Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dreaming of Walden

replica of the inside of Thoreau's cabin
By Keith N Fisher

As a writer, you should know what Walden is, or was. In one source I read, the property on the pond was part of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s estate. Henry David Thoreau was a struggling writer who hadn’t really found his voice. In my source, Emerson, a transcendentalist, took Thoreau under his wing and suggested he go camping on the property.

Thoreau built a cabin on the shores and wrote his popular book, Walden. He said,
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Those were the days before computers, and the Internet. Writers put their words on paper with a pen or pencil. Typesetters put those words into print. It was a time when telephones were an oddity. Yet Thoreau needed to get away. He needed a writer’s retreat. Of course he went on to become one of the great trancendentalists and he wrote about nature, so going to the woods was research for him.

Today, writers live in the rat race. A lot of research is done with Google and Wikipedia. Most of us write on a computer and we never leave the wheel in our cages. Some of us have discovered writer’s retreats. Along with conferences, the event is used to network with other writers, but a good retreat will also provide an opportunity to do nothing but write. It’s a chance to get off the wheel, and out of our cages for a while.

Thoreau opted for solitude. Perhaps it was the right idea, since there is a lot to be said for being alone. He got away from the distractions we all face. Some of us, however, need to fraternize. Wouldn’t it be nice to have it both ways?

I’m not talking about coal oil lamps and outhouses, but to get away from phones and the Internet, to let nature recharge you, and get some writing done. Can you imagine twenty minutes under the shade of tall trees, writing or listening to a successful writer expound the finer points of the craft?

In our little daydream, we could take a walk in nature to clear the cobwebs for inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, Writer’s conferences, and retreats with WIFI have their place, but think of the benefits of getting away.

When I become rich and famous, (a state that becomes more abstract with each passing year). When I am rich and famous, I want a place in the woods like the one I found at icetrend. The pictures below show the perfect writing place. Can you imagine the screened porch as a glassed in area with a writing desk in the center? Set the cabin on the banks of a deep blue lake, or a tropical beach, and you understand my dream.

Now, I realize, nobody is fancy free. Not really anyway. Our lives are interconnected with others who depend on us. We must remain available to them. May I suggest a retreat in a campground somewhere? We could camp or rent a cabin. WIFI and phone service would be available. Hot showers and even a Dutch oven meal or two. It would be cheaper than other retreats. Are you in?

Recently, I asked this question in several places on Facebook and got a few responses. I took names, preferences, and needs. I’m considering campgrounds and looking into sponsoring an event like this. I will ask a few special guests to come and make brief presentations it should be wonderful.

I’ll keep you in the loop, but plan on summer.

Until then, good luck with your writing—see you next week.



Unknown said...

Oh, What beautiful places to just get away and write. I loved your post.

Unknown said...

That's a wonderfully refreshing idea.