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Dear Diary, Saturday morning: Yay! It’s Saturday morning! Does Saturday count as my first day of vacation? I have the next two weeks OFF to stay home and work on my new book but I  usually get Saturday off any way, but it feelslike a vacation day so I’m going to count it as one. Yay! A whole vacation day to work on my new book!

Today I’m going to re-paint a Paris rain scene that I tried to do two weeks ago. This time I’ll get it right! Yay! Vacation!

Dear Diary, Saturday night: I spent all damn day working on a crappy Paris painting. I suck,  suck,  suck. But yay! It’s Saturday night! I can have a vat  bottle  half a bottle  glass or two of wine and celebrate my vacation! Plus, when I was looking for the corkscrew I found that little snowman I’ve been looking for since 2010 — turns out he was  hiding behind a big bottle of Johnnie Walker in the liquor cabinet. Yay! I found my little light-up buddy! Now all I have to do is find a nice hors d’ouvre that will go with a young Saint-Julien…

Dear Diary, Sunday morning:  I’m raring to get back to work on my new book! Yay! Vacation! I can write to my heart’s content, now that I can call my life my own again. I’ve been waiting for a year– ever since I started working full time –  to be able to do this! I can finally drag out all my notes, my special Rain Book diary that I’ve kept since 2009, all my rough drafts, all my art-work-in-progress, and sit down, and write write write all that stuff that’s been bottled up for so long. I can’t wait! Yay! Vacation!

Dear Diary, Sunday night: I can’t write. I tried all day. I got nothing. It was like digging my way out of a really big place with a really useless utensil. See? I can’t even think of a good simile to describe my predicament. Or is it a metaphor that I’m looking for? I am useless. Even my cats are bored with me, traipsing back and forth from the kitchen, making one procrastinatory cup of tea after another. I see the contempt in their faces. 

It seems that the only thing worse than having to get up and go to work every day is having to get up and stay at home writing.

Dear Diary, Monday morning: New day, fresh start. A whole day to get some writing done, goddammit. And I didn’t even have a sip of wine last night, so all brain cells are clear and ready for take off.



Dear Diary, Monday night: Awful day. I hated everything I wrote. All three sentences, I hated. I hate the sight of this Rain Book. Also, I chipped my second-favorite tea cup doing the dishes this afternoon. So the day’s been a total bummer.

Top Cat has forbidden me to take any more bottles of wine from his cellar. It seems to him that anyone who washes down Pop Tarts with an Haut Medoc doesn’t deserve access to Bordeaux wines. So he’s bought me some fine Washington State wines! 14 Hands! Hot to Trot!

“Now, don’t drink this all in one night,” he tells me.

Is he kidding me? Doesn’t he know what kind of day I’ve had?????

Dear Diary, Tuesday morning: Another day. To write. Big wup.

Dear Diary, Tuesday night: That’s it. I’m looking for another vacation job because this writing thing isn’t working out for me at all. I’ve heard it said that although many people have tried, no one has been able to drink for a living, but I think they just haven’t tried hard enough.

Dear Diary, Wednesday afternoon: So far, this new drinking job of mine is going pretty good. I just woke up and have nothing to do so I have to say, I like the hours.

Dear Diary, Thursday, evening-ish. No, wait. Maybe it’s only the afternoon. I know it has to be before 4 o’clock because I haven’t watched Judge Judy yet. Or wait. Did I? Or was that yesterday? Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. When I was a writer the minutes of the day were each as distinct and individual as a snowflake. Now that I’m an ex-writer, the days blur into one another like an avalanche. And avalanches are very confusing.

Dear Diary, Friday morning: I just had a brand new idea about a book and I can’t wait to get started! I’m a writer again! Yay! YAY! This is a great vacation!

So dear blog readers, I’ve given up on my Rain Book for now. Time will tell whether there’s another book in my future but for now I’m happy to be very busy scheduling events and lectures and workshops for Le Road Trip, out on April 7. I’ll post details about places and dates next week.

But the first reviews for Le Road Trip are starting to come in, including this lovely one from the Library Journal of March 1:

Le Road Trip

If the traditional travel guide provides security with its objective detail, organizational structure, predictable outline, and recommendations-by-committee, Swift (When Wanderers Cease to Roam) charms by doing just the opposite. With honesty, whimsy, and subjectivity, she writes in a lively and authentic manner about traveling in her beloved France. She achieves this with her loose, stream-of-thought, anecdotal, and episodic style but especially through her drawings. Everything is covered–nightscapes, a bread guide, gardens, storefronts, a “what to pack” list, Cancale oysters, Bordeaux grapes, statues–with the spontaneity of a cafe sketch session that nearly belies its elegant detail and accuracy. They seem at once in-the-moment and a commentary on it. VERDICT:

Swift’s narrative feels like a vacation. It’s interested in the history of bridges and cheese and wine, takes notice of room decor and the contrasting tones of village streets at dusk and dawn, and wonders about a town’s laundry day and neighborhood cats. A fun, funny, and wonderful experience; highly recommended.

Thank you, Library Journal.

19 comments to How I’m spending my Spring Vacation

  • Carol

    Wow!!! Lovely remarks from Library Journal!! I cannot cannot cannot wait to read it. I must scheduled a vacation day for April 10th, as I certainly cannot be expected to contribute to society on THAT day. Le Road Trip – here we come!!!!!!!

  • I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait!!

  • Deborah

    Sounds like the cosmos is trying to tell you something: cat book. CAT BOOK.

  • I am ordering 12 copies for my my art journal class.
    I am sure it will be every bit as enjoyable as WWCTR.

    Your color paintings are wonderful. AND FRANCE….
    How good can it get?

  • Jen

    Looking forward to your new book. Just pre-ordered a copy! I’m eager to discover who won the battle of the Capitalized Season Words. Enjoy the rest of your Spring vacation!

  • Nadine

    I’m on my way to pre-order many copies of this book to share with family and friends who enjoyed WWCTR.

    I agree with Deborah: a cat book must be next!

  • Rachel

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. C’est Bonne, tres bonne. Congratulations. I too can hardly wait. Perhaps I will put it into my very own Easter Basket. Tea book is my vote. Except not with pages shaped like tea cups. :-)

  • Congratulations, what a fabulous review! And I must second Deborah (CAT BOOK). Though I suppose rainy days and cats could go together verrry well.

  • Probably the funniest thing I’ve read this week. And, excellent Pop Tart “flavor” choice.

    Looking forward to April 7. Congratulations on the wonderful review; if I wasn’t already a huge fan, this would definitely make me run out on the 7th and pick it up.

  • mo

    can’t wait for april and the new book … yeay!

  • Another wonderful post – and congratulations on that review. I look forward to seeing your book; which looks as if it is going to be another resounding sucess. You deserve the best wine!

  • Hooray for Library Journal! And also hooray for Top Cat getting you WA wine (yes, small bias there since I live in WA). Hooray for cats who keep us humble. Hooray for you taking a vacation in which to do art (even if you didn’t produce anything you figure things out and did your part to keep Pop Tarts in business.)

    What about a book describing the new way of tea? This way wouldn’t be the esoteric Japanese style (no disrespect) or the Indian, Persian, Chinese, Moroccan or Turkish ways. Clearly the Vivian Swift Way of Tea includes a cozy sofa or armchair, at least one cat (or small dog should you taste run in that direction), and books/sketch pads/journals. Now that is a book that would be a sheer delight to read and learn from and savor.

    Again, congratulations on Le Road Trip!

  • Sounds like cat people are rising up to say –
    We love them. we’d buy ANYTHING about them, but with your humor, it would have to be such a hoot. You could make a narrative about what those furries are thinking, as they first see an open space they don’t know about; OR THEY SEE AN INTERLOPER IN their yard; or they’re figuring out who the hell is that two-legged person IN MY HOUSE….millions of stories, that YOU, with your humor could enhance and entertain millions….

    And I hope MILLIONS enjoy ‘ Le Road Trip’ as well.
    We all WANT to go to France, or have been there, and want you to tell us what we missed, or we dream about what it must be like to see France.
    blah blah. sorry, folks. I get carried away.

  • What a wonderful review. I’m sure it’s well deserved. I, also, can’t wait and I, also would like a cat book.

  • I am counting the days until April 1 – and congratulations on the wonderful review!
    Your week of ‘vacation’ had me howling – since I have felt the same self-hatred and angst when trying to be my best creative self on SCHEDULE! That’s when I feel like I have creative constipation! Who can create on command?? Is there fiber for the artistic soul??

  • Oh fantastic review! Not at all surprising I must say!! I can’t wait to get mine and show it off to the artist here in town who I know will love it.

  • Jeannie

    Congratulations on a great review! I cannot wait to get my hands on your book! I will sit with a “glass” of wine and go on a road trip with you. Enjoy the rest of your vacation.

  • PS! I read this week’s blodpost to my weekend workshop of glass ‘artist’ friends and had them laughing until they cried. 5 new converts to Vivian Swift!

  • Tracey

    Just pre-ordered your book on Amazon. I agree about the cats. Try to do an author talk at Greenlight Books in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I think you would be a good fit for the area.

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