I booked onto Annie’s retreat on a whim. I was writing my first book and I had no idea whether leaving my London flat to sit on my own in a forest for a few days would help me to get into the process. In fact, I felt anxious as I journeyed over to Lydney. I worried that the space wouldn’t be as fertile as I had hoped, and I feared that I would fail to live up to my own expectations while there. Yet, as soon as I walked into the room, those nerves dropped away. Keystone felt like home immediately, and I had a sense of everything slowing down, inside and out. I found myself in the flow of writing within twenty minutes of my arrival, and before nightfall I had already decided I wanted to extend my stay beyond the original (tentative) four day booking.
Everyone talks about there being magic in that room. I know exactly why they say this. It’s impossible not to feel as though your feet are firmly rooted to the ground when you look out, across the balcony, to the wall of trees on the other side of the valley. But the real magic comes in human form. It’s what Annie brings to that place that makes it so special. The conversations we had transformed my understanding of what I was delivering with my book, and with every lovingly crafted tray of food she brought me, I felt more and more like I was allowed to let go and lose myself in my writing. It couldn’t have been more perfect.