Have you ever had the opportunity to experience total solitude for a week? Time to focus on your writing and exist in a world where it’s not even necessary to block the rest of the world out because for that chunk of time, the rest of the world doesn’t exist in your life? I had this experience for the first time recently when I attended a retreat at the Ricardo Palma House. Purposely kept small and personal, the retreat offers the gift of time to concentrate totally on writing. Each of the five participants had her own private room with comfortable bed and space for writing. Most rooms stepped out to the spacious balcony, a peaceful place for an afternoon of quiet and concentration. The old house, with its charming windows and doors, offers many other spaces for relaxing and writing. Nutritious meals served three times a day, were the only “interruption” in the writing day, and generally involved lively conversation about writing progress and ideas. It was the kind of week which we tend to refer to as an “experience of a lifetime,” but I hesitate to call it that since I am hoping to repeat the experience sometime soon.