I’ll be away from this blog all week, as I’m heading toward my annual writing retreat in the mountains. There’s no Internet. No email. No cell phone reception. So please comment as usual, and I’ll respond when I readjust to civilization.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of a cabin in the woods where I could tuck myself into a story. This retreat, in southern Oregon, fulfills that long-ago wish, and I’m so thankful to be participating for the third year in a row. Having an uninterrupted week to work on my novel is such a gift. The last two years I returned with insights that never would have developed without the luxury of uninterrupted hours piled atop each other.
This year, there will be several women writers in the bunkhouse, which is a giant cabin broken into individual suites with their own kitchens. I plan to spend my days waking up at sunrise to work on my manuscript, occasionally pausing to cook or take walks or read a craft book.
Each evening, after our productive and introspective days, we’ll gather in someone’s room or on the deck to discuss how our work is going, what breakthroughs we’ve achieved and what’s making us stumble. We’ll share snacks and beverages. We’ll talk about why we write. And we’ll read pages aloud. That’s my favorite part of every day: coming together.
I’m indebted to the awe-inspiring poet Kate Gray for inviting me to this special place three years ago. That year, she brought along her friend Minton Sparks, a spoken word poet from Tennessee. If you haven’t heard of her, go check out her site, or better yet, look at her performance schedule and see if you can catch her live. To entice you, here’s the first paragraph of Minton’s bio:
It’s mighty hard to envision singular performances by a poet and short story author, a character actor and a songwriter being offered on a single bill. That is, until one Minton Sparks takes the stage. For she is all three, a lean, literate livewire in a flower print church dress who balances writerly, theatrical and musical gifts as easily as she balances the prop pocketbook on her slender wrist.
Minton is an unforgettable force of language and spirit. For sure I’ll be packing her CDs so I can hear her voice if I get lonely on this quiet journey.
Enjoy your week! I hope it’s a productive one.