It surprises me, I have to say, how aware of it I feel sitting here by the pool in this most lovely courtyard in Key West. I am alone, you see, traveling alone, something that is not necessarily new to me. And still the solo nature of it all has heightened every sense I have. The wind, tropical but January-cool, carries the sound of the leaves all around that blow and wave and rub. Each is a different green, and the late morning sun shifts the colors moment to moment, the canopy above me a changing show of dance and light. The Hemingway cats, six-toed and fat, stretch and meow and saunter. And in a marvelous twist on all that is represented by this island’s hedonistic brand, in the distance I hear church bells ringing.
Why is this? I wonder. What is it about spending (nearly) a week alone that turns up the volume?
I know, of course. I’m making good on a promise to live more courageously, to be more adventurous, to go more boldly. And while the story I repeat to myself is that it’s solo travel, the honest truth is I am here to realize a life-long dream of studying fiction writing with my favorite of favorite authors, Lee Smith at the renowned Key West Literary Seminar Writers’ Workshop.
(It took a shot of bourbon for me to apply for this coveted spot and another when I received word I was in.)
I take my first dive this afternoon. And for the next four days, I’ll push every writer comfort zone boundary I’ve developed–and more than one solo traveler fear. I’ll do so with this familiar mantra in my head:
You don’t serve the world by playing small.*
Live courageously. Be more adventurous. Go boldly.
Mantra, please serve me well!
30 Days of Joy