After my father’s illness and death and my stalling on my novel-in-progress, I decided I needed a personal writing retreat—both for the writing and the retreating from normal life. A reset point. I do my best recharging by the ocean. It fills me and lets me rest. I kept a journal while I was there.
Day 1: Thursday
This is the first time in my life I’ve taken a vacation by myself for myself. I’ve traveled alone before, but my destination always included meeting up with someone. Whether it was for a convention or a writing retreat, I was never actually alone. I feel a little weird about this. but not bad.
Now that I’ve given myself permission to grieve, to cry, I have no tears and I don’t know why not.
Wandering through a hotel in the middle of the week as the hotel transitions into the off-season reminds me of the Alhambra hotel from THE TALISMAN, the novel by King and Straub. There’s no one around, long empty corridors, and services are limited.
Day 2: Friday
I’ve learned that I need more than a view of the ocean. My dream oceanside home will be close to the shore or on the shore and up high (on a bluff/above the 6th floor of a condo building). I like the hotel I’m in but it’s not close enough to the shoreline for me.
I made the tactical error of not bringing a sweater. Always bring a sweater with you to the ocean. There is always a breeze and it’s usually cold.
Faced my fear and went out to have a meal at one of my favorite restaurants by myself. I was going to get it to go then decided it was silly to not eat there, enjoying the place. Facing one’s fear is hard.
Day 3: Saturday
The words are returning—slowly, haltingly, like learning to walk again. So are the random story ideas. Of course, this random story idea involves a haunted hotel, but not exactly in the normal way.
Another tactical error on my part was forgetting the binoculars. I’m too far away from the shoreline to really get a good look at the kites, flying go carts, and boats on the water. Must remember for next time.
Definitely the off-season now. Limited menus and no lunch service. Good thing I packed food for all breakfasts and lunches.
Day 4: Sunday
I’ve figured out that I can write or not-write just as well at home, but it’s the solitude I’ve needed. I’m not done crying, but I think the worst of it is over. I’ve now written more in the past 2 days than in the past 3 weeks.
I miss my Husband and kitties. I miss the Husband’s cooking. I miss my bed. I’m ready to be home.
Day 5: Monday
I’ve decided to go home a day early. I can write or not-write just as well at home, and I am writing again. So, mission accomplished.
6 days is too long. 5 is long enough. Controlled solitude is healing. I think this has been a good learning vacation. Maybe I’ll do one again next year. Just closer to the ocean shore.