I write at my dining room table. It is cluttered with journals, note books, books I am reading, my knitting, empty boxes I haven’t tossed yet. Oh, yes, and a half finished chocolate bar. There is a coffee cup there as well, but I don’t consider that clutter.
I, like Mr. Sheldon, am working on the final phase of a manuscript. And, like Mr. Sheldon, I have to kill off a beloved character. How I long to be somewhere neat and clean, where someone else does the housework and the cooking. I could sit for hours without distractions, going over the manuscript and making necessary and often difficult changes.
This time I get my wish. Tomorrow my daughter and I are leaving for a three day sabbatical.
For the last few years we have attended a weekend writers’ conference together. We write very different things, so there aren’t many conferences that we can both attend. We missed it this year because we didn’t want to drive for hours, or pay for flying. This mid-week respite will do in its place.
I have reserved two nights at a local retreat house. We can sit in the room or the library or under the trees and write, uninterrupted. I’m not sure about my daughter, but I have set myself a schedule. I have 15 stories to whip into shape. I will do three a day, morning, afternoon, and evening. I don’t plan to finish, but I do plan to get half done and make most of the tougher decisions. One of the most difficult decisions concerns Charles’ death. I have put off writing about it for 20 years.
I don’t know if I am more excited about the writing or being where someone else does the cooking. I just hope we get home without meeting any of our number one fans.
I’d love to hear from any of you who have taken such a sabbatical. Was it useful, refreshing, restorative? Did you get lots of work done? Would you do it again?