Monday, October 21, 2013

The Writing Retreat

Writers need time to write.  Sometimes the only way to get concentrated time, is to leave home and go on retreat.  Then the interruptions and the daily schedule don't waylay the muse.  I often am working and look up a word on line and then I'm checking my email and then I tweet, and suddenly I've forgotten about the writing.  On retreat, in a rustic cabin at Silver Lake, there is no wi-fi.  There isn't even an inside toilet.  There's a little gas heater, beds (no bedding), a kitchen (no eating utensils or pots and pans), and light.  Except for the time the power went out, it is comfortable and cozy.  And the lake is an inspiration.  The only interruption, except for occasional runs to the pit toilet.

This last weekend I went on retreat for two nights.  Silver Lake is only a short drive from town...45 minutes.  So getting there is pretty easy.  Packing includes a sleeping bag, pillow, food, eating utensils, computer and collage supplies.  And the weather was great...sunny with some morning and evening fog.  Not too cold, except for at night.  But the heater works fine.  And plenty of time to write and dream and contemplate and collage.

Exercising the retreat brings projects to focus.  Puts the project at the top of the list.  I worked on LOOKOUT during my time away from home.  I ordered some, typed up from my journals, and contemplated what I've left out. Here is an excerpt about my time manning a fire lookout in the Clearwater National Forest in the 70s.


From the catwalk the view of Camas Prairie and surrounding mountains: Buffalo Hump, the Gospels and the Seven Devils, is vast and milky. Wind rustles the treetops, ravens croak, and what I imagine to be static, buzzes down forty-five feet of copper wire into the ground below. It’s completely quiet otherwise, with the exception of Jack moving about the tower, opening cupboards, checking out the attic crawlspace, the drawers beneath the bed, the Osborn Firefinder. I’m leaning over the railing of the catwalk, taking in my new surroundings, everything tinted with sunset light. The weather station, American flag, roof of the Avocado-green bread truck, the outhouse in the woods to the west. My stomach is full of jitters. I know I’ll hear my own heart pounding when I lay down to sleep tonight. That and coyotes, and perhaps distant thunder. And of course, Jack’s steady breathing next to me, which will make me feel safe, I know this to be true.

Below is one of the photos I shot of Silver Lake.  The fall colors were gorgeous...the light perfect. The last time I was there on a art retreat, I went swimming.  Not this time, but I did go out in a paddle boat and explored the shore.  It was warm enough to roll up my pants and take off my jacket.  Delicious fall weather.  

Hope you are able to feed your creative side soon and enjoy a retreat. Cheers for the arts! Nancy http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/silver-lake/

Silver Lake, Washington Photo by N. Canyon




1 comment:

susanissima said...

Nancy, your time away sounds lovely and thanks for the link. Changing one's creative space is a wonderful idea, and doing that alone even more so. xo