Death of a Writer's Retreat

As a game designer in the video game industry, I am stuck in front of monitors all day, and many times, all night long. So whether getting up to write in the morning, late at night, or on the weekend, it ends up being the same thing. Monitors. Monitors by blank walls and monitors near windows with views of nothing inspirational can foster looks of anguish as you mull over every single word. Getting in the zone and focusing is a major battle.

The goal is immersion, but how?

There are many chapters in Iron Will Rust with scenes by the Ligurian Sea near Albisolla, Italy and along the coastline of France near the Cape d’Antibes. Two-masted caravels of Portuguese design, pirates from Sardinia with jeweled rapiers, French warships on their way to Venice carrying haughty ambassadors, and furtive night landings all appear in various chapters where Lazzaro Dominici pursues the Venetian killer, Alessandro Dumaine in the year 1515.

2013 - Saint George Island, Florida

2013 - Saint George Island, Florida

With about two hours of battery power per session, (great time to grab a beer as the laptop recharged and hang out with my mother-in-law) I wrote at the below shack on the Gulf of Mexico, doing my best to pretend I was not looking south towards Cuba, but towards Corsica in the Mediterranean. No power outlets, plenty of azure sea and breezes, a folding table, and of course, a security dog from Nuremburg.

St. George Island is a magical place for my wife and me, but in 2013, a storm swept that tattered frond-roofed gazebo away. Imagine how my heart sank upon my return with my laptop clutched like a kid when my favorite writer’s retreat was nothing more than chain-sawed 4”x 4” pressure treated pine. I think even the sea cried that year. Note how its face shifted from aquamarine to dull green.

I rigged up an umbrella anyway.