“The Beach is not the place to work, to read, write or think. Too warm, too damp, too soft for any real mental discipline or sharp flights of spirit. One never learns. Hopefully, one carries down the faded straw bag, lumpy with books…The books remain unread.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the sea
Not sure I totally agree with Anne, but I do know that I tend to go for light novels when I’m away from home — I like to decompress. This makes me wonder how I’d do a at a writers’ colony in one of those cottages where someone delivers lunch to you in a basket and you sit all day and just write. The idea behind these secluded places is that peace and quiet are the keys to writing well.
But as Danny Heitman, the author of A Summer of Birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House points out, readers also need long stretches of peace and quiet — and lots of time To absorb the books writers write. Which is why Danny suggests, only half tongue-in-cheek, that if we want to “increase the audience for the written word, we should probably think about building a few readers colonies, too.”
According to Danny, stressed and time-strapped readers need more than just brief, action-packed vacations to indulge their reading habits. That’s why he hopes that some wealthy philanthropist, say Bill Gates, will come to the rescue. Here’s Danny’s proposal “to sustain an active audience for people of letters:” “From coast to coast, endow America with readers colonies where earnest bibliophiles can apply for fellowships that offer retreats to rustic cabins for a week or two with their favorite authors.”
I really Love this idea! Can you imagine how many people all over the country of all ages might apply? And how luxurious it would feel for them to curl up in a cozy cabin with Hemingway or Flaubert or even Lee Child or Agatha Christie? What bliss? America’s Gross National Happiness index would surely soar.