I picked up this book from an end table at my sister Joan’s house in Florida. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop, and she generously offered to let me take it home.
The timing was perfect. World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down by Christian McEwen, was all about slowing down, something I’ve never been particularly good at.
This was the first real vacation I’ve ever taken. Any other traveling I’ve done has been for workshops, conferences, public speaking, or some other work-related trip. I’ve never traveled just for fun. I wasn’t sure I could ‘just be.’ A visit to the beach convinced me otherwise.
Yes, I just sat and closed my eyes, listening to the sound of the ocean waves.
McEwan claims it is solitude, quiet, introspection, and slowing down that begets creativity, and while I understand the concept, there was very little time for any of that those many years while I was raising small children, yet I managed to create.
Even on vacation, I snuck in some writing time, staying up after everyone else one night to write an essay for the journal that will be published next spring. I also began three of the four mornings spent at my sister and brother-in-law’s house writing a letter to Mary, as a way to share my trip with her. McEwen would understand.
“I surrender to the pleasures of old-fashioned epistolary friendship: warmed by my friends’ kindness, their imagined company, even before I begin to write.”- Christian McEwen
She was, of course, talking about the pleasures of letter writing, something she often does on an airplane.
Other topics included in this book are obvious from chapter titles such as these: “The Art of Looking,” “In Praise of Walking,” “Learning to Pause,” and “Across the Bridge of Dreams.” (regarding the importance of getting enough sleep, something else I need to take to heart)
You can read more about the author on her website Christian McEwen, which coincidentally, includes a beach scene at the top of the webpage.