Treat of a Retreat…
I am on cloud nine… or ten, or more! I am in the hills of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Last summer I applied to the Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow for a residency fellowship called the Moondancer Fellowship. This fellowship is a paid two-week residency for writers about nature and the outdoors. Since I’ve been in a non-fiction mode for two years, and have several projects I’m working on about nature, and since my poetry is almost 80% about nature, I thought I might be a good match. I sent samples, a bio, and explained my works in progress.
I was notified last September that my application was not selected, but was asked to apply again next year, and that I had been a 2nd choice. Naturally I was a bit disappointed, but still honored to be considered (tho I’m not sure there weren’t only two applicants! )
In January I got a call from the director, Linda Caldwell. The selected recipient from Boston had taken a job as a television broadcast writer, and could not attend.
“Would you like to attend in 2016 as our 2015 Moondancer fellow?”
I remained calm. I replied professionally. I gratefully accepted. I hung up. I jumped on the couch, bounced off the ceiling, and sprung out the door. I was ecstatic.
Nothing enhances my writing more, in either productivity or purpose, than being on a retreat. I find that like many writers, my life (my good life–I’m not complaining) gets in the way. I really feel like writing is a calling to me, but the necessities of life impose and hinder and detract, and my writing (which for years I treated as a ‘hobby’) suffers.
Several years ago I took a week for a retreat at White Oak Lake State Park, in a camper. I was refreshed deeply, and in that week wrote some poetry and developed some ideas for projects that couldn’t have happened in the normal stream of my life. That poetry, those projects, still hold momentum from the full attention I gave them during that week.
I fully expect what I take home from my stay at the Colony will have the same benefit.
So I begin my fellowship stay today, for two weeks, April 1-15, when I get to write write write write write nap write write write walk write write write nap. And then eat. Dinners are provided by a wonderful chef named Jana, and they are superb. This is the off season and there are no other writers here during my stay. Usually there are several residents, who gather for dinner and talk about their art and craft. That is an experience I also want in my writing journey.
During the week I get to serve the community by working with students in a nearby school, so I’m working on poetic elements on two Thursdays. Also, I get to meet with kids at a coffeehouse after school since I’m here the first Tuesday of the month with their creative writing teacher, Kenzie Doss. She holds an event called ‘The Buzz’ which usually brings in middle school and high school students. I plan to lead them in a discussion on ‘personification’ and engage them a related writing activity.
I’m thrilled, and just had to share the news. They’ve initiated April to celebrate National Poetry Month, and we hung poems with some other poets and kids at the Basin Springs Park downtown on the Poet-tree.
Visit the Colony page, and take a look at the wonderful gift I’ve been given. It is a treasure of a retreat for me, and for my writing.