My Cabin in Cantabria

I’ve made an excellent choice. While I suspect being off in the mountains alone for a few weeks, with limited Internet and contact with others, might not appeal to some, and the idea that I can disconnect may seem quite surprising, I’m already in love with this place. It’s incredibly beautiful: if the photo of the bridge leading to the beginning of the Camino de Santiago had the feel of something that you’d find in a fairy tale, this cabin is the bucolic farm where they story begins: lush, green mountains and valleys filled only with the sounds of the occasional dog and cowbell.

While I can see little cabins and farms from where I am, I’m a few miles from the nearest business, a little restaurant down the road, and about 12 miles from the nearest town, a great little village named Liegarnes that I visited yesterday.

I’ve spent the first two days doing what hoped I would do: actually writing without interruption. I’ve thought a lot about this on the journey so far. I have no idea whether I can write fiction. I’ve played with ideas for years, have written a few rough short stories that had their moments, but I’ve never sat down to see if the idea of writing long-form fiction is anything but the sad, cliched dream of almost every English teacher. While hardly enough time to find out for sure what I’m capable of, these few weeks, without the distractions of home, and provided the comforts of a good writing desk, a warm fire, and hot cups of Nescafe will test what I can accomplish. I suspect that I’ll find that writing really isn’t my strength, that I should probably stick to my blog and the occasional piece of non-fiction, but at least I’ll know, and that means something. It’s been said “how vain it is to sit down to write when you haven’t lived, but it could equally be said that it’s absurd to tell yourself you can’t write when you’ve never really tried.

Take that, students!

In the first two days, I wrote ten mostly terrible pages and a detailed outline for the first seventeen chapters of what I suspect will be 18-20 chapters long. The resolution is escaping me at the moment, so I’m not sure how long that will require.

Can anyone think of a great name for a female character with Irish heritage? She’s a secondary character, but I already hate the name I’ve given her. I’ll be sure to include you in the acknowledgements page of the book if I ever finish.

I won’t just be writing up here. There are great hiking trails all around, and a couple of national parks near enough that I’ll certainly want to visit. At some point, I’ll get myself into Bilbao to see the museums there, and I almost certainly need to experience the cidre this part of the world is famous for.

Four years ago, I had never really taken a vacation for more than 3-4 days. There was always some project that demanded my attention, some task that I created to keep myself busy. The idea that I’ll spend the next few weeks simply working on rest, writing, and reflection is almost unimaginable when I think about the person I was then. I’m pretty happy with the guy sitting in a mountain cabin, listening to classical records, and writing something that matters to him right about now, and don’t especially miss the frantic, never-wholly rested me of back then.

Talk to you all when I can!