“One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I spend most of my days working alone. That is the only way I can create. I need silence around me and silence inside of me in order to be able to listen to the deepest voices in my being. It is not an easy task to listen to inner voices, since as human beings we develop by listening, watching, and imitating others. It is an essential part of our growing. As we grow, an internal voice develops deep within us, which desires to be shared with the world. It is something that no one can teach us. It is something that was innate in us since we were created. This inner voice is the gift that each of us carries and is responsible to bring out to the world, to humanity. There are times when bringing this voice out is a challenge, when it contradicts what society thinks or believes in.
Life comes with its own power of gravity. Despite the fact that I have a home office with doors, life manages to seep through my walls and interrupt my creative solitude. Early in the summer of 2010 it felt like one of those times for me. I had to deal with one event following another, which did not leave any room for quiet time to create. This was when I decided I had to get away in order to be able to create and to allow my inner voice to come out. I had to insist on making my space and time for creativity. I started looking for a place where I could enjoy my creative solitude. This was how I found the Writer’s Refuge on Whidbey Island, WA.
Petra Martin, is the woman behind the Writer’s Refuge. She moved to the island from Seattle, and as a creative person herself realized the importance of solitude and the potential the island has to offer for this quest to explore ones inner voice. She started with the cabin in the woods, on Foxglove Lane, where I stayed. Later she added the Ravensea residence in Greenbank, which is a carriage house type dwelling, built above a large garage. Her lodgings have been attracting hundreds of creative people who needed a quiet space to create and simply be. Despite the name “The Writer’s Refuge” the cabins welcome any person who seeks solitude, not just writers.
When I contacted Petra, I was lucky to find an immediate vacancy, since it was the week of July 4th. I packed my car with a laptop and books and headed for a week on the island. I had Wi-Fi, but I chose to stay disconnected from the world. To have cell phone reception I had to drive to downtown Langley to be able to call my husband, which I did only twice during my week there. I enjoyed passing my days writing in silence, going for long walks in the woods, and not talking. I could never before believe that I could pass days without talking, but I found it to be very easy. I did not need to talk, all I wanted was to listen to the story my inner self had to tell me.
The Foxglove Cabin, where I stayed, is designed for only one person. It has a small cute kitchen with dishes and basic spices, a shower, an office space, and a bed corner with a curtain that separates it from the rest of the space. There is a big grocery store; about a 5-minutes drive from the cabin, off the main road. Quaint downtown Langley, about a 10-minute drive from the cabin offers restaurants, shops, and waterfront views.
A week later, driving my car onto the ferry I was ready to go back home. In my laptop I had new files saved and my soul was well nourished. I find that the knowledge of the existence of such a refuge is very calming and reassuring and whenever life gets too hectic, there will always be this place on the Island to go and recharge my creative energies.