On Saturday, I drove about three hours to a small town in Minnesota (pop. 1,200) to retreat from friends, family, work, distractions, responsibility, chain restaurants for the week so that I can focus on my novel. I have so been looking forward to this! And now that I am here, I am even more excited.
This town is one of the sweetest little things ever. You can drive from one end of it to the other in about 20 seconds since the town covers about 1.5 square miles. I ventured out to find the grocery store and eventually located the large (and old) brown building proudly claiming to be “Dean’s Country Market.” Inside, the far left is a gift shop and the right is the grocery store. I was looking for some Advil, but instead I found two choices: low-dose aspirin or some kind of “non-aspirin”-labelled bottle. Love the variety and selection! Oh, and the taxidermy on the walls in the meat department!
For those of you who don’t know, I am not actually a Minneapolis native. In fact, I grew up in a small town much like the one I’m retreating in now, so all of the small-town-life makes me smile and think fondly of where I grew up. It also makes me think of Green Lake, the fictional Minnesota town where my novel takes place. This week will be a wonderful reminder of what life is like for West, my protagonist. It also reminds me that Silas, my character who just moved there from a large city, should probably be a little more shell-shocked.
I’m happy and snug in a tiny BRIGHT GOLD bungalow. I am so unused to complete solitude that I keep imagining that someone is going to come over/drop by, and it’s just not true. I honestly believe that I could stay in this house for the next seven days, and I would see no one and hear nothing but the bark of the neighbor dog and the rustle of the train on the nearby tracks. Even though I am an introvert, I feel quite sure that I will be lonely by Saturday. Leave me lots of blog comments this week so I don’t feel so alone!
At the same time, right now I am thrilled to be alone. The days are stretching out before me with such a promise of productivity. This week will be about words. I plan to write and edit like a maniac, and when my creativity dwindles, I will read the books I brought along, and when my mind can’t process anymore, I will sleep– lovely, deep, long bouts of sleep from which I will allow myself to wake up naturally. Who cares if I sleep till noon and then am awake till three AM? I am all alone.
When I retreated this past summer, I was in Hudson, Wisconsin, so I had access to a Target, Dunn Bros, Perkins, and even home, since I was only 45 minutes away. This week, if I am people-starved, I will head to the public library, the cultural center, the Eagles Cafe, or the Bake Shoppe. The people at the cultural center (where I checked in and got the house key) are so nice that I want to just shoot the breeze with them like one of the locals.
My hope for this week is to revise as many chapters of my novel as possible. I just finished revising chapters 1-4 based on feedback from my writing group, but– nice timing, right?– I am headed into this week to revise chapters that have not yet been critiqued. I am hoping that I will have great intuition!
Leave an encouraging comment– I need human interaction and encouragement this week!