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A Time to Write

The weather in Santa Barbara is sunny and warm, and I have written my 1000 words for the day. I am sitting on the sun lounge beneath the spreading branches of the lemon tree where little wrens dart back and forth, chirping excitedly as they forage for insects. And when I pause to choose the right word to describe a scene, I look up into the canopy, marvelling at the beauty of delicate spider webs, of golden fruit and bright green leaves set against an azure sky.

There's no doubt that holidays provide excellent opportunities for writing, always allowing for the fact that there will be plenty of other distractions and enjoyable activities to get in the way, not to mention artworks for my trip journal! However, I try to write each day — even a sentence or two if progress is slow — and there is a sense of achievement in every step of the slow march towards completion of the story.

I can now sit back for a while, and perhaps forsake my perch high above Santa Barbara to venture downtown, feeling virtuous and content that I'm making inroads into my new novel, The Retreat House. Unlike The Children of God trilogy, this will be a humorous tale: an affectionate exploration of human frailty and the redemptive qualities of friendship and reflection. It's great fun to write and entirely compatible with the festive playfulness of holidays with a friend.

In a couple of days, we'll head to Paris, and I somehow suspect that the writing will be sacrificed upon the altar of sightseeing. It's a city I love, evoking thoughts of my distant French ancestors and the lives they led amid its glorious architecture, incomparable art, and chaotic history. I'll retrace their steps once again, in the bustling streets and cafes of Montmartre and Pigalle, of Le Marais and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and resurrect my fluency in the language.

… but that will be the subject of another blog post ...

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