Every once in a while, I take a writer’s retreat. It is expensed, almost entirely, to my husband.
Tomorrow is once, and it’s been a while.
Here’s what happens:
Before the retreat, I tidy my office. My office is the front room of the house. The previous owner, I believe, used the space as both a formal dining room and a sitting room. It is large, with a writing desk, credenza, filing cabinet, art desk, copier, shelving, and a recliner. There is also a round dining table, boxes of inventory, paper, and on and on. And on. This is a luxury, and I fully recognize it. You see, in Oklahoma, we have every incentive to build out, not up. An attendant problem with this office is that it can become disorderly at the drop of a hat. [Who dropped a hat in my office? Why do Nerf darts litter the floor? There is a tool box in my office. What on earth made you think I’d use tools? WHO manually sharpened pencils onto the carpet less than a foot from the electric sharpener? WHY ARE THERE SHOES UNDER MY DESK?!? I DO NOT WEAR SHOES!]
Where was I? Oh, yes, pre-retreat preparations. First, I shovel everyone else’s stuff out of the room. Then, I file or hide every single article of home/work life that is disjoined from the purpose of the retreat. I dust the surfaces. I put away all art supplies unnecessary to the process and bring my medications, acetaminophen, a soft blanket, a pillow, and sundry snacks to my newly cleaned sanctuary. Then I stare down my domestic
hindrances helpers and dare them to defile the space.
Actually, I don’t. They’ll take even a bad dare. One that will get them in a ton of trouble. There is no staring.
Because, you see, this is a big, big staycation with drastic meaning for my career! Dial that back. It’s great and awesome and I LOVES it. And I may knock out many, many words. And did I mention I love it?
So, this go around, my husband slated TWO DAYS OF VACATION so that he can be my domestic
autobot representative while I retreat.
For four days – Thursday through Sunday – I am not in my home. Oh, no. I am in the tranquility and comfort of a luxury retreat. The children magic into servants who are only allowed in my presence when I ring a bell. I know, right? Deep magic. I have no responsibilities to anyone, really. I might write all night, sleep an hour, and write some more. I might decide I NEVER NEED SLEEP, until I tragically die of sleep deprivation. I may ring the bell when I’m hungry and food just might appear.
And I will gaze fixedly at my screen. And I will stick ALL THE STICKY NOTES. And I will love my work, hate my work, give up, and get back to it more times than I will count.
And, supposing I don’t die of sleep deprivation, I will emerge from my chrysalis a grubbier, stinkier, twitchier butterfly! Most importantly, WITH WORDS.
With gratitude to my cohabitants, without whom I could not properly function