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
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.)