Sunday, January 21, 2007
If I leave these things to the last minute I always wind up writing about what I know best, that is, myself. I could have written a fantasy story or poem. I could have written a detailed reflection on the meaning of fantasy, but with a few minutes before bed-time, I’m going to take the easy way out and tell you about one of my fantasies.
This is my sabbatical fantasy. Like most good fantasies it has several versions. There is the writing sabbatical, the working sabbatical, the sabbatical in France, Italy, New Zealand, England or Australia. I picked the latter three because I am more likely to be able to take a working sabbatical in a country where I speak the language fluently. My French is quite serviceable but there are layers of nuance and cultural awareness that would get in the way of my practicing psychiatry in France even if I could get legal and logistical issues taken care of. Regarding New Zealand and Australia, I have even seen ads for U.S. psychiatrists to work there.
While it would be enlightening and fun to see how my profession is practiced in another country, why not just enjoy myself? Here is where the writing sabbatical comes in. Six months to a year to live in another country and write my fantasy novel. Why not? I could write a travelogue about my travails living in another country. I could write my memoirs. I could write all those funny stories I’ve been accumulating about my profession. I could write a science fiction/fantasy novel or a young adult adventure story. All of these have flitted through my mind at one time or another. All I’ve lacked is time, energy and a good lap-top. Well, now I have a good lap-top. But there will never be a good novel in me while raising two kids and working full time. The past 4 years have been among the most creative of my life. I have started new hobbies and begun to read seriously again. However, there are still only 24 hours to a day and I sleep 8-10 of them away.
So I’ll narrow down the fantasy to a sabbatical in France. It is hard to choose between living in Paris and someplace like Provence. Or perhaps, since it is a fantasy, I can divide my time. After all, Paris is wonderful but it is expensive, crowded and somewhat stressful to live in. I’ll write my novel in small outdoor cafes over multiple cups of espresso. Don’t worry, I won’t start smoking just so I can add a Gauloise to the scene. I’ll spend my free time walking through the arrondissements and visiting every small, out of the way museum. I’ll frequent the Marche aux Puces weekly and bring my treasures home with me. I’ll perfect my language skills. Perfecting my skill at wearing accessories is too much to ask for, but I can dream.
Now all I have to do is convince three other people in my life that a sabbatical is a good idea. . . .