Thursday, April 21, 2011

Busman's Holiday

Years ago, I read Dorothy Sayer's delightful mystery series about Lord Peter Wimsey. One book's title confused me, though: Busman's Honeymoon. It turns out that it's a reference to the British expression "busman's holiday," which means to spend one's vacation doing much the same thing one does for a living. A bus driver who takes a bus tour for his vacation, for example, or in Lord Peter's case, a detective who spends his honeymoon solving a murder.

For the past three weeks or so, I've been making piles of items and setting aside clothes to pack for a vacation. I started organizing them and realized that while I was looking forward to fun times and lazy days, my subconscious was planning to work. The pile included a dressy outfit, "signed by" stickers, and bookmarks; as long as I was going to be in town, I had set up a booksigning. Also in the pile were some nonfiction books related to writing or to my next novel. I had included some novels—but all were historicals set in unusual times. I thought reading them would give me a feel of how to unobtrusively add setting and needed background to my own new historical novel.

Once I noticed what had happened, did I replace those work-related books with fun reading? Not at all. Instead, I added some Internet printouts related to the heroine of my next novel, the beginning of a short story I'd like to finish soon, a short story that needs a polish before I send it into the world, and a novel draft I am reading and commenting on for a newbie writer.

So it looks as if I'll be working a lot, but I'm still looking forward to my vacation. Isn't it great to have one's work be so fun that one takes it along for enjoyment on vacation?

How about you? Have any of your vacations turned into busman's holidays?

Thanks for visiting. I'll be blogging again on May 5. See you then!

—Shauna Roberts


Charles Gramlich said...

At least with writing it's not hard to take our work life along with us on vacation.

Anonymous said...


Liane Spicer said...

There must be something wrong with us writers: I wouldn't dream of going on vacation from writing. From everything and everyone else, yes.