Unplug and Recharge

The view from one of our favorite rental houses at the Oregon coast.

The view from one of our favorite places to unplug and recharge at the Oregon coast.

Recently, I attended a writing workshop with the awesome young adult author Matt de la Peña. (And if I may put on my school librarian hat for just a moment, if you know or work with teens, you should definitely check out Matt’s work.  He’s awesome. OK, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.) I was hoping to work on a blog post about finding  a place to unplug and recharge at the workshop, but the focus was on fiction, so I didn’t think I’d get a post done there. Actually, though, I managed to write something that I think works. It’s a little different, but I hope you like it.

We began by making a list of at least 5 things to describe a character. I thought of my “character” as a place. If I were to create a place where I could unplug and recharge, how would I describe it?  My list:
it’s comfortable and cozy
it’s got room to think
it has a space where I can be outdoors
it’s clean
I feel relaxed there
I can be plugged in and unplugged (not cut off but away)
there must be good and nutritious food (whether I brought it or can buy it) and treats, lots of treats
it’s somewhere pretty
Then we read a short piece by Amy Hemple, “The Man in Bogota,” and took one line from that story to start our own piece.  Here’s the line: I imagine that I am the one who must talk the woman down. I see it, and it happens like this.

Here’s my piece:


I imagine that I am the one who must talk the woman down. I see it, and it happens like this.

The house we have rented is small, cozy. The walls are a deep brown, not chocolate, not beige, but a rich cocoa somewhere in between. The lights are low but the room is not dim. They are incandescent bulbs, not fluorescent, distilling warmth. She is snuggled into the couch, wrapped in a fluffy afghan, and we look out at the sea as it rolls out and then back, out and then back.

She has been telling me of the strain she feels. Her job. Her children. Her husband.  The books unread. The laundry unwashed. The gym classes never attended. The glasses of wine drunk. The pounds gained. The gardens overgrown.

How we face these strains in an everyday world is a momentous task. Whether we face them. Whether we can. But for these few days, in this calm space, we can set them aside. Unplug in order to recharge. Breathe in the ocean air. Explore the space around us. Feel the grains of sand scour away our troubles. Watch the sea and allow our troubles to roll out, and out, and out.

Do you have a place you can unplug and recharge? How would you describe it? Let us know in the comments.  And enjoy your week or your weekend!

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7 thoughts on “Unplug and Recharge

  1. For me, the Oregon Coast is a perfect place to unplug and recharge. The roll of the tide restores my personal rhythm. Troubles wash away. I can imagine far away friends dipping their toes in the very same ocean. It’s close and familiar, so I don’t feel pressured to pack my trip full of adventures to make the most of my time. I hope I can get there again soon!

  2. Love your writing. We have a townhouse in Newport that has an ocean view. We go there every chance we get. And even though we basically do the same things on weekends that we would do at our week-day home (read, cook, play on the computer, walk the dog, go out to eat…) it is still the beach and even in lousy weather we totally love the place for a week or a weekend vacation.

    On a different subject – we want to meet my East Coast sister and her husband somewhere in the midwest (Great Lakes?) this summer. They have a travel trailer. We don’t but are thinking of renting one… Any suggestions of places to visit and renting motor homes? Thanks

    • Meg – Not sure where you’d rent, but we have some ideas of places that are supposed to be terrific.

      1) Mackinac Island, MI – where we honeymooned. No cars allowed on the island, so it’s a lovely trip back in time. But there’s a state park on the mainland – Straits State Park – where you could camp and daytrip to the island or go over for a night or two.
      2) Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and the Indiana Dunes are supposed to be fantastic places, although we haven’t been. We usually just visit family and friends when we go to the Midwest.
      3) Voyageurs National Park is a little far north but would, like all NPs, be excellent!
      Have fun! Sounds like a great adventure!

  3. Beautiful! I can’t remember the last time I went somewhere to just “unplug and recharge.” This would mean no kids, no sports, no huge plan. Sounds like something I need to do! It would need to be someplace I could take walks and not see too many people – the beach, or the woods. Thanks for the inspiration!!

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