Thursday, 30 August 2012

While I'm away

I'm asking myself if there's any point to writing a blog post advertising the fact that I'm about to go away on a writing retreat.
'So what? Who cares?'
 For that matter, who's likely to read this and be other than envious at my good fortune or furious that they've not been given the same opportunity? 

And then there's the question of where I'm going.

From what I've gleaned in researching the organisation, in going through the application process, and after a couple of brief emails, the place itself has something of a code-of-honour about it, an agreement to keep silent... an antiquated notion that seems to suit the purpose rather well.. and which deters me from giving the details here (besides, you haven't been yet, how much detail do you have to give? Ed.)

Suffice it to say, I'll be one of five writer guests at a castle (yes, a real castle, not merely a poetic metaphor. Ed)  set in extensive grounds close to a river, in walking distance of a small village and within bus distance of a major city. If things go well - I'm about to receive a donated laptop, but not till the day I set off, so I'm slightly anxious about getting set up with it - (but you will of course have pens & paper? Ed.) I may not leave the establishment for the whole period of residency except to wander around the garden in a daze.

The gift of this retreat - gift is the right word; it comes with no financial support, but the offer of a quiet room and three meals a day is a sizable gift - is that I'll be deprived of instant communication with the outside world, at least by the methods which now seem so natural. No internet connection, patchy phone reception.

That pleases me. I do have plenty of will power, but when it comes to Twitter, chocolate, and the inane pleasures of watching television (no TV there either, good news! Ed.) there's a bit of internal struggle. (I see you're still hesitant to use the term 'addict'... Ed.)

Someone else kindly arranging to remove those temptations, so that you can immerse yourself in thinking solely about the story you want to explore, is the basis for a really good writing retreat... and I'm grateful for the award of it.

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