Day 9

Well the weather changed during the night. Oh my did the weather change! I curled up in my bed as the wind roared itself into a fury and wished I had a warm body to snuggle up to. I thought about Helen who had spent her first few winters here alone, and the women I’d read about in the museum who lived in little shingled shacks surviving on nothing but mutton birds and told myself to suck it up and stop being a princess. Then built a Liam Neeson out of spare pillows. An overactive imagination can sometimes be your best friend.

neeson gun

This morning Annie, the retreat chef was coming over with a batch of homemade scones and her own jams, bless her heart. She slid the door open with her foot, all loaded up with goodies yelling “Yoo-hoo has anyone lost this?” holding Arwen’s lost tripod up with her free hand.

No way!

Apparently her friend had passed Arwen and Wolfgang on the track into Palana when they were heading back, so when she found the tripod shortly after, figured it must be theirs. It was promptly passed along to Annie and delivered into Arwen’s grateful hands. Exactly what Helen said would happen. Arwen and I just looked at each other in stunned disbelief.

A new artist arrived: Anne Norman. Anne plays the shakuhachi and is also here writing a children’s book. She is also a professional storyteller for children aged 8 to 10 so we had much to chat about. Helen completed the gathering and we enjoyed a convivial devonshire tea and a few laughs before splitting off to our own work as the rain pelted down its finale performance.

Today was a day for gathering all my notes and reshaping the plot. The research findings were giving my original premise a new direction, I needed to play around with that before I started the draft. Some people just start writing and see where it leads, I can’t do that, I need to know roughly the entire story from beginning to end before I begin. I figure you’re only going to have to rewrite it anyway as the story develops, so better to rewrite a brief outline than a whole first draft. I had my structure but was stuck on a major plot point. Maybe laying it out visually would help find that last piece of the puzzle. I decided to work in the restaurant and use the big dining tables to spread out my chapter notes and brainstorm.

Plus, once I leave I can’t come back if I forget to check something, so I need to know what I need to know research-wise. Time is a luxury I don’t have. Wolfgang’s leaving and Anne’s arriving had suddenly made me very much aware of the ticking clock.