I am on a solitary writing retreat at Lorne, a seaside town on the south east coast of Australia. This area is one of the most beautiful places in the world – a land where mountains meet the sea. It is rugged, the beaches are pristine. It is a surfer’s paradise.
The house is set on the side of a mountain in a forest of gum trees so the birds are plentiful. There are tiny blue wrens and brown ones too, magpies, kookaburras, wattle birds, rosellas and a whole flock of sulfur crested cockatoos that sound like a coven of screeching witches. It’s a bird-lover’s paradise.
A retreat like this is essential for a writer. Dinners are simple, housework, non-existent, none of the clutter of everyday life. Once a day I drive to a secluded beach to take the dog for a swim – an estuary where the St George River flows into Bass Strait – and on the way back I might pop into the supermarket. Other than that, I don’t drive or have contact with other people.
I am more mind than body here which gives me the space to think about my novel, to follow a thought through to its conclusion without interruption.
At night I quilt while watching a good DVD.
Is this not a writer’s paradise?