There’s nothing quite like a Arvon retreat. Stepping away from your day to day concerns and focussing entirely on your work is a treat. I have recently returned from a Jerwood Arvon mentoring scheme retreat week at Totleigh Barton in Devon. Eight writers (three poets, three novelists, two playwrights) holed up together in soggy Devon, bemoaning how little time they have to write because of work, their kids, their partners, general life.
And then suddenly we have that time.
There is silence – great chunks of it broken occasionally by the sound of a pheasant.
There is excellent food – god love Devonshire cream.
There is the chance to write undisturbed – bliss.
As one of the two playwrights it was a marvellous opportunity to hear my entire play read out by willing company of writers and rewrite whole scenes that I hadn’t previously had the time to connect with emotionally.
It was lovely to gather with my fellow mentees for a morning workshop of our own devising and an evening reading over a cider (or four).
Arvon is essentially quality time with no distractions (you have to climb a small hillock to get anything like one bar of phone signal) and like-minded souls to talk and think with. I recommend everyone do one. It’s wonderful.