|Taken from the living room window|
This has been a magical time here again for our fifth reunion at Lavender Hill Farm, and when I think back about how it all started, it seems hard to believe that we have grown together so seamlessly. For the first three years, we only came here for a weekend, arriving on Friday and leaving on Monday morning. Then last year Deb, who had been attending writers workshops to learn about the Amherst Writers and Artists method and to become trained in teaching the method to others, is our guide. We have now had two five-day-long retreats, focused mostly on learning how to use writing prompts and a time limit (five, ten, twenty minutes) to write in longhand whatever comes to mind from the prompt.
Then we share our writing, if we wish to, and get positive feedback from the others. Each complete session takes more than an hour or two, depending on the length of our writing. Deb has been shepherding us through the process, and learning how to use the method to hone our own craft. It's all based on a book by Pat Schneider, Writing Alone and With Others, and gives us a safe place with each other to hone our craft. Here's what Pat says:
Whether your purpose for writing is artistic expression, communication with friends and family, the healing of the inner life, or achieving public recognition for your art — the foundation is the same: the claiming of yourself as an artist/writer and the strengthening of your writing voice through practice, study, and helpful response from other writers.What has emerged for me this week is a new voice that I didn't know I had: the ability to write fiction, creating characters out of whole cloth. In several sessions I have focused on characters who have come alive, and it is rather astounding to me, since I usually (make that always) have written pieces from my own past experiences. I'm not sure what I will do with this new knowledge, but it's very exciting to me to think about exploring it more deeply.
Today is our "adventure day," and we will take a break from writing to head to Quartermaster Harbor and get into rented kayaks for a two-hour paddle. I've never even been in one before, and when Jann suggested it last year, I didn't give it another thought, since we were talking about it from the distance of a year. And now it's today! Who knows, this might be another exciting sport that could help take the place of my now-ended skydiving career. I'll find out today.
In any event, it's been a really wonderful week. The weather has gone from brilliant sunshine to periods of rain, sometimes heavy, but still every morning three of us, me, Deb, and Sandi, have gone for a three-mile walk at sunrise. The two night owls sleep in, but at 9:00am sharp we have begun the day's writing. Today we will not write in the morning, but once we've returned from our adventure, we intend to have a shortened afternoon session.
I've been feeling so blessed to be part of this group, and I think all of us would say the same. We learned several good things during this, our fifth reunion, about how perfect the number five has been. Although last year Sally made six, when she decided not to return, we decided not to add another person but go with five. Now we all know each other so well, I can't imagine a new person joining us, and why would we even try? Last year we had Linda Reeder, who lives in Seattle, join us for an evening, and that was very pleasant, so a "guest" is always possible. But now we are sisters of the heart, joined very deeply through our love of writing. Five bloggers who are branching out into other areas of our lives.
And we are all sisters of a certain age, happy to still be learning and growing as we celebrate our diversity and love. Aren't we a good looking bunch of senior citizens?
|Linda, Sandi, Deb, me, Jann|