|(Early Sunday morning, writing at dawn)|
This past winter, I read about Writing From Nature, a workshop held at a country house in the wilds near Mount Monadnock, facilitated by editor and powerhouse writer Chris Woodside. 2016 has been a year of wonderful literary adventures -- big book launches, writing awards, and retreats to familiar destinations. It's been a long while since I've hung out in the woods, despite a hilly backyard whose wilderness is home to black bear, raccoon, and silver foxes, who occasionally make visitations. Perhaps it was nostalgia and a nod to those long lost years in Windham, New Hampshire, and equal parts joie de vivre for the Here and Now. I signed up and, on a balmy June Friday, departed for the southern reaches of our fair state.
|(Standing outside the retreat house)|
On Friday night, forest ecologist Peter A. Palmiotto treated us to a presentation about nearby Mount Monadnock, and why the summit is 2/3rds bare rock. Chris hosted a night hike down to Stone Pond, but I opted out and instead hunkered down in my private room with the Muse and my short story, "The Shut-in". Slept beautifully, and, at sunrise on Saturday morning, I moved into the great room, uncapped my fountain pen, and began work on my second project for that weekend, "The Tree Surgeon." The sun rose higher, and fresh pages flew from my fingertips. Then Chris sent us out on timed hikes, sans notebooks and pens (the horror!). I moseyed down to the little chapel on the lake and dreamed more about my story, "The Shut-In". Upon return, we began a series of timed writing exercises which coincided perfectly with the direction of "The Shut-in".
Saturday afternoon was devoted to another presentation and exercises by famed nature writer Elizabeth Rush, who inspired with tales of her journeys. As Chef Mac worked on an amazing dinner (swordfish, cauliflower crusted in espresso, decadence had in every bite), I wrote some more on my stories, read from the book, and soaked up the creativity. That night, as a homemade apple pie baked, Chris gave a keynote speech on her journey as a writer (she edits Appalachia Journal, which has published since 1876).
|(Listening to Elizabeth Rush)|