Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Write &Retreat in my own Backyard

by Judith Grout

“Are you…Craving creative inspiration? Looking for new insight to fuel your words? Searching for the heart of your work?” 

Those enticing words written by WWW member Susan Tweit popped into my email inbox early last fall. I had some questions about my current WIP and this prescription of “Write, Workshop, Relax, Repeat…” sounded like my solution. Soon I committed to attend and had a reservation at the Murray Hotel, described as “Classic Art Deco Elegance in Downtown Silver City” in the Big Burro mountains of New Mexico – a short drive from my Glendale, AZ home.

The long weekend started with (oh my!) homework:
·                 A two-three minute reading from my current work as an introduction
·                 A token from home i.e. rock, photo, map…
·                 A book that currently inspired my work

From there our group of eight students, encouraged by Susan and her co-teacher, Dawn Wink (also a WWW member), worked our way through writing mission statements and intention words, “mother tongues” relating language and culture to landscape and our writing, mapping narratives, writing through dark places, beginnings and endings….

To keep our muscles toned, the group attended several Chair Yoga sessions, hiked along the Big Ditch Trail, toured a town filled with vintage homes catering to “Lungers and Miners” sent there to breathe the pure mountain air to cure tuberculosis and lungs diseases during the Great Depression.

Evenings found us dining in gourmet restaurants serving shrimp and fish marinated in citrus with yucateca spice steamed in banana leaf at Café 1zero6, duck confit at Tre Rosat Restaurant (the name means three ducks in Albanian – guess I better brush up on my Slavic languages), and Jalisco’s Silver City Mexican Restaurant. Pinch me – is this really Silver City, NM?

The Murray Hotel is in the final stages of a massive renovation. The building is made of solid concrete walls, the latest in electrical and heating systems, and Wifi to keep us in touch with our electronic life support.

What an experience. But the most valuable thing was my one-on-one conference with the group leaders to evaluate, encourage, suggest, question, answer, and inspire. I came away with my bag packed with writing “tools” and a double-sided, single-spaced “Selected Readings and Other Resources” list. I have my work cut out for me.

Dawn and Susan are already planning next year’s Write & Retreat workshop, also in Silver City at the Murray Hotel, on the same weekend, February 17-20, 2017. Join us there!

Judith’s first career launched her into the fun and fact-filled science of healthcare. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. degree in Clinical Laboratory Science with specialties in chemistry, hematology, microbiology, transfusion medicine, and pathology. Retired after 40 years, she’s begun a second career writing fiction, non-fiction, and freelancing. Her debut novel, Chasing the Strawberry Moon, Hitchhiking (for girls) was published in February of 2014.


Dawn Wink said...

Oh, Judy, this is marvelous! You convey the Spirit of our time together. Thank you so very much for all of the heart and beautiful prose pored into this piece!

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