I did it. I holed up in a cabin for four days all by myself and did nothing but write. I doubt that I even thought about anything else besides my story and, every 6 or 7 hours, food. That’s the beauty of retreating, hiding from life.
I wonder what my life would be like if I only wrote. On day 1.5 I heard a voice and realized it was me, talking to myself. Mumbling, narrating, out loud. On day 2.25 I shook that off and became completely silent, monk-like. Only my characters spoke. And danced. And coupled. And argued. And learned from each other by weaving together the threads of their made-up lives. They thrived on my silence.
My mind was quiet and emptied of all normal life. No one asked me to do anything or made any demands on my time. I didn’t have to cook (though I baked some homemade bread). I didn’t have to clean (though I rinsed the dishes to deter the parade of ants). I didn’t have to go to work (though I argue that writing, currently noted as ‘Laura’s hobby,’ is hard work). I didn’t have to find a quiet place to write (the only noise was rain on the roof alternating with birdsong). It was all surreal.
I did bathe. Once.
I did eat. Twice each 24 hour block.
I did sleep. Remarkably well but not on any typical schedule.
The scientist in me demands a report of the data. Here’s the breakdown:
In 3.5 days, I wrote for 32.5 hours.
In 32.5 hours, I revised 248 pages, adding 5500 words.
Those 5500 words were a net increase that included deletion of 1500 words.
Following this fourth full revision, INFINITY LINE now rests at 73,500 words.
I also wrote a query letter and a synopsis. That’s amazing, I say, and thanks entirely to the blank canvas of my retreated mind.
Today is Friday the 13th which means I have earned my Big Mac. I ate it on the way home. I have special sauce on my special white shorts.
Now I’m back in the real world and it still just looks the same, smells the same, sounds the same. Trees, lake, flowers, deer, Mike, butter, coffee, Windex, cake, Buffalo sauce, college world series, golf, HGTV, Elton. Yet there’s a new dimension, a place where I can go because I know the way. I can get deep down into my mind if I just imagine my cabin in the woods, my unwashed hair and make-up free face, my sore shoulders hunched up from typing faster than my fingers can find the keys, the sore twin dents by my nose from hours of wearing these glasses, my sore neck from tilting back to read through the bottom of the progressive lenses, my tired, tired, tired eyes. I can get back there. I know the way.