On Vacation with a Luddite

Off Grid

Several weeks ago, I travelled down from Edinburgh by train, an experience which in itself, taught me a lot of useful lessons about writing and life. The journey, although two and half hours longer than intended, was most definitely worth it in the end, when at last, I arrived at my destination: a beautiful flint stone cottage in an English hamlet in mid Kent, in the south east of England. It was lovely to see an old friend again, after some years, and to meet her two highly boisterous but adorable rescue dogs, who are going to feature in the final novella of my current series. But there was more: a return to a lifestyle that spanned the time between the 1950s to 70s; a complete time warp. This aspect I’d been somewhat dreading, since my writing ran on high octane fuel, powered by the internet. The idea of being ‘off grid’ had filled me with trepidation, and I wondered how on earth I was going to be able to function.

A gentler mode of working

To combat such a formidable task, I had come prepared, armed with old fashioned notebook and pen, some print-offs of online documents, and notes taken before leaving home. There was very little time to start off with, as I was busy with my holiday agenda, visiting other friends, and seeing some scenic villages and gardens, and making the most of lovely summery weather. But there were odd moments when I was able to jot down notes, in a quest to move on the second series of my story in progress, consisting of a number of novellas. As it turned out, I was able to adjust to a gentler mode of working, which fitted in well with my old fashioned environment, and enabled me to plan the next novellas in much detail. Had I stayed at my computer at home, I would likely have romped forward with my work in progress, being the panser writer I am, and the story line would have suffered in consequence. Of this, I am absolutely sure.

A wealth of possibility and richness

Indeed, my whole experience, brought about by my friend’s determination not to have ‘anything modern’, as she puts it, helped me to reach deep into my subconscious and find a wealth of possibility and richness that would otherwise have remained undiscovered. Unlike the Luddites of old: a group of 19th century English workers who broke up factory machinery in protest, fearful that these evil specimens would put them out of work, my friend has created a calm and refreshing situation in which to live. She manages without so many things, and to enter this world, just for a short time, was immensely beneficial. It would be impossible for me to conduct my life like this, dependant as I am on the internet to continue a career as an indie author, but to go back in time, and borrow some of its attributes, has, undoubtedly, helped to change the way I work.


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