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Monday, 10 November - link

seeking retreat

In January 2002, I left Tokyo for the rural north of Japan. Put most of my stuff in storage, taking only my laptop, camera and winter clothes up to Akita-ken. There I stayed in an inn that was a few hundreds of years old. No internet, but there were hot springs. Each day I cooked a little something, worked on my writing, took a bath, cooked a little something and worked on my writing. I later left for a nearby town of around 30,000; there I did more writing between meals with friends and strangers.

I was taking a stab at an idea I'd had for a novel. I had restricted my activities on purpose - no appointments to make, no readily available internet. What I did for fun was to keep track of the number of words I was writing, in a spread sheet. Each day before I started, I would count to see how much I had written the day before. And then I made a graph:


Looking back now, this chart shows me that I worked best when I was "off the grid" - my one month in Akita I wrote over 20,000 words. That's not much by NaNoWriMo standards, but it was a great feeling for me as someone aspiring to write longer things.

I'm feeling a similar longing again. Winter is coming, as the Stark family says. So, I'm thinking about a retreat. Flying to Japan and taking a train to Akita seems silly. Plus I remember getting seriously ill there - blood in my urine, sweat soaked alone hours away from medicine or doctors. Stupid worn out from pushing my body hard in baths and snow.

Ahem. Becoming aware of my own tendency to drive myself to illness, I want to find someplace closer to my home in Oakland, maybe within five hours drive, where I might take my computer and curl up in front of a great window and a fireplace, cook light meals, take walks, and work on some writing. Internet optional, not preferred. A cabin with electricity. Reasonably inexpensive - not luxury, but some warmth so I don't freeze. Any suggestions?

Posted on 10 November 2003 : 16:57 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.