Friday, August 5, 2011


Yesterday, several very nice readers (DanPloy, Anita, and Chris Phillips) left comments on my blogs to the effect of wondering whether I was back and whether I needed a vacation after a vacation. (Thanks for missing me, guys!)

Yup, that's precisely how I feel. Even though I was really truly away from it all in the mountains of the high Cascades, with food aplenty and no need to scratch my head every evening, trying to figure out what to cook.

The place, in Washington State, is called Holden Village. It is inaccessible by road. (You have to take a boat up Lake Chelan and then a 40 minute bus ride up a series of switch backs to the village itself.)

"Our" boat: Lady of the Lake

There is no wireless internet, no cell phone service, no TV reception. The village is ringed by mountain peaks, many of them still snow-capped in late July.

Dining Hall, with one of the mountains behind

It's the sort of place where kids, unplugged, play card games into the night. We didn't see our 14-year-old pretty much all day long. The 8-year-old organized a kid's production of Hansel and Gretel. The 4-year-old spent the morning hours in the children's program called Narnia. Which meant that I had three hours every morning to write.

I wrote long-hand by the banks of the raging river. There's something about being near flowing water: ideas flow also. I have several new ideas; all I need is the time to pursue them. And something else about being away from "civilization": I was writing because I love to write, not getting twisted up inside wondering if I'll ever be published.

Re-entry is always difficult. Living for a week with 300 other people in an isolated mountain village, people smile and talk and don't incessantly check their smart phones. Back in the "real world" people frown and ignore and stare at screens. Cars move too quickly. Children disappear into their iDevices.

I guess I'll get used to it again before too long. But if any of you want to send me someone to cook all my daily meals, I'll be much obliged.

(I'm also attending the Willamette Writers' Conference today, pitching to a couple of agents. Positive thoughts would be much appreciated!)


  1. Sounds heavenly. I'm trying to switch off my computer a bit more often these days but my other half would be bereft without his smart phone!

  2. Sounds like an amazing vacation, Michael. Good luck at the conference today.

  3. I know we talked about this, but the crazy part is that I've actually been there. I think I was like 8 years old. We didn't stay over night, but I distinctly remember the boat trip up the lake.

    For me there is nothing as inspirational as the crags of alpine summits. The spine of the world.

  4. truly I have missed you
    good wishes for you for your conference
    ah writing long ancient art

  5. Welcome back! Good to see you again! And what a terrific vacation!! Looks like a fabulous place! Enjoy your weekend!


  6. Sounds like an awesome time.
    Good luck pitching to the agents.

  7. New idea for young adult book plot:

    Remember me when you are on the NY best book seller list.

  8. Oh! Now you have to let us know how the pitching went!

    (Awesome photos, btw. Thanks for sharing!)


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