This past week, I retreated up to an artist’s center in the N.C. mountains to get some writing done. This is a practice my mother refers to as a “taking a vacation.”
But it wasn’t a vacation, not in the sense that she means.
Those of us who write (or do other creative work that requires focus) for a living might have a hard time explaining to people who don’t why it is important to get away—to retreat—every once in a while to get some work done. After all, can’t you just write anyplace?
Answer: It’s complicated.
I retreated to a place that had internet for maybe two hours a day. It had, and I am not kidding, NO CELL RECEPTION for my carrier. (I heard rumors that one certain carrier had okay reception. Harrumph.) The retreat prepared three good meals a day and rang a bell to remind you to come eat them in a dining hall. (With white table cloths! Also, I forget to eat sometimes so I really liked the bell.) There were so few cars that they just let their chickens run around free.
I would write from 6:30am until 11pm and then collapse into my bed and do it again the next day. IT WAS AWESOME. It was a privilege, an amazing gift, something that most of us rarely, if ever, will get to do. So why do it?