We’re going up to the mountains again next week for annual family retreat, aka vacation. Looking forward to it. I had grand plans of all that I would do on this vacation, but the bigger challenge is actually not in the doing. It’s in the being.
So I’m not taking my sewing machine or my laptop. I’m taking some books and some knitting and a notepad, to slow the pace enough that I can write a few thoughts, not catch the entire train.
Doing nothing is hard for me. Idle hands are the devil’s workplace, you know. I almost never have idle hands. I always have something cooking in my brain, while writing, emailing, working on projects, planning…always have lots to do.
So my practice this time will be to NOT do. To do nothing. Or, nothing much. To hang out, relax, enjoy, breathe slowly. Sip, not gulp. Walk, not run.
We’re human beings, not human doings. I have to remember that.
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.