Friday, June 30, 2017

Let's Get Away From it All

You’ve won a month-long, all-expenses-paid writing retreat. Where would you go and why?

by Paul D. Marks

Well, it depends what you mean by “retreat.” When I was younger one of my dreams was to take a little boat up and down the Amazon. Go exploring by day, writing at night. Now that I’m older and more into the creature comforts that dream doesn’t quite have the allure it used to.

And like Susan, Hawaii sounds nice. But I’ve spent a lot of time there over the years. I even wanted to live there for a time (actually I did live there…sort of…for a time). And while it might be nice to go back I don’t think I’d want to go there for my retreat.

Ireland might be nice. That’s someplace I haven’t been that I’d like to go – I like rainy weather. And I have a good friend from the old days who moved there. She might be able to put me up – and put up with me for a month. Maybe…

Another place I want to go so bad I can taste it, as my mom used to say, is Istanbul. I have this thing about Roman history and would love to go there to see Byzantium history. But I’m not sure it’s the place I would go for a peaceful writer’s retreat.

"Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"

There’s always Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, but with my luck The Thing from Another Planet would rear its carrot-topped head and have me for brunch. Until that happened I suppose it would be quiet and peaceful. Though that would probably make it a little too spooky to write.

Superman at the Fortress of Solitude. (Can Jerry Seinfeld be far behind?)

I used to SCUBA dive. And it’s pretty quiet and peaceful under water (unless you’re being eaten by a shark or being shot at from a boat above), but probably a little hard to write a whole novel on a diver’s slate. Though it’s a thought.

I’ve also heard that the Overlook Hotel in Colorado is a good place for a writer to retreat to. Quiet and peaceful in the off season.

The serene writer on retreat at the Overlook Hotel.

If I could time travel like Owen Wilson did in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, there’s a couple places I might go: Shakespeare and Company in Paris, itself. Though with the ghosts of Sylvia Beach and Hemingway it might be a little too spooky to get much writing done there. Still, if I went there I could always say, “We’ll always have Paris.” And Raymond Chandler’s 1940s L.A. Though between Bugsy Siegel, Jack Dragna and Mickey Cohen and the bullets flying it might not be the best place to write either.

So, where would I ultimately go? I would book a cabin on a cargo ship/freighter. Many of them carry passengers, but usually only up to twelve. I love the sea. For the most part it would be peaceful and quiet as opposed to a regular cruise ship which is my idea of hell with nowhere to go. I’d bring a laptop and tablet, lots of books and movies. And Amy and the dogs. Now I know in reality you’re not allowed to bring dogs unless you ship them as cargo, but since this is my fantasy I can do whatever I want – and damn it, the dogs are coming!


And now for the usual BSP:


RJ Harlick said...

Of course, the dogs are going with you. But you didn't mention your preferred destination or are you content roaming the ocean blue?

AJ Wilcox said...

Having been in the Marine Corp, I don't care if I ever get on a ship again...

Nice thoughts Paul. A quiet place to think is in a camper by a lake in the woods.

Dj Adamson said...

I find when I go on retreat, I am too busy enjoying than working. I have been to Istanbul. Magical.
Always great getting your newsleter, Paul.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks for your comment, RJ. The dogs are a must! No preferred destination. I just like being on the open sea…as long as there’s a satellite connection to the internet, of course.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, AJ. Well, on the freighter you won’t have anyone shouting orders at your and you’ll have your own stateroom. That should help, no? A camper by a lake sounds nice too, but there could be another camper next to you so I’m sticking with the ocean.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, glad you like the newsletter, Diann. And ditto re: yours. I think after today there will be something else to put in it. I do know what you mean about enjoying the location too much so you don’t get the writing done. That’s one of the good things about being on a ship. And I envy you your trip to Istanbul. Would love to hear about it some time.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

The cargo ship beats the Overlook Hotel.

Paul D. Marks said...

I think anything would beat the Overlook Hotel, Dieter ;-) .

Caitlind Alexander said...

I think I would feel confined on a cargo ship with all those containers taking up so much space. And the open ocean isn't my idea of great. I think I would prefer a nice, quiet cabin in the woods by a cool lake, stream gurgling nearby, and no mosquitoes or other bugs (hey, if you can have the dogs, I can kill all the bugs).