A room with a view...
Some writers apply to conferences like Bread Loaf or Yaddo where they go to get some writing done in peace and without the day to day intrusion of job, kids, bills, sig other, Facebook, or whatever life-force gets in the way of their creative muse. It's the same for musicians and visual artists too. They apply to elite artist residency programs like the Millay Colony. I've been to Bread Loaf for an extended residency and conference, but haven't applied anywhere else. The application process takes so much time and effort that, in my mind, could be better spent actually writing. Which is why I choose to create a writing retreat of my own. In this case, it's located in Florence, Italy.
I first came here during my honeymoon twenty three years ago. Then I came back with my girlfriend ten years later. And for a short time I made this a temporary home base while writing and photographing for RT and other world publications. But over the past 4 years, I've been coming here twice a year, sometimes for a month at a time, only to write fiction. Over the past year I've spent more than one hundred days in Italy. At that rate, I will become a resident. Unofficially.
The important thing is that I can escape to place where I can live cheaply yet richly in a city full of romance, classical art, architecture, the memory of Dante, and get lost in my work. I've been close to some visual artists over the past few years and for obvious reasons, it's easier for them to demonstrate the progress they are making at their artist residencies and retreats. But I can tell you this: since having arrived in Florence by way of Rome just 3 days ago, I've written nearly five thousand new words on my fifth Moonlight novel, Moonlight Sonata, and edited twenty pages of my new stand-alone literary thriller, Precious (Aziz). I've also written several design pieces for Globalspec, and reviewed a part of the galley for my novel, Permanence, which I am putting out under my own, Bear Media, label in a month or so.
So I'm working hard in Tuscany and making my time here count. There is no better place to work than in an ancient city haunted by the ghosts of artists, writers, and musicians whose memory and work belong to the ages.