Tuesday, November 23, 2010

St. George Island in My Rear View Mirror

The last time I posted here, I wrote of my excitement about the upcoming St. George Island Writers' Retreat. Now here we are, two weeks since the retreat ended, and I'm so focused on the memory that I'm having a hard time moving forward again.

The writers--nine attended--were smart, creative, kind, funny, talented (picture me shaking my head in awe, here)--and some revealed their talents as fabulous cooks, preparing meals to live on in memory.

Adrian Fogelin fed our writers' souls with workshops and exercises that stretched our minds the way her evening floor routine stretched cramped muscles. We listened, we bent our brains in new ways, and then we wrote. After we'd written, we marveled at what came from our minds after their contents had been manipulated and moved around. And we delighted in what different directions each woman around the table had taken each exercise. The heady sense of freedom generated by being able to set our own courses seemed to ignite little embers of worry in many of us, causing us to question the tack we had taken. Many announced to the group before reading their new work aloud, "Well, this isn't any good, but...." Exercising freedom is scary.

But it was good. Even the work that needed editing and rewriting was good. Everything we did led us forward to a greater understanding of what works and what needs to be improved. That's progress.

Over our time together at the beautiful beach view retreat site of Abbeyfeale, friendships were created or reinforced, group jokes were hatched and a support network was formed. As always, I was sad when the retreat came to an end (but could I have lasted another day with five hours of sleep?), but full of happy memories, new skills and inspiration. Some photos have been posted on our Fiction Among Friends Facebook page, and I'll be updating my web pages soon with pictures, feedback and recipes.

I know I can't forever stare into the rear view mirror or I'll stray off course, but a glance now and then reminds me of a wonderful retreat that I'll savor and draw on repeatedly. Thanks, all.

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