Monday, August 24, 2009

Inertia at Work

"Gregariousness is the enemy of art."

Or so said Truman Capote. One of the most interesting--and creepy--things about being a writer is that I always find what I need when I need it. While researching Capote's In Cold Blood for an upcoming writing project, I came upon the above quote while reading the biography Capote, by Gerald Clarke. Capote often retreated from the demanding social scene in New York--ironically, a social scene he had created into one of the most lavish and visible on earth. All writers need their sanctuary, their place to write, and I'm no different.

This week, a close friend and writer called me up to ask if he could come up for a few days to work on a writing project. His regular retreat--a cabin in the woods--was unavailable, and during the past two writers' conferences I'd hosted he'd had good luck working in the Auberge. He had to get away from the distractions of domestic life. This got me thinking about my own distractions.

Part of my job as an innkeeper is to be "front of the house"; that is, I'm supposed to be a gracious host. But being a good host--spending time with guests at breakfast in the morning, telling funny stories, giving advice on what to do and where to go in the area--means that I lose the momentum I need to write. Another part of my job is to Fix or Repair Daily the things that go wrong around here: pipes burst, systems fail, a door lock won't work. I have to jump on that stuff, even to the exclusion of planned projects. The result is that my writing has become fragmented.

In short, I need my own retreat, and I'm working on that. In the meantime, if you're up for a visit and you're having breakfast and I'm not around, please don't take offense; I'm just hidden away somewhere, trying to regain my lost momentum.