Here's a picture of the large common room at Faith's Lodge where I attended the Mother Words Retreat. Early on in the weekend I staked out a spot on that leather couch on the left where I could gaze at the fire or through those tall windows at the blue sky and bare trees. From that spot I worked on an essay I feel like I have been writing f-o-r-e-v-e-r, but that's because I still expect things to come out great the first time. (Ha! See how new I am to this writing thing?) In any case Kate's guidance renewed my enthusiasm for that piece and I started the typically painful process of reworking, expanding and deleting. Except this time I was having a blast! I think I will print out this photo and tape it to my desk (wait, what desk?) to trigger that peaceful place when I am writing.
Kate wrote a terrific post with more details about our weekend. She also wrote about how the process of writing memoir can be therapeutic but how that doesn't preclude the carefully crafted result from being art. As Kate says, "you can experience a transformation in the writing process and still end up with art." Yes! Listening to the powerful and beautifully written pieces the other women wrote this weekend, I couldn't agree more.
Ever since the retreat, post ideas have been popping into my head more frequently. I spent a good portion of the plane ride home Sunday night drafting a response to an article I recently read in the PWS newsletter The Gathered View. My mind is definitely looser -- nicely oiled from all of the discussions, readings and writing exercises. Look out for my thoughts on that article and more about daily life with Oscar in the next little while.