Sunday, October 24, 2010

Retreating from the Retreat OR the Retreat That Wasn't

     Ah, Friday, and time to retreat! Lady and I headed for Lake Ouachita, not too far from here, and reputed to be a lovely spot. It wasn't far, and it was lovely, BUT. Always the disclaimer. The picnic area was totally inaccessible for Lady. Backed into the parking area, she was faced with a sharp drop-off over a concrete wall and nowhere to go but down.
     All right, there's always Plan B. Off again to the scenic overlook we'd visited before. We hadn't been there long, mostly time enough to get 'set up' and ready for the day, when car #1 arrived. These nice folks were down for a week from Buffalo NY, and we had a nice conversation. When they got ready to leave, I moved the car (the turn-around is a tight squeeze), and the driver maneuvered expertly past me with a wave and a smile.
     Comes out the laptop...and comes car #2. These folks (locals, wouldn't you know?) stroll to the overlook where they view the scenery for perhaps 10 seconds (I'm not exaggerating) and stroll back to their car. I asked if they could get out. "I don't know" came the rather frosty answer. I moved the car again, but they made no attempt to go around me. Ended up driving totally out of the overlook area, down the road, turning around, and coming back.
     Back to laptop. Lady slumbers peacefully under the Trailblazer amid fallen leaves. Arrives car #3. At this point, I give up. Packing everything up, not forgetting my disturbed dog, I find myself hemmed in by these folks and spend awhile inching forward, inching backward, etc. until I am able to make a get-away.
     Obviously, Plans A and B are off the table forever. However, I did get some writing done at home, and after some reflection, I find the following analogy for writing in general:
     With the best planning, the best of intentions, the best effort, we put our words down and sit back, only to find the first attempt 'inaccessible' for submission...and frustrated by unpleasant disturbances. The characters are wooden, the plot is stagnant, the story is going nowhere. Sometimes all we can do is pack up and move on. Hopefully,there'll be a new day, a new place in our writer's mind, and a successful outcome.
     Meanwhile, the words of an old song echo mournfully:
Will I find a place,
a little space,
that's meant for only me?


Carolyn B said...


Just wanted to say Hi and let you know I really enjoy your blog. Love your title: retreating from the retreat. Also, I'm so jealous! Even your day that didn't go exactly as planned sounds lovely.

Carolyn Paul Branch

K9friend said...

You must have felt so frustrated to have your lovely writing retreat evaporate right before your eyes. Don't give up...try again before the weather becomes too unfriendly!