December 8th, 2008

writerly

Process Update

My hive mind doesn't generally follow my blog, being unconnected from my usual circle of writers. Still, they're my hive mind. In some form or other, I've been part of this hive mind for several years now. This past year was not a good year for all of us getting together on a regular basis. Life has intervened quite a bit for several members. But I don't think that has anything to do with my lack of productivity. I think that blame is on my shoulders, for taking on nonfiction work that ended up lasting the better part of a year.

That said, the second Annual Markham Retreat was held this past weekend. Only 3 members of the mind were able to attend, so we are scheduling a second retreat the first weekend in January, where up to six will attend from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, a 48 hour extravaganza of writing and communal meals. This was much shorter. I arrived first at almost 1pm and worked to 4pm on Sunday, so it was just over 24 hours. Karin arrived at about 3pm, when Jennifer and I stopped to eat. I usually stay in a separate apartment over the garage by myself, but we were so few that I didn't feel claustrophobic this time. In fact, I had a better vibe in the big house.

The house sits on 8 acres with a pond and dogs, but the weather was inhospitable for the walks I took last year. Cloudy and snow flurries on Saturday, windy and cold on Sunday. There is only one "neighbor" and the mountains surround the property. It's far more isolated than mine. Unlike last year, I kept in touch with The Dude by ichat through most of it. The house is a crazy quilt. The builder made a log house from a kit and then added onto it a more conventional house. It has stairs that go to different sections and blind alleys and dead ends and secret passages that put you where you don't expect to be. The "window" in the bathroom associated with the guest bedrooms is a sheet of plywood behind plantation shutters because otherwise, it would look down on a living room. There's a corkscrew staircase leading up to our bedrooms. Light from downstairs can be seen through the floorboards.

If that weren't enough, Jennifer was once a caterer, so we always have something special, like eggs benedict florentine with eggs from my chickens for Sunday brunch. I bring a pot of homemade soup which simmers.

Now that you have the ambiance, back to my process. Collapse )