“Instead, I wrote”: Jennifer Watson’s Arvon week

20 Jun 2014 / General

by Jennifer Watson, a writer on a Fiction Retreat at Moniack Mhor 9-14 July 2014, tutored by Morag Joss and Isla Dewar

Last week I was away on a tutored writing retreat, at Moniack Mhor, run by Arvon.  I had never been on such a thing before and it was a wonderful experience.  Not only did I have the opportunity to retreat from the responsibilities of running a home, I found myself retreating from all sorts of other things.  The time away made me much more aware of all the time and energy-sapping activities I do while I am at home.  I retreated from the internet (there was none available); ceased posting on Facebook, stopped tweeting, didn’t post any photographs here on my website (or on any other websites) nor did I update my blog.  I could Google nothing, Like nothing, pin no images on Pinterest.  I answered no emails, sent only a handful of text messages (to say I had arrived safely) and spoke to no-one on the phone.

I didn’t read a newspaper the whole time I was away, nor watch the television (there was none there to distract us), nor even listen to the radio.  Funnily enough, it was the latter I started to miss first.  But not the news, or the spoken word programmes which I listen to regularly at home; I suddenly craved hearing some music.  We finally managed to persuade the CD player to work and so that was soon assuaged.

I didn’t go to the shops for five days; didn’t drive a car, cross a street or see any traffic lights.  For 90% of the time, I didn’t have to cook, or clear up, or wash up.  Or do any washing or hanging out of clothes, or ironing (not that I do that much of the latter, if the truth be told).

Instead, I wrote, I read, I listened.  I talked and walked; I looked, watched, noticed, listened some more and thought.  I laughed a lot.  I thought a great deal, in a space inside my head which I had almost forgotten existed.   And it all felt in balance.  Somehow I had retreated from all the mindless things and found all the mindful ones; having the opportunity to do so was a golden one and I believe that I made the most of it. Now the trick is to continue to carve out that balanced time within the days and months ahead.



Maitreyabandhu – Full Circle at The Hurst

13 Nov 2018 / #Arvon50

On May 21st this year I will catch a train to The Hurst in the company of the wonderful Mimi Khalvati,…

Read more
Nick Grant Arvon

Remembering Nick Grant

12 Nov 2018 / News

It is with a heavy heart that we share this sad news. Our dear friend Nick Grant passed away peacefully on…

Read more

Ruth Borthwick announces her departure

08 Nov 2018 / Chief Executive

Arvon today announces that Ruth Borthwick will step down in April 2019, after a decade as Artistic Director and Chief Executive….

Read more
Lois Pryce Arvon Creative Writing Course

Lois Pryce – Arvon at 50

06 Nov 2018 / #Arvon50

In the mid-90s, aged 22, I landed my dream job at an indie record label. This was mainly due to a…

Read more
Read more

This website uses cookies to give you the best experience. Agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.