Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Writer's Retreat

Posted by Lynne Griffin

I admit I work a lot. Yet to me writing is where work and play come together, it's the definition of being in flow. I don't mind working long hours, I often write six days a week. I have no anxiety around spending an entire day on one paragraph or tossing out a whole chapter in favor of going in a new direction with my work-in-progress. I love the challenge of writing the novel, but I still love a good vacation.

Last week, my family and I took our annual trip to Maine. The house we rent lakeside, in the Sebago region just outside Portland, is magical enough to draw my husband and me away from our career and home responsibilities. More astounding is its ability to coax two teenagers away from friends and technology. It's a just us, no TV, no laptop trip, and it has been for fourteen years.

And while you can take the writer out of her office and away from her computer, you can't take the writing away from the writer. Here's a glimpse inside what I call my writer's retreat.

I've always baked a pie using wild Maine blueberries. This year in honor of Patry Francis, author of The Liar's Diary and her tradition of making a pie for the muse, I made my version of the literary blues pie.


Some of us couldn't wait for the after photo to be taken before diving into the pie.

In Portland, ME, in the wonderful independent book shop, Books, Etc... I couldn't resist searching out Tethered. My daughter thought a photo was called for.

Lost in a family game or puzzle, or while sipping a glass of wine from a local vineyard on the dock at sunset, I worked out a structural change in my novel. It was so easy to see things clearly sitting there.

And of course, I read. Thanks to a recommendation from Michael Lowenthal, I've now added another novel to my top ten. Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates is perfection!

I loved The Shack by William P. Young, The Rest of her Life, by Laura Moriarty, and The Unthinkable, by Amanda Ripley, too.

So I'm back now and ready to begin working again in the traditional sense. I still have my memories of the time I spent with the people I hold most dear and I look forward to next year when perhaps I'll walk into Books, Etc... in Portland and find a copy of Life Without Summer on those shelves.


Joanne said...

We just got back too. Like you, we stayed at a cottage we've been visiting for nearly two decades. It's special, isn't it? And the weather had to be the best of the summer. Sigh.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Ah, vacations! Tis the season. Check out Judy Merrill Larson's blog too. After I posted my entry, I hopped over to her blog to find a vacation post there--and a tribute to Amy's Tethered.


Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Lynne--We must have been passing each other in cyberspace! Wonderful, isn't it how a vacation can help us recharge.

Now, I just have to plan a trip for next spring around reading your book!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...


I smiled when I went to your blog today. We are so often on the same page, yes? As for reading Life Without Summer--April 14th is the release date. Let me know where you go. Or maybe I should just meet you in St. Louis!


Patry Francis said...

Sounds like paradise, and those Maine blueberries are so very sweet. It's obvious that your muse was thrilled.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

It is a paradise indeed! As I took my first sweet bite of pie, I thought of you. Hope all is well with you, Patry.