the writer retreats

As I roll over into a new decade, my life has inexplicably become quite hectic and busy. Aren’t things supposed to slow down as you get older? I guess I should be grateful, and I am. But sometimes you have to step back from everything, at least once a year or so. I already did that back in April, when I went to Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. But I’m going to do it again. I decided that the week of my birthday should not be a week I release a new book and all the nonsense that goes with that. Instead it will be a week of retreat and reflection, pure writing for the sake of writing, and unlimited hiking in the autumn landscape of upstate New York.

Yes, I’m going back there again. I know I was just there in July, but I can’t help it, that crazy stretch of stretch of state between Binghamton and Buffalo is my spiritual home, so I keep getting drawn back. My very understanding husband has given his blessing, probably because he knows there’s very little trouble I can get into in that bucolic and quiet part of the country. I’m just going to go and recharge, and pick apples, and read a bunch of books, and maybe write something meaningful. Like the moth to the flame, I have to stay somewhere religious, so I’ll be staying near a monastery—the Abbey at Genessee—but in a retreat house a little ways away, so it will be a different experience, I think, than Gethsemani.  (I still have mixed feelings about my time there; I had some great moments, but on the whole was disappointed by it, there seemed a sterility and coolness to it, associated, perhaps with its popularity as a sort of Catholic tourist spot. Genessee has a claim to fame, being the subject of a book by Henri Nouwen, (which reminds me, I should write a post about him, he’s a very interesting writer) but I’m hoping it will have more of a welcoming, authentic feel.  Maybe I’ll become a monastery reviewer!

In any case, I will be out of communication for a while, since I’ve also vowed to stay off the Internet all week—will have to hide my iPhone somewhere. Prepare for a major onslaught of words when I return!


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