And just like that, the final night of the writers’ retreat is upon us. We’ve made our final fire in the fireplace. I made a big pot of veggie curry and it’s simmering on the stove, rice cooking alongside. I have a bit of whiskey and a bit of white wine, and we’re down to our last bag of chips. They’re the “healthy” whole grain kind. We’ll eat them if things get desperate. (Which you can read as: we’ll be eating them before midnight.)
We haven’t been too bothered by ghosts here, though we have each at times utterly freaked ourselves out. Yesterday we didn’t leave the house at all. Today we went out to get firewood and a jug of water. Basic supplies. And a quick trip to Melmerby Beach, just to see it in winter. It’s awesome, in case you were wondering.
We’ve done the Thirty-Day Shred, and the Moksha series of yoga poses. We’ve eaten a lot of licorice and had tarot readings. We weathered an awesome wind and snow storm, and we’re aiming to get on the road tomorrow morning before the next one roars in.
There’s been procrastination, too. I watched three episodes of Gilmore Girls, read the first seventy pages of Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem, had a moment of panic in which I acknowledged to myself that whatever it is he’s doing to make that book so good, I don’t know how to do that, acknowledged further that that’s okay, acknowledged further that the published book is not the first draft, and I played about a hundred games of Ten-Ten.
And, yes, there’s been writing. Not as much as I’d hoped, not as revealing as I’d planned, but there has indeed been writing. Along with an understanding about this new life—it doesn’t end when this retreat does. I can stretch out in this. I can turn my attention to this book without having to stunt write it as per my earlier works. I will not be due back at the office any time at all. This is my office, now. My brain, and this laptop.
This long holiday time is coming to an end. I am happy to leave behind the lounging, the pyjamas, the bags of chips and plates of cookies and endless glasses of wine. I have sidled up to Good Birds Don’t Fly Away and I’m still scared of it, but I’m ready for it. May it go as this retreat has—slow, but fast.
2 responses to “Slow but fast”
I’m looking into doing a writing retreat sometime in the not-too-distant future; which local ones do you recommend?
Hey Ben! I highly recommend getting away from it all to focus on your writing. Typically, my writers’ group will rent a house somewhere in Nova Scotia, within ninety minutes of Halifax, usually, for a long weekend. So, I can’t recommend specific retreats per se, but there are lovely little houses and cottages for rent all over the place, and if you can convince a couple of writers to go with you–bam, instant writing retreat! Good luck!