Woman sitting with her head bowed“I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems / Got to open my eyes to everything”
Evanescence, “Bring Me To Life

I spent the past week at a creative writing retreat, one I’ve been to many times. In some ways, it felt like I was spending more time alone; at home, I’ve always got my parents flitting in and out, but somehow, being at Wildacres is different. Even though I was staying in a building that slept 50 other people, when all the doors are closed and everyone is hard at work (or possibly napping), it’s easy to feel isolated.

Of course, then you go to a meal with fifty friends old and new. You’re surrounded by conversation whether you want to be or not. (For the record, I rarely mind, because the conversations tend to be unique and are often pretty fascinating.)

After a few days there, I honestly feel more awake, more present, more alive. I can’t decide precisely why, although I suspect it’s a range of factors: a sense of renewal that comes with a break from news, TV, and internet; the sense of connection with a writing community; even a simple change of scenery, the escape from the ever-present demands of work (a huge disadvantage of working from home — it’s always a few steps away). I feel more confident when I’m there, like I’m a better version of myself.

Unfortunately, the feeling starts to wear off pretty quickly once I get home. Maybe it’s the exhaustion talking, but by mid-afternoon today, I was already starting to feel impossibly cranky and more than a little depressed. I miss my writing people, and I have zero interest in working tomorrow (or possibly ever again). Severe gloom on re-entry is commonly reported by members of our group, but that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. I’m hoping another good night’s sleep will help. If not, I guess I’ll figure out a new strategy tomorrow.

Over and out.

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