Turns Out It Was the Sobbing Thing...

I'm back and so glad to be home! My house! My food! My husband! My cats! My TV! All here waiting for me... Life is good.

I'm laughing to myself as I think about composing this blog entry. What to say and how to say it so I don't come off appearing shallow and um, shallow. Oh, there's no hope for it. The truth will out!

I arrived Monday morning and settled into the cabin. Adorable, as you can see from the pictures. Snug, cozy and best of all, there were two full journals of entries from prior "cabin dweller's" as we're referred to by the people on outside.jpgtop of the hill who run the non-profit corportate retreats.  I read a few entries and was comforted by what I found--prior artists just like me who were worried about wasting their WildAcres opportunity, were wondering if they really had anything to say and--also like me--were wondering if it was entirely safe out there in the wild? (There were also numerous entries about the little ring snakes and carpenter ants those in the summer months had to contend with. I wrangled with a beetle and a spider large enough to topple King Kong but other than that, the critters gave me the all clear).

It felt..odd...being in the cabin. I didn't know where to sit or what I should do with myself.  I decidedp1010001.jpg I would spend some time just reading over my work so as to get in the groove.  I found myself in an intense hour-long writing session where the words just flowed. And had the added benefit that even 5 days later when I read them again, I still liked them.

The next day, Tuesday, was a good day. I got up and went straight to work. Worked unti about 2 then went for a two hour hike. (Why do forest people put smiling little cartoon snakes on path signs? If they're trying to make us feel welcome, it's not working...)  Came back, showered, a little more work and then dinner "up the hill."

It was 7:30 when I arrived back at the cabin. Still early. I tried to work a little more but felt burnt on that so I read. Lots of reading. And went to bed. Pretty much the same pattern on Wednesday except I noticed by Wednesday afternoon I was starting to view the cabin not as a hiatus, but as a prison.  More on this later.

p1010009.jpgI'd mentioned in my previous blog entry that I was looking forward to this time away as a means of finding out my "real" work schedule. Turns out my natural rhythm is in harmony with how my life is currently set out. I am not a late night writer. There were no 3 AM "Eureka!" moments.  I was still up early and exercised a bit before work. I was not interested in working much past 7 PM (although I did have one productive night where I made it until 9:30). But it turns out I am an early morning/early afternoon writer after all.

The biggest benefit gained from the cabin is learning how much time I take away from my writing due to distranctions.  At the cabin, there were 4 options - work, read, sleep, hike.  And at nighttime and on the days it rained, there were three.  Many was the time I didn't feel like working. I'd already worked 5 hours--I deserved a break, right? But there was nothing else to do so--sigh--I pulled the lapout back out. And accomplished a ton of work.

That doesn't happen at home where if I don't feel like working there is e-mail, TV, radio, I-pod, cats, laundry, mail, etc. to grab my attention. What I found is that even if I didn't feel like working, quite often once I sat down and got into it,  I didn't mind.  It made me realize just how often I don't "sit down" and give myself the chance to get into the work.

Even with that being said, nighttimes were rough for me. I longed for distraction and conversation. I was essentially alone 22-23 hours of each day.  By dusk, I was ready to talk and laugh and just be mindless. I almost broke down and drove to the nearest Wal-Mart 30 minutes away to purchase a video to watch on my laptop.  I intensely missed Blair and the cats. I took my cell phone up the hill where there was reception and left messages on my home and best friends answering machines, begging them to call me. When my friend Trisha called Tuesday evening she remarked, "I heard a little Jack Nicholson from The Shining in your tone. Everything okay there up in the hills?"

Tomorrow: How I became one with the spirit of early settlers who experienced the malady known as "Cabin Fever."