Sunday, 5 October 2008

Chocolate & cheese (A tale of retreat)


I've just come back from a fabulous weekend at Phillip Island, spent with three other members of my writers group. Amusingly, there were several non-writing themes associated with the weekend:

> chocolate, cheese & avo toast
> I want what she's got (aka the cloning of Kirstyn)
> Show me the motorbikes

Ostensibly it was a writing retreat, but with four of us in residence, there was much scope for diversion. The first theme pertains obviously to eating. I believe we toned things down compared with the five-day retreat in August, but we did manage to ingest three entire blocks of chocolate and a massive chocolate cake between four of us over little more than 1.5 days. Add to that a decadent cheese platter, numerous mohito cocktails, plus bottles of Shiraz and a Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora, and it's hard to see exactly where the improvement lay! Nevertheless, we managed to munch through a couple of fruit platters and many slices of avo toast in an attempt to offset the evil.

Kirstyn was entirely to blame for the second theme. I really cannot be held accountable for coveting her possessions, when she flaunts them so shamelessly. If it wasn't enough that she worked all weekend on an Asus Eee computer (I seriously am going to get one of them!), she also brought down her new Zen alarm clock. This is a rather impressive instrument that incorporates a metallic tube that is struck by a small hammer to issue a single note (E). The idea is that you set it for ten minutes before you want to get up, and it strikes the tube with increasing regularity, thereby waking you gently and peacefully. It is only available from Now & Zen in the USA.

Finally, we were very aware of the motorbikes all weekend, given that it was the Phillip Island moto GP. However, they were far fewer than we expected, and we successfully avoided all the traffic, both going down and returning. It did mean that we returned probably a couple of hours earlier than we would have liked, which was made all the worse by the lost hour due to the transition to Daylight Saving, but at least we didn't get stuck in 2-hour traffic jams. (Interestingly, on our way home we passed multitudes of people out with picnics to catch the homebound procession!)

Most importantly, we all got lots of writing done. I spent the weekend on the first chapter of "Act 2" of the rewrite, which is a chapter I've been looking forward to writing for a long time. In total I got about 3000 words done, which is a fantastic return for me. It's just so wonderful to be able to get away from home to focus on writing. Somehow, when I stay home, even if I plan to write, there are so many other things to get in the way. We spent much of today with computers out on the balcony, which was just lovely.

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