I went to sleep around 11, ignored my alarm at 6 and slept all the way to 7 o’clock. This is more sleep than I’ve had in a single go since… ever. The bed isn’t amazingly comfortable, so all I can figure is, it’s the break in routine. It’s literally not having anything else to do (no dogs to walk, no laundry to start, no dishes from the night before to half-heartedly rinse and cram into the dishwasher. No freaking responses to grade). For the most part I’ve been avoiding social media, and other than the odd text here and there from my husband, friends have known to stay away.
This is the beauty of the writing retreat.
By the time I was on my feet, my brain was telling me it was WAY TOO LATE in the day to have not had caffeine, and so I wrangled with the coffee pot, which is like a Keurig but a different brand, for a good fifteen minutes. The first cup came out with a smear of grounds, so I disassembled the whole thing, rinsed every part in the sink and started over. Some previous Air BnB guest apparently thought the grounds needed to be poured into the water canister. The second cup: drinkable. The third: back on solid ground.
And ready to go.
I’ve got to write the third of Jolene’s new scenes (which upon thinking this through as I held the coffee maker under the tap, is probably two scenes, with one large time jump).
Traditional wedding vows
Hit music from the early 90s
Carseat laws 1990
Synonyms for “devastating”
1:57. Think I finally finished with Jolene’s scenes, in first draft form. Word count total for the last 21 hours: 8500.
My brain feels a little fried.
I’ve been trying to get up after every 1,000 words and take 1,000 steps, so right now I’m at 4K steps. Haven’t left the house yet. There’s not really a need, except fresh air, etc. It’s a good thing I stopped worrying about what others thought about me, because I’m sure with the shades drawn and the lack of movement, my hosts think I’m pretty weird.
Also weird: There’s no trash can here, except for a tiny one in the bathroom meant to hold Q-tips and a very decorative canister by the font door that is possibly an umbrella holder, and neither seems like a good place for my coffee grounds and on-the-go soup containers. There doesn’t appear to be a place to recycle anything, either. Right now I have my trash neatly stacked on the countertop, in hopes of coming across a trash bag.
I also had time to browse the books on the tiniest book shelf: mostly self-help titles. What Color is Your Parachute? Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. 40 Days to a Life of G.O.L.D. Leadership by the Book. There’s a sneering, judgmental part of me that looks at those titles and laughs. And then there’s the more practical, writerly side of me who realizes that those books probably made way more money than my little yet-to-be-finished manuscript will ever make.
Also, there’s a copy of Beloved and The Thirteenth Tale, in case I get bored.
The self-help library.
I took a nice break—laid down but didn’t sleep, went out for dinner and I’m back. Hoping to get a good amount of work in yet tonight. These won’t be new scenes, but revised and rewritten ones. I’m following an idea I had in October but couldn’t do much with until now. I’d simply made a note of it in the composition book I carried in my bag all semester and let the idea sit. It was a pretty big “what if?” and I liked it, although it turned some of the things I thought I knew about my main character on their head.
It’s at least a small bit terrifying to go back to these scenes, one my agent has already seen, and flip the script, as it were. It’s still experimental at this phase.
Called it a night around 11 o’clock. Or, tried to. There’s an Air BnB apartment above me, too, and that was the time that the people (at least two) above me decided to start moving furniture around. What other explanation for the scraping of heavy objects above me? But I read for a bit—toggling between The Great Alone and The Artist’s Way, which seemed apropos (and THIS is a self-help book I can get behind, if it’s appropriate to call TAW a self-help book), and eventually the furniture must have been arranged to their liking, and everyone went to sleep. Including me.
Paula Treick DeBoard