As I'm writing this, I'm sitting on a screened porch, enjoying my last hours at my second annual writing retreat. I think I mentioned last year that the location is so remote, my host has to lead me to it, a half hour in from the main road. No Internet access here, and this week, thanks to Verizon's efficiency (yes, that's sarcasm) not even a land line. A cellphone signal can be had if you've got a decent carrier and don't mind walking down the driveway a bit. With the phone out, last night's gorgeous full moon and the murder of crows that hung around all week, it's been rather like living inside a Hitchcock movie. Perfect mood for mystery writing.
The week was filled with lovely walks down farm roads, good food, and wildlife sightings (songbirds, bunnies, deer, a huge family of wild turkeys (mom, dad, 6 adolescents and 8 babies), and my first close-up look at a bald eagle). Evenings were spent listening to old radio plays.
But, of course, the purpose of the retreat was writing. While it's nice to have a quiet place for uninterrupted work, I find the real benefit of a retreat is for the thinking writing demands. At home, with all the distractions, it's hard to find time to step back from your project to ruminate on why a scene isn't working, or whether the book is flowing properly, or should the story take a whole new direction? Walking seems to get the creative juices flowing. Country air clears the mind. Ice cream at the end of the day rewards the soul.
That's the kind of mental rejuvenation these retreats offer. Honestly, I could use one 4 or 5 times a year.
Now back to reality. But I'll arrive home with loads of fresh Jersey produce and fresh ideas for my writing. And a great memory of a bald eagle sighting.