Friday, June 27, 2008

Making a Literary Life: Dream Vacations

Yes, Amy is on vacation this week, enjoying the rustic charms of northern New England (and maybe L.L. Bean, but we don't know for sure). There are literary colonies -- planned and spontaneous -- almost everywhere, across the globe and across time as well. If you could plan a truly literary vacation, where -- or when -- would you go?

Ah, I am officially one dimensional. I've been waking to breakfast at Wimbledon on TV each morning this week, so I can't help myself. A tennis/writing vacation? I'll take it. Rise at five. Write three hours. Hit the courts for a the rest of the morning. Lunch, then nap, then a glass of wine and quiet writing time until dinner is served. Admit it, that sounds nice, doesn't it?

Is it literary of me to start with place and work backward to the authors? Paris is my place, and I would love to go back in time to meet Hemingway. He's not my favorite author ever, but I went through that stage of actively disliking him in junior high and most of high school, then was turned around by a brilliant teacher my senior year. I suspect he didn't chit-chat about his process per se, but that's okay. Listening to him ramble about working out a new story would have been an education.

I've been toying with the idea of applying to a writers' retreat, something that would have been much easier to do sans husband and children. La Muse in France, or the Blue Mountain Center. Wow, just writing them down makes me feel more relaxed. As for writers I'd love to talk with, for me, the choice came down to contemporary writers whose work I admire and who I hold in high regard. I'd go with Ian McEwan or Margot Livesey. Coffee anyone?


Eileen said...

There is a writer's retreat in Banaff Canada. High in the rocky mountains each writer gets a cabin. Assistants drop off picnic baskets with fresh bread, fruit and other snacks at the door in the morning. In the evening the writers gather for dinner and doing readings of works in progress. I suspect there is wine. This whole idea consumes me with envy.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

What time shall I meet you there? Consumed with envy--yes!


Anonymous said...

I dream of one day joining Jennifer Louden at The Writer's Spa in Taos, New Mexico. I've always loved writing, but I truly fell in love with the craft about ten years ago after reading Natalie Godlberg's "Writing Down the Bones" where she talks about writing in the cafes of New Mexico. Even if I have to wait until my kids grow up, I know my notebook and I will make our way there one day. Banff, on the other hand, isn't so far from me. My girlfriend and I once spent an afternoon canoeing around Lake Louise with peanut butter sandwiches. That writer's retreat sounds pretty dreamy too.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of a writer's retreat. I have heard they can be better than large conferences. I think I need to plan my own personal writing retreat. Or perhaps it would be nice to get just a few friends together and do our own.