A Writing Retreat by Rail, From Paris to the Côte d’Azur

The TGV train raced south from Paris in a streak of silver and blue to the French Riviera at 200 miles an hour. That’s the optimum rate for most literary emergencies since it’s impossible to bolt in frustration.

My train ticket was punched for St.-Raphaël, a popular summer resort with miles of sandy beaches by the edge of the Mediterranean and long a refuge for blocked writers seeking sunshine and inspiration.

But the destination was not as important as this journey. I intended to ride this train off the grid for almost the next five hours with a mission: to liberate a book proposal that I have resolutely avoided finishing. I thought of this quest as writing the rails — with an iPad instead of a hobo’s bindle and bedroll. Train window as muse. Mind in fast forward.

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