Monday Morning Musings:
“‘I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this morning,’ said Alice a little timidly: ‘but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’”
–Lewis Carroll, “The Lobster Quadrille,” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
I’ve been on an adventure since last Wednesday. Just so you’re clear, it’s a Merril Adventure, so it doesn’t involve car chases, hot air balloons, or ski slopes; no danger involving avalanches or volcanic eruptions. I’ve not been caught in a coup, nor been accused of spying. I’ve not encountered a single lion, tiger, or bear. However, I have seen ponies. (I’ll just pause here for you to say, “awwww.”)
It’s an adventure involving women, friendship, and writing. In fact, I’m on a writers’ retreat. It’s not an “official” retreat, that is, it’s not sponsored by a group or organization. That also means there is no pressure. I haven’t spent the last few days hiding away or feeling anxious. Instead, I’ve formed new friendships while learning about writing memoir, fine-tuning passages, and formatting blog posts. We’ve done critiques, but we’ve also eaten great food, drunk wine, shared memories and expertise, laughed, and explored the lovely Chincoteague/Assateague area—apparently the area is a magnetic center that brings people, as well as birds, from all over.
Janet Givens instigated this writers’ gathering, offering her lovely vacation home to almost total strangers. Susan Weidener kindly offered to drive Marian Beaman and me from Pennsylvania. I admit, I was apprehensive about spending a week with women I’ve never met, but it has been a wonderful several days—and I now have new friends!
It’s possible I may have baked and brought my Mandelbrot (aka “Mommy Cookies”) along—because how could I go a week without chocolate goodies? Susan brought chocolate, too—so one crisis was averted. Sigh of relief. Can you imagine me going a day, much less a week without chocolate?
Our group expanded during the week at Janet’s. Kathy Pooler
joined our circle from afar. Isn’t modern technology wonderful?
We were joined—in person–by Mary Gottschalk and Carol Bodensteiner on Saturday night. Apparently on our blogs, both Mary and I are taller. Who knew blogs had such power? On Saturday night, the six of us gathered together at Janet’s, enjoyed stinky cheese (brought from Vermont), wine, and dinner—along with talk of writing and life. I’ve been among truly brilliant and interesting women who have fascinating tales to share and knowledge to impart.
Although I’ve missed my husband and cats, it’s been a fabulous several days.
Please do click on the links to meet these women. Perhaps you may also want to buy their books. (You know you want to.)
In addition to walking and talking, listening, and eating, I did do a bit of writing. Here is an echo poem I wrote during this past week–while the weather was beautiful and warm.
Chincoteague Island, March 2016
Four women gathered together.
Well, it couldn’t be better.
off and writing going
growing with critique.
by practice and time.
words, write, repeat,
but now it’s time to eat.
Laughter from we four
gazing and walking
talking of Peace Corps,
Four women together
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Essay XII,” Art
Have you ever been on a writers’ retreat? Please share your experiences.