Friday. I'm on the second day of a 7 day writer's retreat. Drove down on Wednesday, about 2 hrs south of Sydney, to stay in a little Airb&b I've rented. I'm not calling Wednesday a first day, because by the time I finally found the place, checked in, it was just after 6:30pm. All I wanted to do was have a bite, a bath and get under the sheets. Listen to the rain and the surf, which although a 10 min walk away, was loud, like it was washing up right under the window.
I'm in a suburban area, in a two story townhouse across the street from a community centre for 'older people' made up of long rows of uniform brown brick buildings, each with a tiny garden out front. (not the romantic bush retreat I had in mind) And at first glance I'm thinking 'what have I done?' Mind you there weren't many options that would take Trevor and I - my Jack Russell Terrier cross.
And yet it's the neutrality of the place and being anonymous that's helped to ease the tension around beginning - what everyone calls - the dreaded second novel. You've scaled the mountain, swam the entire lake or hiked across the plains whichever suits your fancy and you know the turmoil and lurking creatures you're about to meet on the way. But you have no choice, so it's best to get a move on.
Yesterday, I went through various research files, notes and little scenes I'd been collecting in Scrivener. There were a few good bits, but nothing did it for me. The person who wrote them, has slipped away. No longer here, looking out the floor length window as I write this.
In front, there's a willow tree, it's leaves being gently blown, respite from the storm that raged last night. But the rain's started in again. The sky pewter grey and could be called miserable if I had to go out into it. If I wasn't safe, tucked up inside in my PJ's drinking coffee.
Needless to say this stalling, writing the blog, checking notes, is all part of the build up, part of the muscle flexing, part of the calling in the muse, lurking, waiting, poised to help deliver a first draft. Preparing myself to be immersed in the early decades of the 19th century, where I'll be trapped for at least a year. If not longer!