Monday, August 24, 2015

Writer's Retreat Complete

I just got back from my first writers' retreat in lovely Gilmanton, NH. I had two full days of writing up in the peaceful farm country of NH with the ladies' from my writing group in a historic country home.

Going into this, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd set myself up for this wonderful, productive weekend, drinking wine, typing out page after page, and then settling down for dinner with more wine and a rousing discussion of our progress followed by a heated game of cards. It sounds perfect, right? But you never know if that's what will really happen. However in this case, it did. I got thirty-five pages written and learned a new card game.

The house, for starters, was lovely. Although built in 1790, it was purchased by the owner's grandmother in 1930, and I swear to you, nothing has changed since then apart from the necessities like plumbing and wifi. It still featured the ornate wallpapers of the art deco age and the beds with mattresses atop rusty, metal springs. It was like staying in a museum, and we were pretty sure the house was coated in lead paint, which is fine, since none of us like to eat paint chips.

As proof of its age, at that far door in the foyer, there are penciled in lines marking different children's heights with the name and the year. They went on both sides of the molding and onto the closet door.
There were also shelves of musty old books, including some first editions.

The house was large enough to accommodate more than the five of us, and we all were able to claim our own writing nook. I started in the gazebo here.
But to combat the sun, I had to keep my laptop screen on bright, which drained the battery pretty quickly. I moved inside for a while, and after lunch, decided to explore the barn. And that was where I found my place.
From there I had absolute quiet, a nice summer breeze and a view of the woods. After poking around a bit more, I also found it had its own "bathroom," an indoor outhouse. Betcha haven't seen one of these in a while...if ever. And in case you're wondering, yes I used it just to say that I have peed in an outhouse.
In my previous post, I mentioned the creepy dollhouse upstairs and its creepy little doll residents.
They were there, of course, as horrifying as promised, and they had a friend.

For some unholy reason, one of my friends actually wanted to sleep in this room, even after we had a discussion about how scary doll horror movies are. A terrible idea to talk about right before bed, by the way, when you are with a group of people known for vivid imaginations. 

As expected, sometime in the night, she heard scurrying, and as much as she hated doing it, she used the flashlight on her phone to check the dolls, making sure they were snug in their tiny beds. Another writer didn't even mess around. She slept the entire night with the light on. 

But apart from the few moments of terror, creaking walls, and the highway traffic rolling by at night, we really had a fun and productive time. We're already planning our next retreat, and if you have the urge to stay in an old, historic house to get the creative juices flowing, here's the listing. Bill was an awesome host.

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