retreat: noun. Departure. A place one goes for peace. To pull back; go away.
and my favorite:
to treat again.
It's that time of year.
We at whatwomenwrite are planning our annual fall retreat for November, and like schoolgirls we are looking forward to it with gleeful anticipation. Three days at some secluded woodsy cabin. Three days without children and spouses pulling on our hems needing... well, needing everything. Three days, most importantly, to write.
In the evenings, we came back together over food and low light to read to each other from our glowing screens. I wrote a scene about memory--and how we shape truth by creating our own pasts. Joan wrote about a road trip through New Mexico between a great-aunt and her niece, who bear the same name. Pamela wrote a painful scene about loss and uncertainty, and Elizabeth and Julie, both in the middle of NaNo-- National Novel Writing Month--won the prize for the most words in the weekend. Kim, even through suffering from incapacitating allergies to western cedar, wrote a great verbal fight scene between her protagonist and his naysayers.
Last year, on our inaugural retreat, we piled into cars and headed to Glen Rose, Texas. We brought books to swap, we put dibs on roommates, and we cooked. Some of us drank wine, some of us told stories. We spent one evening devoting ourselves to the photo op you see at the header of this blog page (which was way more complicated than it looks). We shared our lives, we shared our works-in-progress, and then, as quickly as we could come together, we split up to separate spaces on the porch and in the house to do what we went for: to write.
|Pamela got a lot of grief over wearing red.|
|Watch your toes. Cows crossing!|
|Julie hits the porch|
The best thing about retreats, however, is not only the location, but the ability to change your setting to produce different results. The chance to pull back. To go away. A place to go for peace.
And of course, my favorite aspect of retreat: to treat again.
So here's to you, my girlfriends of whatwomenwrite--let's treat ourselves again! What about you? How do you retreat? Share with us!