Tuesday, September 14, 2010

mountains, horses, Proust

On Friday my writing group partner came by and we headed west to the mountains for the weekend. It's been a couple of years since I've been, so I was completely thrilled with the opportunity to visit a new little mountain town. We took the parkway for a good portion of the drive and as usual, the winding road, the sound of rushing water, and the exposed rock faces immediately put me into a creative space. (I once wrote an entire section of novel while driving in the mountains with all the windows down, pulling over at every turn-around to write in longhand in my notebook, fast, as I tried to keep up with the story that came pouring out)

We stayed in a nice lodge/inn:

and while D. went to her book festival I was able to edit and read and listen to the rain on Saturday while alternating between room and porch. It was truly lovely to have that uninterrupted span of time. Sunday we took a longer but much more scenic route home and saw several beautiful waterfalls:

It was wonderful having a break and wonderful to come back home to horses and the entire family. And now that I've got a handle on this heel pain, and temps are generally good in the mornings (we're still getting into the 90s some days) I think it's time to step back into the stirrups and enjoy some forward motion on the Big Bay.

The horses are all waking up after the summer heat. And I haven't forgotten the promised photos, but since I wasn't the one who took them, I have to wait patiently until they get sent to me! They are worth it, I think!

Last night I went to the first meeting of my Proust group. I read Proust in my mid-twenties, by myself, and when I learned that one of my favorite local writer/editors was putting together a group to read the entire work of Proust over the course of a year, I couldn't wait to sign up. We have 8 members, will meet weekly to talk about the pages we've read, and are encouraged to turn in our own work for feedback (a real treat, since Judy is a gifted editor). One member is reading Proust in French (!) and the rest of us are reading the new Lydia Davis translation, which I'm loving already.

From this week's reading:

A sleeping man holds in a circle around him the sequence of the hours, the order of the years and worlds.

Reading Proust is like watching our butterfly bush this time of year. There are so many flowers, pockets of sunshine and shadow, and butterfly wings moving all over the bush, coming, going, lighting, as though the bush itself is blooming with life, and one thing leads you to another thing, and before long you've been pulled into a sort of enchantment that takes you outside time.

The world expands from the moment into every direction and back again.

When I first read Proust my life was very different than it is now, and I'm eager to experience reading him at 50, from the perspective of being a mother to teens and living in the company of all these incredible animals.


Jenn said...

Oh, what a beautiful place to write! It always amazes me what the outside views do for my inside creativity. The more inspiring and serene the space, the more the voices inside clamor to be released onto the pages.

I so need a writing "break" or a group or something. I'm in a funk. :(

I have not read Proust since college, but, like many of the authors I read first in high school then later in my 30s, I'm sure the meanings and perspective would be quite different to me now than then.

billie said...

I'm working on a web-based weekly writing group that is geared to get writers out of the funk and into forward motion... I'll have a link to it here when it's ready, so if that's something you think might be useful, keep an eye out for it.

Máire said...

Lovely, to be able to take a weekend away like that. It is so important to take these breaks to reinspire, at least I find it is and it is something I do not do enough.

billie said...

It is important and I typically don't wait so long between trips to the mtns! I have a long weekend trip with my children sometime in October, so it will be lovely to go again so soon... and a writing retreat at Weymouth (not mtns but wonderful nonetheless) in November. This fall is full of retreat time. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

The waterfalls and their sound would naturally be inspiring to anyone but particularly a writer. Gorgeous scenery with the solitude of the woods surrounding you must have been the most wonderful retreat and just what's needed to inspire creative thoughts. I'm glad you got to go on your mountain retreat and are planning more time away. Every now and then a break from routine is needed.

Matthew said...

Beautiful pictures and story. The mountains are always an inspiration, aren't they?

billie said...

Thanks, Arlene - it was truly nice to get away for a bit.

billie said...

Thanks, Matthew, for holding down the fort so I could go!