where the writers are

Retreat

Retreat

I’ve never been to a writers’ retreat, so I've invented my own.

My favorite retreat is my usual writer’s seat: It's a big comfortable living room armchair, facing the bank of windows which give onto the west side of the 600-square-foot balcony of our apartment.

There's an apartment building a fair distance away from ours, so I can't see into their windows and they can't see into mine. The apartments up this way are surrounded by pine and spruce, in the summer interspersed with leaves of birch and other hardwoods. The highway, which isn't all that far away, can't be heard through the phalanx of trees. Night and morning they are sentinels, silhouetted against the lighter sky, an embankment of protection.

My husband and I live on the seventh floor of our building, which sits on the highest point in Halifax. On good mornings, if you walk around the corner of the balcony, you'll see a sunrise. Grey clouds are imprinted on robin’s-egg blue streaks, and salmon, pink and yellow intersect the blue.

On good evenings, from the living room, you'll see a sunset of vivid yellows and oranges that fade to washed watercolors. At night, the lights of the city twinkle and glitter below us, and yellow light gleams in friendly fashion from apartment windows here and there, and homes in the distance, in among the wooded areas.

Our living room is softly furnished in golds and browns, a soothing backdrop, and my husband’s familiar paintings hang on walls across from each other. There is a bookcase beside me, loaded with my some of my favorite reading and a few knickknacks.

My laptop sits on the coffee table, occasionally on my lap, while the television blares in the background. I tune out the noise, in my own world, and glance up from time to time to view the occasional program.

My husband sits on the sofa, knitting dishcloths or making coasters to give away, and we comment occasionally, but don’t talk. I get impatient when the phone rings and takes me out of my mood.

I’ve never had the opportunity to write at a retreat and have someone critique it, nor have I read my work to a group of strangers.

I work alone.

When I finish writing, I read it to my husband. With a mild comment, he lets me know if he likes it.

I hit submit.

© Copyright 2011 by Barbara Pottie Holmes

Comments
21 Comment count
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I Submit

I often have an urge to write some pithy thought down on - what is this anyway, air? - and send it flying into the universe to see who might want to snag it down from wherever it is and read it, but I hit Enter on my computer keyboard. So, Enter I do into a further world of mind meeting mind in the electronic bugscape of internet friendship. zot, zot, bvvvvppp. All that in the span of time it takes to assemble a thought while I sit on my red sofa with my laptop on my laptop keeping me warm.

Thanks for describing your aerie. It's very peaceful sounding.

Cheers,
Christine

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Airy thoughts from the aerie ...

... and I was going to make eagle sounds, but that's taking it too far.

It's my haven, and to add to the peaceful atmosphere, my husband doesn't watch sports! What more can one ask (unless you like sports)?

Always love your comments!

Best,

Barb

 

 

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Hooked on word: aerie

Didn't know what "aerie" meant, but looked it up and it's discriptive. My comment is second generation in that it reflects on the originator who writes and hits "send."
M Stripling

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Sounds like a great,

Sounds like a great, expansive view. Good for thinking and dreaming.

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Thanks for your comment, Catherine ...

... it is a great view and a good thinking place. I feel very fortunate.

Best,

Barb

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your apartment sounds devine

Hey Barb

Nice balcony. I haven't ever really gone to a retreat either. I went to some meetup group to talk about writing because I thought I should get 'involved' in the writing scene. It became apparent that writing is a solitary experience but when you hit submit you have the redroom to feed you. Love to read your pieces. I haven't written in a while but will get back to it.

Charon

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I agree about the solitary thing ...

... not sure I would do well in a writing group, actually.

Been missing your blog!

Thanks as ever for your comments.

Barb

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Should you ever tire .

And should ever tire of that magnificence - which personally I can't imagine! - there's always the comings and goings of the hundreds of curious lives in those apartments across from you, and how they influence each others' worlds knowingly and unknowingly; I'm thinking Krzysztof Kieslowski's film phenomena 'The Decalogue'.

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I confess I haven't seen The Decalogue ...

... but you're right: it's fun to imagine other peoples lives, what's going on behind the windows, and making up stories about my neighbors (over there!) is a delicious starting point.

Thanks for your comment!

Barb

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Perfect retreat

Sounds like you have the perfect retreat within your own mind, and apparently that's all it takes - always enjoy your posts.

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You have me there, Lynn ...

... that's where I do most of my hiding out!

Thank you for your comment.

Barb

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Sanctuary

Barb,

Your home is beautiful, a sanctuary for contemplation, writing, and rest. I'm envious of your balcony and inspiring view.

I truly hope you win the contest.

Jules

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Jules ...

... Sanctuary much. (Sorry, couldn't help it.)

I'm truly grateful for this place - you get to have a nicer home, I discovered, when the kids are all gone!

I appreciate your thought and always your comments.

Barb

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Perfect private retreat

Sounds lovely, Barb! I've always wanted to attend a writers' retreat, but there is no reason I can't create my own private retreat. Now if only I could get my husband to knit quietly while I write. :-)

I love the beauty and simplicity of your writing style.

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Thanks, Roxanne ...

... I appreciate your comment, and got a giggle out of trying to picture most husbands knitting quietly.

Barb

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Writer's retreat

What a lovely description of the view from the bank of windows in your apartment, an inspirational view, enough to draw words from the depth of you onto the page. Your short piece drew me in, a good sign. I belong to two critique groups that meet every month (for which I am grateful), so I feel qualifiied in saying that your writing is very good. Are there any classes in your area? I was able to get my creative writing certificate through a local college's extension program. Talk about workshopping and critiquing! If you have a thick skin (and you better, if you're a serious writer), you'll learn a lot and notice things about your work that you would never have noticed on your own. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog post. Take care and happy writing.

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Margaret, thank you so much ...

... for your comment.

I've been putting down my writing, even though comments like yours are so encouraging. I know I need to step through the door, cast fear aside and get more involved, and get the critiquing I foolishly fear.

Again, thanks for taking the trouble to offer that comment!

Barb

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Writing/fear

Hi Barb. At least posting on Red Room keeps your thoughts flowing and your talent alive. You'll know when the time is right to venture through that door.

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Margaret, thanks again ...

... you're lighting a fire!

Barb

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Retreating

Barb,

What a treat of a retreat! Thanks for treating me!

Eva

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Miss Eva:

You're a treat yourself! Thank you - I always love your comments.

Barb