A Halt on Travel: Why Ireland

It’s not that I no longer want to explore. It’s just that the exploration has shifted inward. And it’s shifted to paper.

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My last international trip was to Ireland — the most western point of the country, the Dingle Peninsula. I was there two months, indulging in a sort of silent period.

I poured all of my creative energy into the book. I stopped allowing myself to write blog posts. I stopped taking on assignments from back home. Stopped working on other projects, especially collaborative ones.

Nearly every day, I would spend hours writing everything. And also arranging all the pieces to determine how they might form a complete jigsaw and what shapes the puzzle might take. How it all might morph from a puzzle to a story, a message.

The book was a mirror, and as I daily looked into the glass and watched the chipping away process, I was startled to realize that witnessing it was only possible if the mirror’s subject was chipping away at herself — at myself. One begets the other.

Unlike what forms of art we create through compiling, contorting, and constructing, it’s the sculpture that was born out of deconstruction — the dismantling of nothing into something. The breakdown of excess to get to the essence. The core of it. The heart.

I didn’t know that writing about my own life would take so much from me. Would make me see my past and my present — my experiences, my behaviors, my habits — for what they were and are.

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I didn’t know that stirring memories that have hibernated for months, years, and sometimes decades could feel as chaotic or painful as their living moments. What life they still had in them!

As much as I consistently work on, face, and deal with the challenging aspects of my life as I go through them, it seems I’d stuffed so much away. And now I was choosing to confront all of it head on every single time I sat down to write. Was I insane?

Really, it has taken a kind of bravery I never expected it would. Sometimes between paragraphs I’d undergo a meltdown. Then wipe the tears away and carry on. Even now, there are parts I keep putting off. Things I’ll “get around to.”

But I’m still going for it. The more I carve away, the more I chip away, the more it all takes shape.

The more is leading to a deliberate less.The breaking down of excess to get to the essence. The core of it. The heart.

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I’ve returned to Ireland just this week to finish what I started. There could be no better place for me to finish this book than the country’s most beautiful corner, where people from all over the world are magnetized to visit and often never leave. I have so much to share about the place and my journey to, from, and while there. I’ll be posting regularly again beginning this month, so stay tuned.


5 responses to “A Halt on Travel: Why Ireland

  • Denise Jungen

    Thats my girl im so proud of you, BRILLIANT LOL (lots of love) Gram keep sending.

  • Diana LaCross

    Penny: I’ve missed hearing about your adventures! I need to go see your Nana so I can put the puzzle pieces together as to where you’ve been in the last three months!!! Right now, I’m in Kailua, Oahu with my granddaughter visiting a friend. And I am so happy to have this iPhone to be able to read my emails….especially a piece of your blog! Can’t wait to hear more from you! God Bless you and enjoy the ride! Love and miss you, Diana

    • penny

      ha! hi, diana. thanks for reading per usual. ireland since early october, except for my 5/6 weeks in the u.s. i’ll be writing with much more frequency from now on. xoxo

      • Denise Jungen

        Penny i want to read more but i dont understand what i have to sign into can you let me know so i can contin u e to read your writing

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