Some of the writers here have received recognition in their fields. Some are still finding their way. All are here because they write and beyond that, have their own personal reasons for choosing to go on this retreat.
Those of us from Mayne Island, Gail Woodward, Leanne Dyck and I, left our homes at 7:00 on Thursday, took the ferry to Tsawwassen, then got a ride with a friend to Horseshoe Bay and spent several hours there, some of it at the beautiful home of author Robin Spano. A short ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay and a very steep climb and/or drive up to the lodge in deep darkness at 7:00 pm, and we had arrived.
The retreat building and setting are all I could have wished for. On Bowen Island, surrounded by “misty mountains” and tall fir trees, it has the feeling of quiet isolation. The rooms are very comfortable and each one has its own bathroom, so if you want to spend the days in uninterrupted writing, you can. Meals are catered and simply delicious as well as accommodating of all the food allergies and sensitivities in the group. Table setting and clean-up chores are shared amongst the nine participants. We’ll clean our own spaces and the public areas before we leave Sunday. These small, shared duties helped to keep down the cost.
I had a “blue pencil” session with Ben Nuttall-Smith on Friday. I have never received such a thorough and constructive piece of editing from anyone, though my work has been edited many times. I found it such a gratifying experience.
Our evening readings were a time to relax and enjoy some of the work our members has either published or were still working on. The experience was amazing; I’ll write more about it later. The evening ended in a small group of us eating popcorn in the semi-darkness, sharing at a heart level.
Today my friend Gail and I have breakfast and lunch duties and will then have the rest of the day for our writing and one more blue pencil session.
The big breakthrough for me has been the realization that I don’t have to complete my novel. I began it last November 1st, for NaNoWriMo, and “completed” it on November 30th. I brought it with me, but it began to change from a police procedural to a literary book and became unwieldy. So I plan to close its pages and keep it on file, but to forge ahead with my autobiography, which is a gift I would like to leave for my children and grandchildren.
I will probably have more to add later. Stay tuned.