Comments on seeking retreat
commentson 10 November 2003 : 17:24, kat sez:

Try Craigslist for cabin and room rentals.

If you need to go really cheap do hostels....

Point Reyes Hostel

commentson 10 November 2003 : 17:31, justin sez:

Craig's List for cabins - that's a great idea, thanks Kat. I think I want a cabin, as opposed to a hostel, because I want some privacy. Though I've stayed at the Point Reyes Hostel before - breathtaking, fantastic location.

Hopefully if I'm willing to drive far enough, and live in a small enough room, with few enough amenities, I can find somewhere I can afford to stay for a few weeks.

commentson 10 November 2003 : 17:57, C(h)ristine sez:

Sounds like you're looking for a residency at a writing colony! The most famous being of course, MacDowell up in the Northeast.

This past summer, I spent a week at Squaw Valley for a writer's conference, and it was the most inspiring/motivating writing experience for me!

That said -- there are some good retreats in the Bay Area/Northern California (I think Zen Gulch is one of them)? A quick search on the net for writing colonies should do the trick. They are terrific, -- a friend of mine went to Blue Mountain on the East Coast for 4 weeks and it was writing bliss, she said. These writing colonies generally give you your own private writing space, usually in the form of a cabin, and they provide your meals, etc. They are generally free and are supported by grants, but you do have to apply.

If you find a place, let me know -- I'm looking for a not-too-far place myself! (All the ones I know about are on the East Coast or up in Washington and Oregon).

commentson 10 November 2003 : 21:25, Fleischman sez:

I don't live in California, so I don't have any suggestions for location, but I am definitely behind the idea 100%! Good call. I knew you would figure this "thing" out, and this seems like a great direction to go in. We don't call you "The Blogfather" for just any old reason. You've earned it in spades. Good luck.

commentson 10 November 2003 : 23:23, Tibor sez:

like fleischmann, i don“t have any adress for you, but i really enjoyed reading your blog when you took the days of in japan that winter.

so, not only your novel and other projects improved from that kind of isolation, but also your weblog.

make sure that you have at least a slow (maybe via cellphone?) internet connection, so you can update your blog every now and then, photos later.

all the best,


commentson 11 November 2003 : 00:32, Joćo Bambu sez:

Sounds like a good writing plan, Justin. Now that you mention it, seems like when we are plugged into the grid, there are too many distractions which eschew our focus and unlet us from riting right.

I recall visiting Hemingway's home in Key West. The tour guide informed us that ol' Papa kept a light writing schedule from 6am-12noon. That is, he spent the rest of his time fishing marlin and getting hammered at the REAL Sloppy Joes.

His writing room was across from the house, a rampant connected them, and inside he had his trophies from Africa on display.

Writing seems like you have a homework assignment that is never complete. A Madmen's work, a torturous pleasure, an invitation to the depths of our remembrances and comprehension.

Maybe you are at the point of taking a writing retreat, after all, some time most past, and maybe being sick isn't so bad?

I think Dostoevsky and other writers did some of their best work, sick.

I know having recently being injured in a car accident, almost losing my life, caused some of my most potent writing and activity.


Make sure you don't crash your car on the way, and that Kathy Bates isn't nearby to drag you into her cozy home.

That could be painful.

commentson 11 November 2003 : 07:11, Ellen sez:

The Bukowski route? Single-man motels, Los Angeles or surrounding? Big bottles of booze? Exciting barflies? No fellow writers or the ghosts of old "great American novel" writers long deceased to influence your thinking? Or course, if you follow someone else's course to great writing, will that lead you on their same path? Maybe it's not such a great idea.

commentson 11 November 2003 : 07:46, C(h)ristine sez:

a directory of writer's colonies:

commentson 11 November 2003 : 08:57, justin sez:

I saw that Christine, after you mentioned it. Some specialize in culinary writing, with sponsorships from egg and poultry companies. Some focus on social justice. Each one wants a series of short essays on why you are worth putting up. Of course you get subsidized lodging out of that. But my main concern is that I want to sit down to write in December, or January. And most of these programs are asking you to apply, and then wait. Some were accepting applications now for 2005! That's some long term planning for this short attention span writer.

commentson 11 November 2003 : 10:07, denise sez:

i would say to find a cheap place anywhere from bodega bay to mendecino. it's perfect in the winter. (and it's the off season)

commentson 11 November 2003 : 11:23, Simon sez:

Thoreau's "Walden; Or life in the woods" came to mind when reading this posting. Perhaps his thoughts could be to some inspiration for you?

commentson 11 November 2003 : 15:57, C(h)ristine sez:

Yah -- I guess the writing colony scene can get pretty competitive!

If you're looking quick -- there are plenty of beautiful places along the northern California coast. Sea Ranch, Bodega Bay, Fort Bragg, Mendocino! As someone mentioned before, this is the off-season and I'm sure landlords and property owners are happy to rent.

In the summertime, I suggest Lake Tahoe -- lots of cabin owners are happy to rent at a reduced rent in that off-season.

commentson 11 November 2003 : 16:19, judith sez:

you might like frogwood ( - it's near booneville & the owners are willing to trade volunteer time for lodging sometimes.

commentson 11 November 2003 : 18:54, justin sez:

Judith - Frogwood looks neat - I'll give them a call.

Seasons are an interesting thing to watch in this retreat seeking business - this month seems to be between popular times, but the Holidays and the start of snow mean places are priced up for weekend skiers.

I'm offering myself as a weekday resident at weekend lodges.

commentson 12 November 2003 : 12:32, Joćo Bambu sez:

"I wanted only to try to live in accord with
the promptings which came from my true self.
Why was that so very difficult"

commentson 12 November 2003 : 12:33, Joao Bambu sez:

Each man's life represents a road towards himself, an
attempt at such a road, the intimidation of a path.
No man has ever been entirely and completely himself.
Yet each one strives to become that--one in an awkward,
the other in a more intelligent way, each as best as he
can. Each man carries the vestiges of his birth--the slime
and eggshells of his primeval past--with him to the end
of his days. Some never become human, remaining frog,
lizard, ant. Some are human above the waist, fish below.
Each represents a gamble on the part of nature in creation
of the human. We all share the same origin, our mothers; all
of us come in at the same door. But each of us--experiments
of the depths--strives towards his own destiny. We can
understand one another; but each of us is able to interpret
himself to himself alone.

commentson 12 November 2003 : 12:37, Alan sez:

I say bundle up and head for the mountains. From the Bay Area, you can get up to the Sierra in three hours or so and rent a cabin in Strawberry. You can avoid the pricey cabins and look for the less expensive spots -- all of which are in a lovely valley tucked into the mountains. It's where I'd be headed if I could take myself on a winter-time retreat.

commentson 12 November 2003 : 22:59, Fleischman sez:

My pajamas smell.

commentson 13 November 2003 : 00:50, Andy K sez:

Nice quote, Joao. Sounds like an English translation of Hesse's preface to DEMIAN? "Das Leben jedes Menschen ist ein Weg zu sich selber hin, der Versuch eines Weges, die Andeutung eines Pfades. Kein Mensch ist jemals ganz und gar er selbst gewesen; jeder strebt dennoch es zu werden, einer dumpf, einer leichter, jeder wie er kann."

commentson 13 November 2003 : 01:12, Andy K. sez:

As for retreat, Justin, no. Stay where you are and renounce. Otherwise you risk a lifetime of increasingly devastating attraction-avoidance cycles.

February 2005 - comments are closed on Thanks.