When I decided to downsize and move to an over 55s village in Sydney, uppermost in my thoughts were the convenience of village life, safety from the increasingly serious bushfires that ravage my former location in the Blue Mountains, and the health benefits of a warmer climate.
Naturally, I also considered the ways in which less maintenance would offer more free time for the activities I enjoy – and yet, I could not have foreseen what would emerge from this change in lifestyle.
Little did I realise that it would provide the environment for the perfect writer’s retreat….
At last, and after a lengthy hiatus caused by many factors, I have finally returned to writing; serious writing. More years have passed than I care to count since I wrote short stories and articles which were published in magazines – planned novels (none of which ever saw the light of day) and completed a book (unpublished) of children’s poems, including illustrations.
All my manuscripts were consigned either to the bin or a dusty corner of my filing cabinet and I believed that my writing days were over, an era in my life viewed with nostalgia and some regret, but one which would never re-emerge as a focus in my creative world.
Latterly, I attended workshops but, like a car whose battery is failing, the spark of inspiration would ignite and then die. The novel I had started with enthusiasm languished in a folder on my laptop, another project aborted before it could draw breath.
But moving to my new home has changed so much in my life. Retired (for the most part) from my therapy practice, at first the large tranches of available time overwhelmed me. Over the ensuing months I gradually adjusted until one evening, as I went for my walk, I found myself wrestling with the plot of my abandoned novel. With newfound clarity I felt the old excitement begin to rise. I could do this!
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, my days have now gained structure. Unless it is very hot, after breakfast I take Mme Pouqui for her morning walk and then it is time to work.
My tiny terrace is shaded in the morning, a pronounced advantage in Sydney’s warm summers. Armed with mosquito coils and laptop, I set to work writing, editing, revising until it is time for lunch. Some days the writing flows, others are painfully slow; but the end is in sight and the sense of achievement after all these years is exhilarating.
I am so grateful for this stage of my life: for a comfortable home, for sufficient stability in my health to permit the creative work that I love, for friends and family who encourage me in my endeavours.
It is a blessed time.