I know that most people look at retirement as a time to sell the house, move to a ‘hood with other over-sixty-fivers, and do as little work as possible ever again, but I see it as a chance to do something I’ve always dreamed of: I want to open up a writer’s retreat someplace beautiful. I’d open the doors to writers who need quiet and space and inspiration to work on their projects, making it welcoming and affordable to creative types who want to surround themselves with like-minded people. And books. I will have SO MANY books in that place.
Since I tend to be a bit more logical when planning the place out—thinking about internet access, electrical outlets, parking availability, and staff salaries—I thought I’d ask the professionals their advice on how I should make my dream writing retreat more personal—more fun.
By “professionals,” I mean my kids. Who I can only guess were coming down from a hidden-cookie sugar high when they came up with their ideas.
Here are some personal touches they think I should make happen to achieve my perfect retirement writing retreat.
The Guest Rooms
My eight-year-old daughter takes pretty much any opportunity to passive-aggressively request bunk beds and runs with it. She thinks my guests deserve a very, very, VERY large suite with as many chandeliers as I can budget for (good thing I’m already saving, right?). There’s a massive one in the main room hanging over the fancy blue couch and wall-mounted flatscreen TV, and individual ones within each bunk. What more could a girl possibly want?
My ten-year-old son thinks writers should be surrounded by colors, patterns, and a candle-lit chandelier (not that he was inspired by his little sister, of course). The key piece to the room is an enormous flat screen TV and stacks of every single video game ever created adorning the blindingly bright walls on tiny custom shelves. The golden bed is made with bedding of the finest, softest silk, and there is a small, secret room hidden behind the wall for writing books in. I’m guessing it’s a bit more…muted in color than the main area? I hope?
Apparently this is going to be a place for those who like to consume comfort foods and Mexican fare in between tackling writing projects. No fancy cuisine on this menu! If a third grader can’t spell it, then it’s not welcome in our kitchen. I was concerned that I didn’t see her writing down the most important item, the one that keeps some of us (me) motivated (awake) and moving (jacked up), but then she listed is last—because it’s good to save the best for last! Rest assured, whether I go with her suggestions or not, THERE WILL ABSOLUTELY BE PLENTY OF COFFEE.
It’s always convenient when your room service menu offers pairings, to make ordering so much easier. Like cake and fruit punch, or pancakes with bacon and coffee. Simpler folk can insist on just a bit of bread and water (which is a pretty good bargain, if you ask me), and those who are having a harder time slogging through the pile of notes that is a rough draft of their next novel can gulp down a little extra “whine” with their lamb chops. Writers can never have too much whine. Not that I know this from experience.
The Backyard and Entertainment
I’m starting to think that either my kids believe having a job as a writer is ridiculously boring, so they’re trying to inject some fun into our lives, or they realize that writers tend to enjoy a bit of craziness. Their ideas for what I should install on the retreat’s property make me think the latter (which I can’t exactly argue with). Take my daughter’s sketch, for instance. The swing set is a nice touch: everybody loves swinging, and the slide drops you off behind the pool. However, the only way to get into the pool is to climb the miles-high blue ladder to the red water slide that glides you over the life-sized purple castle bouncy house and straight into the pool. Once you’ve made your way out of the dark depths of that, you can climb the grassy hill, for at the top there is a live killer while exhibition every hour or so. We aim to amuse, my friends!
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR SOME AWESOMENESS. My son insists I build an orange loopy water slide with anti-gravity action, so people don’t fall out of it during the coolest parts (until you want to be dropped into the pool). After you dry off from that, go take a few jumps around the one-eyed black cat bouncy house! If bouncing isn’t your jam, buckle into the red roller coaster—which also has the anti-gravity feature in place. It’ll take you around and around three times per ride, any time of day or night. The fun never stops! Now, if you really want to go for a ride, slip into the blue Ferrari, which doesn’t have to be blue because it changes color with your voice command to do so. It’s not only on an invisible track, it can teleport, taking you anywhere you want to go, whether it’s to relax or have an experience that inspires you to write something new while you’re visiting! And if you get hungry during your travels? Just tell it what you want to eat and the meal will appear. I cannot wait to get in it and ask for cotton candy. I mean…salad. Yes. Of course that’s what I meant.
Thank goodness for my little architects and their super cool ideas. I mean, technically it’s my idea to have a writing retreat when I retire and my idea to ask them how to make it more unique, but I’ll throw them some credit. I really do love a good hop around a bouncy castle.
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