We’ve gone to writer’s conferences together before, a few times. But this is the first time we have gone away, just the three of us, to write. We did it. We left Friday at 1:00 pm, stopped for a nice chatty lunch en route, and drove the two hours to our destination: a little cottage in Peola Valley along Peola Creek. To say this cottage is out in the back country is putting it mildly. Very mildly.
We unpacked our small suitcases and large cooler and were ready to write by 5:15. We wrote for a little while then fixed our dinner. Then we wrote a little more and tried to sleep. A storm was brewing and it unleashed its fury on Peola Valley starting about 1:00 am. The thunder reverberated like nothing I had ever heard. We tried to sleep, unsuccessfully.
Morning came in spite of the rain and we breakfasted and settled in to work in three hour increments. We wrote, we took turns trying to sleep for a few minutes, and we wrote some more. We broke for lunch and noticed the rain had stopped so we went for a little walk. We walked down to the spot where we have to cross the creek to enter and exit the property. When we came in the day before, the creek only trickled across the concrete pass. Today, after 2 ½ inches of rain through the night, the creek was a rushing violent river. We just stared, wide eyed and fearful. Could we actually pass over this creek tomorrow? The owner assured us we could indeed. It goes up fast and comes down fast, he stated confidently.
We went back to work. After a few more hours of punching keys on laptops and scribbling notes in notebooks we took another break and walked to the creek. No improvement. “It will come down fast” he had said. Ha! Well that was a lie! It was a rushing mighty river, the kind children sing about in the song “Deep and Wide”. It was beautiful. And a little frightening.
We strolled back and spent a few minutes attempting to find a spot in the lawn where we might get cell phone coverage. It was like we were stranded in the mid 20th century – no phones, no internet, no egress. We were stuck. We couldn’t leave, which wasn’t a big handicap, we had brought enough food for a week. The day job would beckon come Monday morning, but for now we were stuck.
The lack of technology was hard to deal with. All we could think about was what we needed to look up on the internet! Or who we needed to call.
We could do neither. So we wrote. Perhaps the forces that be were working on behalf of our writing. So we wrote. And we ate. And we laughed. And we discussed writing. And we ate some more.
Saturday evening we visited the creek again, no improvement. Well, tomorrow noon would present an interesting situation.
We walked back to the cottage and fixed dinner. And then we had a fire outside and enjoyed a splendid star display and our stuck situation to the utmost.
Sunday dawned dry and beautiful. The creek pass was slight improved. We felt like noon would find us plowing through the water and heading north. In the meantime we would make ourselves work for another 3 hour segment.
And we did.
Writing is a tedious craft. Like a lot of other crafts. It takes longer to make it through a segment of a book or a series of articles than you think it should. Like a lot of other crafts. And it can be a lonely craft. Like many others.
But then there are the days when it is the best craft of all. (And I hope you feel that way about your craft.) You know, that moment when you type “The End” on your keyboard. Or the moment when you find the phrase that really expresses what you were feeling. Or the moment you let someone read your chapter and they finish and look at you with that “look” of sheer appreciation. Oh those days are nice.
And having a string of days to plow through a serious Writing To-Do list in the company of good friends and good food in a beautiful country setting is just about as good as it gets for this writer.