But hopefully this doesn't mean the end of productivity!
It's been brilliant having some dedicated time to think about my writing - and also having the space to spread 45 poems all out over the floor without having to move them to go to sleep or let other people use the space. I've been wandering over them clutching a cup of fresh coffee and speaking them outloud to the pond. It feels very indulgent to walk about in socks in my warm little cube, pondering the best order for my poems to go in, and editing ones that aren't quite working, and taking some time just to look and watch through the two sets of french windows. I saw a woodpecker yesterday, a great spotted woodpecker I think, and some sort of bird of prey swooping very low over the site today, flustering the resident crows and jays into an awful lot of noise.
It's going to be hard getting home and having to go back to work - though talking to the other writers here makes me realise how lucky I am to work where I do. It's amazing what people have to put up with in order to make space for time to write, and I feel disproportionately privileged to be where I am, so at least that's nice. There are so many hours in the day that could be spent writing, though, and that's a difficult thing to lose now I've realised I am actually capable of sustaining creativity for a prolonged amount of time.
Saying that, when left to my own devices in the evening the other day, I did go to bed at 10.30pm. 10.30! Ha... that's very early indeed. I think it's got something to do with the lack of noise and telly distraction...my, how I haven't missed telly! (Though I am looking forward to catching up with tonight's Strictly, Casualty, and Merlin. And this week's Holby City. Oh dear. I shouldn't have started thinking about it.) Radio 4, however, I have missed. The radio I brought with me doesn't like to find radio stations, so to stop myself having to listen to white noise, I've been downloading Radio 4 podcasts... and not enough programmes have podcasts!
Anyway, yes. Going on a retreat is a marvellous thing to be able to do, and I would recommend it to anyone who writes/paints/sculpts/draws but who doesn't normally have the time at home to pursue it for a number of days. Even staying this one week has improved my poems no end - especially with Polly's guidance and encouragement - and made me much more confident in what it is I'm trying to say. And much enthused about the possibilities for saying it. And, perhaps most importantly, almost convinced that other people might be interested in hearing it.
So, I'm going to go back to it for the rest of the day, and try to write a poem on the theme of 'naked' for a zine I'd like to be involved in. There's been a lot of editing and reading aloud, but not that much writing this week. This is good, as it's what I was aiming for, but it would be nice to have a couple of new poems to take away with me too. Wish me luck!