|sunset, Manzanita Oregon|
Hello! Before any writing retreat stuff:
IT'S HERE, IT'S HERE! NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS!!!
It's a Kindle Single, which is hugely exciting! I hope new readers may discover my world of Daughter of Smoke & Bone by way of Zuzana and Mik. You can get it for Kindle or Nook, from many library e-collections, and independent bookseller websites, and to be honest I'm not exactly sure where else because I'm not a user of e-readers. But I hope it is easy to find! I had the most incredibly fun time writing this piece. Would that writing could always be so delightful. I really hope you enjoy reading it!
And now, my writing retreat ...
With a final-final-final-no-really-actually-final deadline upon me, I had to do something drastic. And that something drastic was go away. For a week. Ulp. A week. That's a long time! My wonderful husband had, fortunately for me, just met a harrowing deadline of his own and was free to hold down the fort. Free and willing, which is key. (Thank you so much, my love.) I've "retreated" three times before, always for 2-3 days, always at a hotel in downtown Portland, just minutes from home. The productivity was insane. But I needed productivity of uber-insanity. I needed the week. And I didn't really want to be in a weenie little hotel room for a week if I didn't have to be, with traffic sounds outside etc, and walls pressing in, so I decided to go to the coast and stretch out a bit.
From Portland, it's about an hour and a half to the coast, a lovely drive through farmland and forest.
I didn't realize until I was on my way what a weird full circle it was. I began writing DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE in earnest on a mini-retreat several years ago with two local writer friends, Lisa Schroeder and LK Madigan. Hm. No, not several. Considering that I was just barely pregnant with Clementine at the time, I suppose it was five years ago. Crazy. On that trip, the mountain pass was scary-snowy as I recall. It was January. I'd been hungering to start this book for months, and finally was free to let myself.
The first scene I ever wrote of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE (after the initial freewrite that was its inspiration) was the scene where Karou first goes to Marrakesh to meet Izil. I wrote it in Manzanita, and it was back to Manzanita I went in hopes of wrapping up the trilogy.
I love Manzanita ...
I took a suite at the Inn at Manzanita, steps from the beach. It was the top floor of this cottage:
An unexpected bonus, a baby dragon lived right outside,
and peered in the window at me all day long:
Isn't that crazy? It's not trimmed to look like that. Completely serendipitous wild tree dragon. LOVE.
Besides the dragon, I had, for company, one fox in short trousers.
His tag says: "Sit back and relax. I'm here to finish the book for you. Go eat some fries!" He came in a care package mailed to the hotel by my wonderful best friend, Alexandra. Also included: bath salts, caramels, fuzzy socks, and other wonderful goodies. I was so spoiled! Also received beautiful inspiration flowers from Jim and Clementine:
I arrived Sunday afternoon and got all set up. One of the first things I did was tape my calendar page to the window beside me, along with my check-list. Hopefully I've blurred it beyond readability:
You guys know the calendar/sticker trick, right?
What that calendar shows is ... monumental for me. A monumental feat of retreat. In six days, I wrote:
That's huge for me. HUGE. HUuUuUuUuUuUGE.
It was such a huge luxury to be able to do this. It is, I know, a mainstay of many writers' creative process. It's harder for some people to manage than others. Hardest for moms, maybe. And probably most critical and luxurious for moms too! I missed Jim and Clementine like crazy, and was missed in return. It's not easy! But I can't stress enough what a godsend this was, this week of full immersion. I'm not kidding that it would have taken me at least a month to write this much in the ordinary routine, and that's if it was reallllllly flowing, and there were no Clementine sick days/weeks (because come on, it's never just a day!) or any other of life's little surprises. Or, you know, non-surprises, like a house to maintain, meals to worry about, etcetera.
I'm back home now and still working away, striving to make this book everything I dream it to be. I'm reburying my head in the sand for the next couple of weeks to continue to immerse myself in it until it is really and truly finished and polished, and in the meantime, I really really hope you enjoy NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS!
|Jim & Clementine came to meet me at the tail end of the retreat; here: Oswald West State Park. So beautiful!|
And now good night. My head misses my pillow.
They're not getting a lot of quality time together lately!
Theirs was a love torn apart by deadline ...