Tuesday, November 04, 2008

La Muse: Day 1

I arrived at La Muse writers and artists retreat at midnight last night, so this could still be counted as day one. My journey took rather longer than expected, do to trains being stuck in tunnels between Spain and France, and then more trains not arriving, leaving me sitting for 3 hours on the floor of Narbonne Station, watching the last episode of Mad Men season two on my laptop!

I was a little distressed about it all, not used to being a lone traveller any more, especially not a long traveller with a stupidly heavy case on wheels, when French railway stations seem to pride themselves on their many and steep flights of stairs to get from Platform A to Platform B. Disabled access? A little lacking. But I was assisted by helping hands from behind on every staircase, kind French men who insisted on heaving up my stupidly heavy case for me! That made it all much more bearable. (I gave a free copy of my book to a lovely Austrian guy who went far beyond the call of duty and carried my bag up many many steps when we were forced, because of the stuck train, to get a lift by car from a wonderful French couple from Spain over the border to France to get to the next station. Thank you, A, if you are out there!)

OK. La Muse. Wow. Pictures (taken with new digital camera purchased specially for this purpose):
This is La Muse.
The view.
My living room - just one of the three rooms that are all mine - bathroom (with bath and shower), bedroom and enormous living room with a view of the wooded hills from four windows.

The bed. Large, and with what appears to be the fleece of several sheep to guard against the cold.

I met my fellow retreaters this morning, Susan Pogorzetski, a writer, and Cynthia Morris, writer and artist. (there is also Shahnaz, who was here for October and decided to stay on through La Muse's barter system). We have only met briefly, more later I hope.) We had a get-together with John, who runs La Muse together with his wife Kerry (who will appear tomorrow). Did we have any questions about the ten pages of "guidelines" we had been giving? Reading them at midnight last night was a little nerve-wracking, but ultimately they are about protecting us and making sure we can get as much work done, in peace and quiet, as possible, and that we respect the place and each other.

I do hope it's a productive, inspiring month for all of us. I am nervous I won't make the most of it, but those nerves, obviously, are completely self-destructive. Whatever I do, it's already good. I feel relaxed, the twitch under my eye that has been bugging me for two weeks has gone overnight. (So it wasn't the coffee, yippee!).

I will blog when I feel like it, which might be daily, might not. Not committing to anything!

I just stopped typing for a second and...

complete silence.



Women Rule Writer said...

It looks lovely. I hope it's a happy, productive stay for you, Tania.

Sarah Hilary said...

Oh wow. It looks amazing. I love that you have so much private space. And silence. I'm sure this will be conducive to all you want to get done. Enjoy!

Vanessa Gebbie said...

How wonderful! Enjoy...

make lots of words!

Nik's Blog said...

It looks fab, Tania. Enjoy your stay!


Anonymous said...

Your pictures are absolutely beautiful and I can't wait to read your stories. It's such a pleasure meeting you and I'm thrilled to be a part of this wonderful journey with you for the creativity that's been shared and the inspiration provided. Best of luck for lots of inspiration and, most of all, continued success!

-Susan Pogorzelski

SueG said...

Looks terrific! Enjoy yourself and I'm sure you'll be incredibly productive!