For a variety of reasons, mostly familial, I've been whipped lately. This retreat is truly a retreat from life for me, a chance to withdraw from the daily tasks that scream for attention but will be unhearable in a rented house a hundred or so miles from home. Last year I looked ten years older and square that for how I felt by the time we pulled into Glen Rose. (NaNoWriMo had more than a little to do with that.) The time spent at the cabin went a long way toward a cure. This year I look a little better (we won't mention my hair), largely because I haven't run out of moisturizer like I managed to do in November 2009, but my edges are nearly as ragged. Bring on the countryside, the reams of fresh paper, and most of all, the luxury of time with no more commitment than half of dinner Sunday night.
The emails have been flying the past few days as we all anticipate this getaway. Some of them are warnings (Julie cautioned that no one better complain if they ask for four pancakes and she delivers three. It is my belief that Julie's life is gorgeous fodder for hilarious women's fiction.) Both Pamela and Joan hinted at possible grouchiness. I pre-authorized the good smackings I'm sure I'll earn, and Joan suggested we just get her deserved smacking over with now. At least Kim and Susan remained cheery, though Kim did threaten her inner Oscar might erupt if her allergies hit.
All this to say, I am really looking forward to throwing my ill-packed bag into the trunk come Friday, and that night sharing a few of the many fresh words I hope my manuscript will have gained by then. To sitting around the table later than my current exhaustion level would recommend, reaching for another chocolate pomegranate seed, and laughing with my gut spilling over my unbuttoned pants. To climbing into a bed I didn't have to make and sleeping as long as I want with no animals to feed or lunches to pack or appointments to keep to force me to rise.
We will all write. That's the main thing, right? You would think so, but I have to admit, a highlight for me is that we plan to dine well. Joan and Pamela promise salmon and steak on Friday night. Susan's husband is making venison lasagna to accompany one of Julie's famed salads and wonderful fresh bread. We've been promised killer pie, too, courtesy of Ms. Ishmael-Poulos herself, who claims she can't cook. Come Sunday Kim and I plan to deliver the kind of Asian feast my kids covet: all-you-can-eat pot stickers (and chicken and rice and veggies to make it seem somehow less gluttonous). Add to this slabs of cheese, pounds of crackers, piles of fresh fruit, pot after pot of good coffee, and whatever other goodies, alcoholic and otherwise, that we will tuck into our eastbound vehicles.
It's a treat, this retreat. Have I mentioned I can't wait?