ADVANCING TO THE RETREAT, Part I: In the Plans


August 17, 2012

“You’re kidding,” I said, staring into my laptop screen. “Unbelievable,”

Hotwire nodded “her” head.

“Yep,” she assured me with a wink. “You can stay at the Westin for sixty dollars a night.”

Thanks to my sweet fiancé, I would get to spend my writing retreat away from home. (Did I mention the man’s smoking-hot?)

The search for the ideal writing retreat started three weeks ago — three grueling weeks left before the end of the second summer-school session. Thanks to my gift of imagination, I have made do with home-based retreats in which I stocked the kitchen with yummy groceries and forced myself to leave the bed unmade and laundry and dishes unwashed. The only thing I couldn’t let slide was Russet, my feisty, two-year-old Finnish Spitz/Shepherd mix.

Oh, but this time, having more money in the bank, I decided that, if I tightened my belt, I just might be able to throw together a combination retreat/vacay before the onslaught of the fall semester.

Since money was an object, I logged onto Facebook and polled both my “tribe” of fellow writers for suggestions that met my guidelines. The location had to be quiet, maybe even solitary.

“A campground might work,” offered one member after I told him that I was thinking of taking my dog.

“How about a day trip on the Trinity Railway Express?” suggested another.

“Granbury has some really cozy bed-and-breakfast inns,” commented a female writer.

As with the people who contributed them, all suggestions were creative and well-suited to a writer’s focus.

Entertaining even more possibilities, I priced a ticket to Austin on Amtrak, as I imagined myself mingling with the artsy Sixth Street music crowd, or even holing up in a salt-and-sand-covered beach condo in Port Aransas.

Oh, but wait, I reminded self. How will I mollify Russet in those strange surroundings and stay focused? Little darling though she is, she is still a distraction.

“Hey, babe, see what you can find on http://www.kayak.com,” said my sweetie. “It will help you compare the rates Priceline, Expedia, or Hotwire offers. ”

As soon as I put another semester to bed, I sat down at my laptop and let Von lead me through the steps to finding a room. Sure enough, after pointing here and clicking there, Voila! I had lined up a reservation for two nights at a four-star hotel.

With My plans made, all I have to do is pack. Ah, but that’s a whole new blog.

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