Monday, Sept. 6, 2021
Yes, that apostrophe is in the right place. I’ve spent the weekend in a writer’s retreat, as in one writer. Namely me. The original plan was a few days in Lake Tahoe, but they had to evacuate and everyone was going the other way. Today, thank goodness, it looks like the firefighters saved the town, but they’re still pretty busy up there and best to keep out of the way. In the meantime, I took my own personal writer’s retreat in Temecula.
I was more than halfway my memoir through by March 11, 2020, when the Pandemic was declared. With history happening right under my masked nose, naturally I had to write about it daily in this blog. But that Pandemic is taking longer than I expected, so I relegated the blog to Saturdays and dedicated Monday through Friday to the memoir. I want to review my complete first draft by Christmas–one year late–and then submit it to a trusted reader, fix, rinse, repeat, and publish.
The Temecula Solo Writer’s Retreat started on Thursday. I checked into the Embassy Suites and wrote for four hours (about my max at one sitting) and went to bed. For the next three days I wrote for 3- 4 hour intervals twice a day, and took a break each day to visit my son and his family. This turned out to be very productive. I wrote the second half of chapters 11, 12, 13, and 14. I just need to finish up 15 and 16..
I highly recommend this for writers. Just you and your laptop in a hotel with a good-sized desk plus a plan to get out in the open for a few hours each day. Getting away from distractions and changing your environment works wonders. Three or four days is just about right. And I had a chance to observe the Covid-influenced hotel experience 18 months into the Pandemic.
For example: the room was clean and sanitized between guests, but no one entered the room during my stay. However if I needed anything, all I had to do is ask. The plastic cups in the bathroom and cardboard cups by the coffee maker were individually wrapped. The staff wore masks and the front desk was shielded with plexiglass. The restaurant and bar were closed and Embassy Suite’s customary Happy Hour was cancelled. They did have the hot breakfast, but there were only four hot items available (scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes, and pancakes), the same every day, plus individually-wrapped bagel, bread slices, pastries, yogurt containers, and self-serve oatmeal. Alas, poor Gail, not the made-to-order omelets of yore.
About 20 percent of the guests wore masks in the public areas. We may see this level of public mask-wearing in the future, especially in flu season. I think the room cleaning/sanitizing only between guests and not during short stays may last as well, as a cost-saving measure. I do hope they bring back the restaurant, the omelets, and Happy Hour though. After all, this is wine country.
I may try this again. I want to see this memoir published by March 11, 2022. I have two more books in the pipeline and they’re getting impatient.
Today’s Notable Headlines
“Travel warning: ‘Do not attempt’ a Labor Day weekend getaway to Tahoe: officials,” KRON4, Sept. 3, 2021.https://www.kron4.com/wildfires/travel-warning-do-not-attempt-a-labor-day-weekend-getaway-to-tahoe-officials/
“COVID-19 leaves imprint on Labor Day weekend in western Washington,” K5, Sept. 5, 2021, https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/covid-19-leaves-imprint-on-labor-day-weekend-in-western-washington/281-c6c8ff25-d974-4ce6-8e9e-5dcfa52749b6
“New ‘mu’ COVID variant now found in 49 U.S. states,” U.S. News, Sept. 6, 2021. https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-mu-variant-covid-19-us-coronavirus-vaccine-20210906-4aslq6ueqndb5myst5blsynqoq-story.html
Why am I doing this?
The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. I intend to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, as a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary world crisis.