Writing Retreats

Photo taken from Mann's
office in Nida
Back in September, 2019 I looked forward to visiting Nida, Lithuania once called Nidden, Germany. Located on the idyllic, sand-dune covered Curonian Spit, the sleepy beach town of Nida, still honours the summer retreat of Thomas Mann. It’s a town he had to evacuate in 1933 when the Nazis delivered a charred copy of Buddenbrooks to his residence. 
Mann and his family in then 'Nidden'

I was enchanted by the view from Mann’s writing space in the picturesque blue cottage. Many writers like a natural setting while they write. The internet is full of exotic locales set deep in the woods or on beach properties to entice the muse. But for me, it's usually my own backyard that provides a natural setting for my creativity.

I often have to share 'office' with Tiberius, the cat

The ironic thing is, once a writer is in the ‘zone’ his or her surroundings dissolve as the story takes hold of the mind’s eye.  I might be sitting and watching the squirrel chasing the chipmunk when all of a sudden, I’m in a car catching the dialogue between two arguing parents as I’m transported to the other world of my novel-in-progress. 

Walking sand dunes near Nida

I wonder what Thomas Mann saw looking out of his studio upon the Baltic lagoon? Did he see the crashing waves of political upheaval coming into his country? He called it the Italian view. Did it remind him of his novella, Death in Venice, published back in 1912 before he even went to Nida? 

It seems ironic, but as writers we’re influenced by our surroundings even when we ignore them. I’m heading out to my favourite writing place this coming week during this season of decay and change. I’m confident in its power to inspire me and somehow it will find its way into my stories. No doubt the waves from Lake Winnipeg’s rustic beaches will lap at the edges of my pages. 

Waves on Lake Winnipeg

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You have a beautiful garden there AND a cat, that's perfect!

I discovered that I actually write best when it's too cold to go outside, too cold to seek out distractions, holed up in a cozy apartment block, preferably in the former Soviet Union.
I don't know what it is, but these places makes me creative: https://andreasmoser.blog/2013/03/03/savanoriu-prospektas-winter-evening/

Recent Posts

The Fabric of a Community: a tribute to Bev Morton

June 6th would have been Bev Morton’s 74th birthday.  In her honour an opening reception was held to celebrate her art at The Studio of La M...