Nearly two months ago, I submitted an application for a writer’s retreat scheduled for later this year. I put a lot of thought and effort into that application, even though I wasn’t sure at the time how much I wanted to attend the retreat. And then I forgot about it, for a month or so.

But friends kept brining it up and mentioning how great it would be to go. The more I thought about it, and the more I looked at past retreat photos online and learned about the property itself, the more I started to get excited about the possibility, too. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I really really wanted to go.

As the date of expected notification approached, I found myself checking my email much more frequently than normal. I wondered if my references had been contacted, or if my application had been rejected or disqualified from the start.

But I kept daydreaming about the property. About the work I hoped to do there. About the dark skies at night. I’ve been making mental inventories of what I want to pack for a two-week retreat in another state, and the timing of getting my car checked out before heading out on the road.

It’s been more than two years since I spent a night under another roof. Oddly, that last time away was at another retreat—Rainforest Writers—in February 2020, shortly before the pandemic began. Since then, I’ve been almost entirely housebound, though M has had two weeklong roadtrips in just the last six months. I have been longing for a new adventure, but afraid to reach out. What if I got sick while away? What if I brought Covid back home to M? These are not insignificant concerns.

But I believe I can venture out safely. I can do a writing retreat and take precautions. I need this. I need the space and time away in order to focus on this project that’s both important and complex. I also need a new experience, and M deserves to have some time on his own in the house.

So I keep checking my email. There’s been no word yet, and I’ve been trying to distract myself from the anxious anticipation with reading, with playing games of Wordscapes, and with planning a possible solo retreat if my pending application is turned down. Because when you want something, and when you need something, you don’t have to be wholly reliant on the permission or acceptance of others. You can find your own way forward.

My first choice is to attend this particular retreat, and I do keep checking my email, hoping for good news. But I’m looking forward to carving out this time and space for myself, either way.

Posted in thoughts from the spiral, writing & publishing.

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