Friday, October 12, 2012

Writing Retreat: Day 1

Here I sit on a bed in a cabin in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, bundled under two blankets with the heat on. The weather was changeable today. First dark and chilly, then windy and sunny, then stormy and dangerous, then windy and sunny again, and now just plain cold.

Four old stories of mine had my writing attention for the afternoon. If I keep switching between them, I'll have plenty to occupy me for the next few days. Maybe by Monday one will have won out and will get the attention it needs once I'm home.

My cabin is (now here's a word I never use) darling (it really is though). It's small and rustic, with just the necessities, in a soft, simple country decor. There are two beds, but I haven't got a roommate. There's a small bathroom. And there's a writing desk and some odd furniture. Very comfortable but much too quiet for writing. When I first arrived, I sat on my bed with pen and paper (I suppose the rusticity inspired me to be old-fashioned) and tried to write. Soon, I fell asleep. I'd gotten up early and I simply couldn't think what to say (curse of the blank page).

When I woke up and went to The Barn (the main location for conference activities) for lunch, I realized the problem. I needed noise. Not lots of noise, just a little. I needed to know there were humans around doing things. I needed to feel I was in the world, not hidden away. So, lesson learned and well worth taking home. Tomorrow, I'll do my writing in The Barn, as I did today, at this desk with a view of the woods and the sounds of people coming and going.

By late afternoon, the sun beckoned in spite of the cold. I quit writing, bundled up, and went for a walk around the grounds and down the trail behind the cabins. Lots of trees have already lost their leaves while many remain green. It's not the brilliant autumn scene I was hoping for. It's beautiful though. And I walked far enough to get that pleasant sensation of needing to take one's hood off to cool down.

I also found a nice surprise while exploring. A word garden! Fantastic. Must create something tomorrow when my fingers aren't so numb.

Soon after that was dinner and chatting with a group of lovely women who are seriously committed to their writing, some published some not, all intimately aware of the struggles and rewards of making a story. So it's good. It's a nice place to be for the next few days. And though it'd be wonderful to finish a draft, I'm not setting goals. It just feels good to be here, good to be writing, good to be cold. There are nice people around. There's delicious food. And the falling leaves make it all the nicer. Can't ask for more than that.