Retreat!

Hello, Internet, it’s Friday, October 28th – or at least is is for me, writing this. For you, reading this, it is at least Saturday, October 29th, or, more probably, Sunday, October 30th, depending on what time I get home tomorrow and how busy I become when I arrive.

Ok, first thing’s first (it feels like a very long time since I last updated you, Internet):

A week ago, maybe an hour after I posted about Three Tales of Terror, I was asked to be in the Saturday performance. Besides being flattered to be asked in an emergency, I was also super-excited because a) I don’t act nearly enough for my liking, and b) radio drama is awesome!

It did, however, add a layer of urgency to my weekend, which all of a sudden became this a game of how-much-time-do-I-have-between-jobs-and/or-workshops-to-read-these-scripts. I wound up doing most of my reading on the treadmill (a great way to spend a 30-minute run, I will attest… not boring at all).

And then the show on Saturday night happened, and it was lots of fun. Lots and lots. And the chapeau was totally darling. I wish I had a picture, but I do not, so you’re just going to have to imagine it. Little white pillbox hat. Darling.

Saturday was WANL professional development workshop day, so in between reading scripts, I was at The Lantern taking in a workshop on Point of View in fiction, and then in Metaphor and Comparison in poetry. I have many notes from those workshops, along with a bunch of poems to look up to be inspired by and a few paragraphs of fiction of my own.

Sunday, I worked a box office shift at the Hall, Monday was meetings all day long, and then: The Week Began.

Tuesday, after a quick trip to the gym, I came (was brought, more like) to Kilmory Resort, near Piper’s Hole on the Burin Peninsula. I am attending a five-day writer’s retreat called Piper’s Frith, which is run by Literary Arts NL. It is amazing (you’d think, after spending a week reading and writing poetry, I’d be able to come up with a better word, wouldn’t you?). But, in the truth of the phrase “a picture’s worth a thousand words”, let me give you a taste of my accommodations:

Luxury! Also:

Before Tuesday, I haven’t had a full-on, sit-in-the-tub bath in about 10 years. Since Tuesday, I’ve had 3. Why? That tub overlooks this:

Ok, so, imagine all that, and then imagine being here with 30 other writers, no internet, and no cell phone reception. THEN, imagine spending every morning reading and discussing poetry (yours, someone else’s) with a small group of smart and careful readers, led by multi-award-winning poet Don McKay. AND THEN, imagine that, at some point over the course of the week, you and Don sit down for an hour and a half to talk about life, the world, and your writing. Are you imagining that? Do you see it? Ok, and just to drive the point home:

Then, imagine that you are making friends at record speed with artists. Imagine that, every evening, there is a program of writers reading from their work. Imagine that, twice in this short span of time, they feed you a fantastic meal.

So… yeah. That’s where I am, Internet. Not missing you one bit.

(also, look: I went hiking:)

I am, in fact, a little scared of what will happen when I allow my phone to receive notifications again tomorrow afternoon. But for now, the focus is on enjoying every ounce of quiet, of connection with nature, writing every day, figuring out where my poetic priorities lie. I have some new ideas, to say the least.

The test will be to see if I can carry on with this determination to write – obviously, not at this pace, but at this amount of focus – when I am exposed to all of the usual distractions and (god forbid!) professional responsibilities of life. I am going to give National Novel Writing Month another shot come Tuesday (you may remember NaNoWriMo as being a more-or-less failed venture in 2010, but this time I have no play to rehearse, no teaching job, and no commitment to make a blog video every week, which, let’s be honest, takes about 3 hours. I have between 10 and 15 hours a week of work, and a workshop to organize – more writing! – but this feels like much less work to me. Either way, attempting the novel), so we can hope that I will have some drive to carry on with writing throughout the rest of the fall.

I am extremely excited to see if I can do it.