Writing Week in Saintes

I wrote this post a couple of years ago, but thought I’d show you it since I’m returning to this writing paradise in exactly 9 days for a week-long writing hideaway!

2/25/2009  Yes, I’m writing you from the smack-dab middle of Writing Week. Since the university is on a break, I decided to run off to Saintes and spend an entire week writing in Nicolas and Paul’s chateau. Since Nicolas is starting on a new film script, it was the perfect time for me to come…when both of us knew we had to be hard-core about writing instead of going to the market, antique shopping, and eating four-hour champagne-soaked meals with his neighbors like we usually do when I come.

Let me tell you, it is SO much easier to get work done here than it is at home, where the phone is ringing, people are stopping by, and I’m doing loads of laundry and cooking between writing paragraphs.

So just to share the wealth of my spoiledness, let me give you a guided tour of what a day of writing in Saintes looks like.

8:00a.m. Open my eyes. See this…

If you can’t see what that is outside of the window, here’s a close-up…

I let my eyes wander around the room and enjoy all of its beautiful colors and objects…

And then maybe I close my eyes again and let myself sleep for another fifteen minutes. Just to get the biggest bang for my buck out of the fact that it’s not 6:45a.m. and I don’t have to go pick up a baby with a full diaper. This is where I should be working…

But instead I work from here…

I write in bed. I know…a very bad habit but I’ve been doing it too long to stop now. And, if you were wondering, yes, the bookshelves on either side of the bed open up to closets that are jam-packed with these…

Costumes from the Paris Opera. (Nicolas has an amazing collection.) When I start to feel hungry, I get up and walk down this hallway…

Say “good morning” to these handsome fellows…

and continue down these stairs…

to the kitchen…

Where I make myself some coffee and eat a slice of the giant carrot cake that I brought to celebrate Nicolas’s birthday and will probably last the two of us ’til the end of the week, if it hasn’t gone rock-solid before then.

After breakfast I go back up to bed and write for a couple of hours, and then take a shower, and come back downstairs to pick up my emails, since the wi-fi signal doesn’t stretch as far as my room. I cross the kitchen and into the living room to see if Nicolas is up yet.

He is…

Since he’s giving me the “Go away, I’m trying to work” look, I say, “Just ignore me, I’m taking pictures for my blog.” He cooperates.

I go back upstairs and work for a few more hours, then come down for lunch, which we take turns making on alternate days. Nicolas has already been out for a swim at the (indoor) town pool, by the time we eat, which is around 2p.m. Today it’s going to be 3p.m. because he’s still out swimming as I write this. Yes, I am dying of hunger, but just went and ate the end off a baguette. It’s not easy fitting into the schedule of a normal person: someone who doesn’t have children to feed at noon and 7p.m. on-the-dot.

At lunch we talk about what we wrote that morning. Yesterday Nicolas gave me a wonderful idea that I took and changed around a bit, and produced one of my favorite chapters so far.
After lunch it’s back to work, and maybe an hour or two into it, I might put the computer on the ground and take a little nap. Just because I can. Then downstairs for tea, and a little wave at Nicolas through the glass doors.
Back up to my room for more writing, until around 8p.m., at which point I am all-wrote-out. Dinner is between 9 and 10, and if I can stay awake (which I didn’t quite manage last night) we watch a movie. (Bulgarian silent film the first night, “Little Children” the second.) I drag my tired body up to bed, and Nicolas goes back to work.

Close eyes…sleep eight hours…start again!

P.S. Here’s the outside all lit up for a party!

8 Comments to Writing Week in Saintes

  1. by vivienne - On April 12, 2011

    Oh you are seriously making me jealous! I want to write somewhere fantastic like this!

  2. by June - On April 12, 2011

    Okay. I have only one question. Who is Nicholas? Ha ha ha….

  3. by Judith - On April 13, 2011

    Oh, yes, I remember reading this one! I thought to myself, “Who IS this woman?!?! How does she know people who live in places like this?!?” Of course, I still don’t know the answers to those questions, but I love getting to re-read and re-gush.

  4. by Nana - On April 13, 2011

    Wow, the place is absolutely gorgeous! Ultimate writer’s getaway fantasy. Love it so much!

  5. by Kathrin - On April 13, 2011

    How can one not be inspired in a place like that? My thoughts then and now..Absolutely dreamy place!! You are one lucky girl, Miss Amy, to have friends like Nicolas and Paul 😉 One day, we will fiend out how you all met….

  6. by amy - On April 13, 2011

    So Nicolas is Nicolas Mercier. He’s a screenwriter (for t.v. and film). For those in France – he did the Clara Sheller series.

    And we met at a wedding in Carmel, California. My friend getting married knew I was about to move back to France so she sat me at the same table as Nicolas and Paul, and it was love at first sight. By the end of the evening he was wearing my 4-inch pumps on the beach and we had traded phone numbers.

  7. by Kathrin - On April 13, 2011

    Thanks Amy, for telling us how you all met. Pumps on the beach…cool!!
    PS: Of course it is “find” not “fiend” ;(

  8. by amy - On April 13, 2011

    Kathrin – I hadn’t even noticed! Ha!

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