Writing retreats, like writing conferences, are con jobs. If you want to write, then you should write. And here’s how you can retreat yourself:
e. Never get too down (or up) on your work. Just keep writing. A few words is enough.
f. Be active. You have to get out and circulate your fluids.g. Entertain yourself. Good books are the best, films too. (Just remember that connections – phones, internet, TV – are absolutely vorboten.)
I do my work-out in a room full of mirrors. My head bobs up and down over a small blank TV screen, up and down, and I look back at myself staring back, up and down, my face there and then not, and then another room behind that, like this one, but backwards, the back of my head behind that. It’s a pair of me, and another, another and another, the room warping off in a limitless arc, as if on a space station, or so I tell myself, in limbo. I am on this machine almost every day. It’s good for my lungs and heart and my mind. An hour every day. No sprints and hills for me. I cannot run. I ruined my knees years ago on my bike trip with Adam Davidson. We stopped at Zermatt for a day of skiing on the Matterhorn. I had never skied before, but it was July, and it was father’s favorite mountain. I was out of control – like the rest of the trip – and crashed again and again and eventually completely wiped out and tore up my knee. But I digress. I am on this elliptical machine every day with these mirrors, reflecting, thinking. That’s the point. That’s where I sort everything out. That’s where I thought about this.