Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Retreat: Day Six

Got some work done in the morning, then check out of the Westgate and onto the Oosteram, the Holland American Cruiseship Mary booked me on. When I get to my cabin am delighted to discover I appear to have been upgraded: I expected to have an inside cabin but have a floor to ceiling window instead. True, the view is mostly blocked by a lifeboat (so maybe they do count this as an inside cabin still), but sunlight still streams in. King size bed, couch, largish bathroom, wall of cupboards, and a decent sized desk to work at. An excellent workspace for the next three days.

This is my first time on Holland America. It is much less garish than Carnival, but still kitsch, an American’s version of European eloquence with altogether too much statuary scattered about. I still prefer the unpretentious decoration of, say, the Norwegian Sun or the Hidden Mickeys of Disney. (None of them, of course, compares to the Queen Mary. That was when ships had real class!) The food in main dinning room is excellent, but not noticeably better than Carnival as I had been assured, and perhaps not quite up to Disney. And almost everyone is older and in worse shape than I….

I throw myself into my work, quickly realize there is no possibility of my processing all this data in three days. Even if I could, it would be 500 page report, and it has to be under 20. So, new strategy.

But I can already see the angle, how to make it fit. The great thing about being a writer is that sometimes one’s subconscious has been working on the project the whole time when it looked like one was goofing off on other stuff, and it just comes out whole. Of course, sometimes when you think you have a great idea at midnight, it looks pretty stupid next morning…. I’ll let you know how this turns out tomorrow.

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