Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Looking Forward

Well, switching to a weekly schedule does not seem to have improved my ability to keep track of my place in the line of potatoes!  I was supposed to contribute back in the second week of June, I believe, but missed my turn.  Since then, I have been waiting for a chance to sneak in and add my own reflections about our April retreat at the Anderson Center.

I concur wholeheartedly with all that has already been written about the communal vibe of support and creativity that permeated our five days together.  Every conversation seemed to inspire me, and I realized this is something I am NOT getting enough of in my normal daily life: time with other writers and artists.  I have quite a few creative friends, naturally, but by this point in our lives we are fairly spread out around the country, with only a couple living close enough for regular visits.  Though email and smart phones make staying “connected” easier than ever before, it cannot replicate being in the same room with another person, feeding off each other’s energy.  My critique group accomplishes this, but the retreat showed me how much I value just “hanging out” with others who share my passion for art.  This realization has prompted me to renew my commitment to attend local writing events (of which there are many here on Whidbey Island) with the hope of cultivating new acquaintances and expanding my social network.

As for the value of the Saturday critique session with the other nine members of this blog, what can I say?  Before the retreat, for most of last winter, I’d been mulling an idea for a picture book; I loved the idea, but figuring out “how” to write it had me stumped.  After 10 minutes of feedback/input from my fellow spuds, however, I gained so many new ideas and options for developing the story that I am still riding the wave of inspiration, over two months later!  During breaks from other projects I have written several drafts of the story, whereas before the retreat I had only a few pages of notes. 

Perhaps most importantly for me, the time spent in that old farmhouse with my fellow spuds boosted my confidence and gave me the drive to forge ahead on several projects.  For that gift, I am eternally grateful to each and every one of them.

(The picture above was taken in the sculpture park adjacent the house where we stayed.  The turtle was one of the sculptures in the park that inspired me, too.)


Stephanie said...

I'm so glad you were able to make the trip! Wouldn't have been the same without you.

Christy said...

I love your choice of image, Mark. Doesn't the seemingly slow tortoise always win the race? Seems like all your ideas that have been inching along are going to burst forward now.

It was great to meet you in person, and I for one, can't wait to read more of your writing.

Lauren said...

So glad the Saturday morning gathering inspired your story! I look forward to reading it-- whether in draft form or the real thing.

Still amazed we were all there together!

Diane Adams said...

I never saw that sculpture! Thanks for posting it!!
What a relaxing, inspiring, artistic, soul-filling few days they were. Glad your stories are taking shape and flying.

David LaRochelle said...

Thanks for encouraging me to visit the sculpture park during our retreat. That turtle was one of my favorites as well.

From our response at the Saturday critique, you can tell how excited we all were about your whittling story. I'm very glad to hear that you are making progress on it. It captured all of us with its rich emotional content.

And what a bonus treat for me to see you again on your home turf just a few weeks after our retreat!

Wishing you a productive summer of writing, Mark.

Edie Hemingway said...

Mark, that turtle was one of my favorites in the sculpture garden, too. So glad you've made progress with your manuscript. Can't wait to see it as an actual book!

betsy woods said...

Mark, love your blog, every word. Please send your whittling story as you are ready. It was so tender.