The Retreat

Sometimes I need to be alone. You know, grab a cup of coffee, find a quiet space and reflect. The opportunity comes about once a year when I visit my in-laws in Mexico. I only speak a little Spanish (Solo hablo un poco de espaƱol), so I can’t immerse myself in conversations. I typically find a project during these visits; they become a creative retreat.

My father-in-law’s office is in the front of the house. The white walls are lined with bookshelves filled with an assortment of titles related to his career as a school principal. There are a few darkly framed, darkly lit pictures on the walls at various heights. He offers the space freely. (Mi oficina es tu oficina.)

Five years ago I started writing an essay about my recovery from a brain injury. The first essay led to a second essay. A structure materialized. This book didn’t begin with a plan; I began with a desire.

Last year, I finished the first draft of the book, got feedback from the Alberta Writer’s Guild, and this year I completed the second draft. The book has a new structure and an additional 20,000 words. This year will be about editing and finding a publisher.

Wish me luck!

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