A few have asked about my writing while abroad, and the truth is--other than some day-to-day journal entry and a few notes--I completely abstained from writing anything. I did manage to read two books on Kindle, primarily in-flight time: Garrison Keillor's The Keillor Reader and The Road to Echo Springs (an extended conversation about six great writers who were also alcoholics).
Upon returning to the states, however, I put down the books and began writing again. I've written (and already shipped off to editors) several poems with themes touching on love, beauty, music, and Venetian history. And I've made notes that should carry me through several travel articles, should I be offered the opportunity to produce them. I'm also back to the grind of completing another very large book, a title I feel compelled to complete before month's end (and will!) so that I can move on to other books and shorter projects to fill in the chinks.
Traveling abroad did open up my mind and stir the creative juices. There's nothing like a change of venue to clean out the writing cobwebs and freshen the imagination and the possibilities. I see a great many long nights, and all-nighters in my future if I am to grab hold of these ideas before they slip away.
I continue to try to place a positive spin on losing eight years' worth of writing (blue screen of death and crashed hard drive) . . . but one positive now is that I have to create fresh. Since I cannot remember most of the material that's burned (even whole books), I now have a clean slate, so to speak. I'm taking the approach that I will be writing the best books, the best essays, and the best fiction and poems in the coming year.
As long as I don't forget where Becky put my food dish, I should be fine. Otherwise, I'll just lap at the wet floor in front of the sink and take in whatever nourishment I can glean from the cracks in the tiles.
Anything beyond this, as they say, is gravy.