Dissociation: Day Three of Retreat

Featured Image: An abandoned house from the 1700’s near The Porches Writing Retreat

I’ve dissociated before, back when I had pretty severe depression and often isolated myself in my tiny dorm room or went about my daily activities alone and in a fog. But this level of isolation is unparalleled.

I spend most of my time in my room, which is actually quite beautiful. I have a window overlooking the mountains, two overlooking a barn, and a skylight. There’s a lovely painting above an unusable fireplace that, after being just about the only thing I can stare at, has become…creepy. I fear I will see it in my dreams forever. There are three different chairs, one for comfort, one for maybe tying shoes or something, and a desk chair. I have only bounced between my desk chair and my bed, which are a few feet apart from one another. My legs go numb every once and a while.

I only go downstairs to eat or warm up the coffee I keep neglecting. The three other writers also keep in their room most of the time. I usually only see them at dinner time when we all emerge like hermits, wearing the same pajamas as we have all day, maybe even from yesterday. The two older ladies love to talk, which is great, but its only for about 20 minutes a night. I have yet to meet the young lady who is allegedly “beautiful” and about my age.

I bought cigarettes (cheap and fresh here in Virginia) but its too damn cold to go out on the porch and enjoy them, so I only do so when I badly need a break from the indoors. I also bought 2 bottles of wine, and a massive bottle of champagne (saving that for the dinner party on Saturday). The wine helped me get through Tuesday night, but also put me into Advanced-Dissociation mode.

Everything is done in a daze; eating, showering, reading, writing, even sleeping is done in such a way that I’m not quite sure where I am every time I come-to. It all feels like a dream, absolutely nothing feels real except for the excruciating pain I am feeling in my right middle finger who has the most vital job right now: using the touchpad (I forgot my mouse), pressing “enter”, “backspace” (which is always hit with such fervor) and all the upper right keys on the keyboard (which is like almost all the fucking vowels).

I’ve written a total of about 4,000 words in two and a half days. Which is good, really good. But it never feels like enough. I should be doing more, more! I keep telling myself. I try to space out the writing by reading, and I’ve read 180 pages of Permanent Record (by Edward Snowden—I’ve been reading it in his voice too, which is fun and quite easy as he writes just as he speaks) and 30 pages of “Death of a Salesman” (by Arthur Miller), as well as various bits and pieces of stuff I’ve found around this house. I wish I had set more specific goals, but pretty much the only goal I set was: “make this trip worthwhile” which is way too fucking ambiguous.

Whenever I would tell people about this trip, I would make the joke of “I’m gunna drive myself insane and see where that takes me” and holy fucking shit I was not joking. For god’s sake I’ve been talking to my teddy bear! But I have got to admit, it’s working.

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