Oh, yes, I also wrote a section of a book I've been playing with. That's the ostensible reason for going to the place. Writerly seclusion. How about a more realistic description: the time to do nothing I didn't want to do. I ate when and what I wanted, slept when I was sleepy, and nibbled in some of the books, devoured others. I went "downtown" to adjacent Westcliff for lunch, looked into some of the shops--little or nothing there smacks of big business--and bought an interesting stone to take home and a lovely necklace made from a mineral I had not seen before. When we left the cottage on Sunday morning, I took Route 69 toward home and marveled every hundred yards at the open fields, still green and full of new calves, a pair of stunning paint horses, then the drama of bare wild rock and the attention grabbing road that slithers through the land near the Arkansas River. I had a moment of envy over the number of rafters spilling down the river. But mostly, I felt happy to be going home after a restful and somewhat productive weekend.
I've been to communal retreats, made friends with other writers, listened closely to the leaders of workshops and seminars, focused on the readings, and written like a mad woman, forcing each moment at the retreat to yield WORK. Not so at Bloomsbury. No one drives me to write anything. Even my critical self backs off and I really do relax. So when you look at the ads in writers' magazines for retreats that ask for your work in advance to see if you are worthy, or charge you a hefty sum for the privilege of being there, think hard about the word retreat: "the act of withdrawing." (American Heritage). Retreats that actually ask you to engage might be better called Advances. Not the same thing at all.