s on my mind? Elements of a February 2019 post called No More For The Road and the March 2019 post I Survived Catholic School. Don’t worry. I won’t repeat what’s in them. You can read them for...

Books: Great Holiday Gifts, or The Greatest Holiday Gifts?

I saw a cartoon the other day that features a character who's starting to sing, "It's beginning to look a lot like..." A second character quickly and quietly puts the first character down, saying, "Shh. Sleep now." Dark stuff, right? But hey, these are dark times—in...

The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

I wrote most of Miles of Files between 2007 and 2015. I felt my first novel had been an artistic success, but I wasn't so sure about the second one. Now, I'd moved on to this third novel without having found a publisher for either of the first two. And it was totally...

All the News

It's been crazy busy for me lately, and this blog got neglected because Monday - my normal blog post date - was the 4th of July holiday. I know, I should have worked anyway, right? Isn't that what everyone does these days? Work any day and every day? Well, the heck...

More Thoughts On Robot Writers and The Tech Dystopia

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post here called When Will the Robot Overlords Replace Us? Apparently, I’m fairly obsessed with this stuff, because every time I come here and empty my brain, it seems to come up again. Today is no different. Part of the reason,...

A Vacation Blog Post and a Manross Library Appearance

The following post has been pre-scheduled. I've never tried to pre-schedule a blog post before, so I had to look up how to do it. If you know me well, you won't be surprised by that. Hey, I'm on vacation while you read this. Modern technology! I find it interesting to...

The Improtance Of Poorfreading

So right up front, I know I'm taking a gamble with today's headline. I only hope most readers of this blog will be able to translate Improtance into Importance, and Poorfreading into Proofreading. Goodness knows Spellcheck tried to change them on me. The reason for...

“Music Hath Charms to Soothe a Savage Breast”

So wrote William Congreve in 1697, and it’s still true today. Of course, not everyone today understands that “hath” meant “has,” or that a “savage breast” was another way of saying “wild heart.” And these days, more music is made to stimulate than to calm.My own...

What’s The Problem With Shameless Self-Promotion?

While I still find it somewhat hard to believe, I've been on Twitter for almost eight years. I know this not only because Twitter shows Joined March 2015 on my profile but also because, even if they eliminate that feature, I use a tracker called Who Unfollowed Me? If...

MLK Day 2023

Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For many of us, today is always something of a day of mourning: not only mourning the loss of a great civil rights leader, but also mourning the turn our great nation seemed to take in recent years....

Twitter Tips for Authors in 2023

If you follow my blog, you probably connected with me via Twitter, whether you’re a fellow author or not. In 2020, I wrote a post about Twitter for fellow writers that got a good response. Three years later, the landscape has changed, but some Twitter best practices...

Going Off The Rails (But Not On A Crazy Train)

Last April, I wrote a blog post called Back on Track With a Work-In-Progress. Part of that post was to talk about the difference between a “plotter” and a “pantser” (and to describe myself as a hybrid of the two, a “plantser”). Another, less obvious motive, was to...

Those Tricky French Authors and Their Obsessions

Today’s blog post was originally going to be Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. III. However, after seeing parts I and II lined up, I decided to call an audible and make it something less repetitive. Somehow the SEO gods have gotten into my head. As I’ve mentioned...

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. II

In last week’s post, I mentioned a pretty well-known author who has publicly reported his publisher “wouldn’t touch” a new release, in part because a character in his novel referred to herself as “fat.” I heard this story on a podcast, and I remember thinking, “Wait...

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want

I’ve been stewing on this for a while. It’s been brewing for quite a while. I could probably write a song about it (how about a rap?), but I don’t think I will. This is more of a blog post topic, and it might even deserve a series. And that’s the title and topic of...

Should Every Month Be Gratitude Month?

When I was a kid, I loved Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. I read it daily and collected nearly every paperback volume of the cartoon, so I could see what I’d missed since the comic strip’s inception in 1950.  Certain things stuck: quotes like “happiness is a warm puppy”...

More Thoughts On Robot Writers and The Tech Dystopia

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post here called When Will the Robot Overlords Replace Us? Apparently, I’m fairly obsessed with this stuff, because every time I come here and empty my brain, it seems to come up again. Today is no different. Part of the reason,...