At Circle of Missé

I am now almost at the end of a two-week stay at Circle of Missé. Situated in a vine-fronted, stone farmhouse in the Loire region of France, and surrounded by fields and a vast open sky, it’s the ideal setting for getting stuck into a creative project.

Taking a break from writing in the Circle of Missé garden

In my case, this is a novel. In my first week here, my main focus was the Writer Progresses course, which I thoroughly enjoyed teaching. I still managed to fit in about an hour’s writing on most days, though, and since the participants went home, I’ve been able to give my chapters-in-progress a lot more attention.

I’ve been rising early every morning, during that misty-blue cusp between dark and light. With fewer distractions than I’d usually have back at home, I’ve really been able to get on with things. I’ve ironed out several structural problems, tightened up key scenes and discovered new things about my characters.

Coming away on retreat always makes me realise how much of my time is usually taken up with housework and errands, administration, lesson planning and marking deadlines. And although these tasks aren’t even all that bad, it’s a pleasure to have a little break from reality.

The spring sky through the blossom branches

I’ve loved being able to wander out into the garden in the evening, to take in the last sunshine of the day and listen to the thrum of the bees in the wisteria, or to just have the time to sit and think.

Thank you to Aaron, Wayne and Alison for your hospitality, and the usual fine food and company.

One thought on “At Circle of Missé

  1. Your post really resonated with me, Emily, since I have also just returned from a relaxing and immensely productive retreat. They really do clear the mind, don’t they? Even if – as you say – some of the demands of everyday life are not too onerous, they do have a way of making writing quite difficult. And there is something very special about Circle of Misse – the library, the garden, the fabulous food. I can’t wait to get back there to teach and to finish this draft of MY BROKEN TWIN. Right, I’ve said it – there’ll be no excuses for not completing it now!

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