Writer’s Retreat

I recently found out I was accepted into a writer’s retreat! I’ll have a cabin to myself, meals provided, in the middle of the Pisgah National Forest. “Excited” doesn’t even scratch the surface. I’m not sure I can stand to wait until spring.

I already started making lists and getting organized for the residency. My book will be in the publisher’s hands by then, so I’ll use the residency weeks to write something new. I have a contest, an anthology, and a novel in mind, and I’m interested to see how much I can get done without the distractions of everyday life. I won’t even have internet access, which means no time-wasting on clickbait.

I made reservations for a one-night stay in a state park so I can break up the drive, and the new camper top on my truck will make a cozy home for that night. A fiberglass shell over a pickup truck isn’t exactly luxurious, but I’m certain it’ll be warmer and quieter than a tent. I sprung for a waterfront campsite— only $3 extra for the night— and look forward to a good time and a great view.

The total drive from my house to the cabin will be 10+ hours, and I’m a little worried about how my back will react. I bought a Tuft & Needle mattress (made in the USA!) for my truck, so hopefully between that and a lot of hiking and stretching, I can work out any issues. I’m not nervous about going alone, but I imagine there’ll come a time—probably sooner than I think— when I get homesick. Perhaps, for the first time in my life, I’ll attempt to use Facetime.

Those two weeks, in my mind’s eye, go like this: run, write, hike, write, hike, write, sleep, repeat. And eat like a pig, because that’s what I do even when I’m not hiking daily. I got some new hiking socks— also made in the USA!— and already have an extensive food list for the trip. The facility will provide all of my meals free (these funded residencies are awesome), but I know myself well enough to know three times a day isn’t enough feeding time for me. Smurfette has a King Cab, and her jump seats will be covered in boxes of fruit, nuts, jerky, trail mix, and coffee. I’m so ready to go!

So far my work will appear in three books within twelve months— one nonfiction book that’s entirely mine, plus essays in two different anthologies. This whole thing— the books, the residency, the daily experiences— is living the dream for me, and I’ve finally worked myself into a place in life that I truly love. Happiness and gratefulness feel really, really good.

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