Sunday, October 30, 2011
Writers Retreat, Part 2
I love a good writers retreat. I love a great one even more. From Saturday, October 22 - the 29th, I was lucky enough to enjoy the latter at an adorable little house straight at the base of Cathedral Ledge, one of the many scenic wonders in the charming vacation destination that is North Conway, New Hampshire. During my week with gal pal Tammy McCracken, leader of my fabulous Friday night writers group, I put longhand manuscripts on perhaps the smallest laptop on the planet (nicknamed, rightly, "The Baby") -- some 25,000 words worth; edited and submitted many of those stories, long and short; penned a longhand draft of a 7,500-word short story that has eluded me for years with almost-eerie ease; dove into another on one of the most effortless Thursdays in human history; got snuggly (and snoggy) with the Muse; and regrouped after a year that has already seen the completion of sixty-one individual fiction projects.
In addition to plenty of writing, there was plenty of eating. Our menu included one of the best prime ribs ever devoured, homemade beef stew, homemade chicken cordon bleu, luscious salads, veggies and dips, plenty of coffee, Diet Pepsi and, every night, homemade chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies, baked to perfection by my awesome fellow scribe and housemate.
On Tuesday of my week in the mountains, I took a long walk and was stunned to see just how close we were to Cathedral Ledge, which loomed above the trees in our front yard. We enjoyed a roaring log fire for six of our seven nights. The cozy cottage on Crossbow Lane was a place to regroup, recenter and, above all, relax.
It didn't strike me until our second day of the retreat how exhausted I've been. The full weight of our difficult 2010 and working nonstop in 2011 without much of a break (last winter's zombie plague chest cold doesn't count) caught up to me in North Conway, which was the perfect venue to steal a much-needed, deep cleansing breath. The days passed like a quite wonderful dream, and I can't wait to return to that house, courtesy of our wonderful hostess, Maureen Parziale, who made it clear from the start that we would love our time there, guaranteed. She did not disappoint.
I am rested, and much writing is down in longhand draft as a result, even more final-drafted -- all good things as, in two days, I plan to dive back into the flurry of fresh pages. It's almost NaNoWriMo time and there's a novel demanding to be written.