Monday, September 14, 2015

Never Let go of your Dreams.....

When my kids were little, I used to dream about going on a writing retreat I'd heard of. It was on Whidby Island off the coast of Washington. As I read the literature, I would image the luxury of it. I'ld stay in a beautiful hand-crafted cottage where I would be invited to write all day long, all expenses paid. At the end of every day, I would enjoy the company other other women writers, celebrating our work together with a great meal. No cooking, no dishes and no responsibilities save the responsibility of being a writer. Nothing to do but take long walks, ruminate, and create books and stories.

Writers: close your eyes and imagine this for a few moments, if you will. Breathe deep into the joy of of the image and let it sustain you for a bit. This was what I used to do all those many years ago. It was merely dream then, of course, because what young woman with seven kids and very little means can afford to take even a few hours off?

After my kids grew up the excuse was a day job and commitments.

And after I retired it was: well retirement is a retreat all by itself, isn't it?

No, actually, it is not.

I was struck by something writer Nancy Werlin posted on Facebook recently: "I regret to say that in writing there is no such thing for me anymore as the shitty first draft. There is only the shitty slow draft."

It't true. I spent those years when my brain was faster and brighter devoted to other kinds of work. Now I am where I am as a novelist and that is that. I am slower. That's the bad news. The good news is that craft, when you nourish it over long years of gestation, is kind of like the human nose--it never quits growing. (How's that for Bizzare Mixed Simile of the Week?)

Over a year ago, I read another Facebook post--this one from my young writer friend Kekla Magoon (who was just shortlisted for the National book Award!). Kekla was encouraging writers to apply to Hedgebrook---that very writer's retreat that I had longed for when my kids were young. And even though retirement is it's own retreat and all that, I applied and was accepted.

Whooo--double---hooo! I am going to Hedgebrook where a little hand-crafted cabin and a group of other artists awaits me. I will have a month's worth of long slow days in which to nourish my last remaining child, the one who is taking her own sweet time to grow: my writing.

Wish me well and don't expect to hear from me for awhile. I am going on a retreat from the world to immerse myself totally in the world of writing.

Hedgebrook: their motto is "Women Authoring Change." How cool is that?


  1. Whoop-whoop! This is awesome, Debby! I can't wait to see what you come out with on the other side.

  2. Love it, Debby! Have fun. Can't wait to see all the good writing that comes from this special time. :-)

  3. Q: Can anyone tell me the difference between K2 and IQ? A: Nthn. In Seventh-Heaven, we'll git both HawrHawr Need summore thots, ideers, wurdz or ironclad iconoclasms? Look no firdr...

    VERBUM SAT SAPIENTI: As an ex-writer of the sassy, savvy, schizophenia we all go through in this lifelong demise, I just wanna help U.S. git past the whorizontal more!ass! we're in (Latin: words to [the] wise)...

    "This finite existence is only a test, son," God Almighty told me in my coma. "Far beyond thy earthly tempest is where you'll find corpulent eloquence" (paraphrased). Lemme tella youse without d'New Joisey accent...

    I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET any moe curly, party-hardy-endorphins, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs when my beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girl passed-away due to those wry, sardonic satires.

    "Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness as bright as stars for all eternity" -Daniel 12:3

    Here's also what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

    Go git'm, girl. You're incredible. See you Upstairs. I won't be joining'm in the nasty Abyss where Isis prowls
    PS Need summore unique, uncivilized, useless names, too? Lemme gonna gitcha started, brudda:

    Oak Woods, Franky Sparks, Athena Noble, Autumn Rose, Faith Bishop, Dolly Martin, Willow Rhodes, Cocoa Major, Roman Stone, Bullwark Burnhart, Magnus Wilde, Kardiak Arrest, Will Wright, Goldy Silvers, Penelope Summers, Sophie Sharp, Violet Snow, Lizzy Roach, BoxxaRoxx, Aunty Dotey, Romero Stark, Zacharia Neptoon, Mercurio Morrissey, Fritz & Felix Franz, Victor Payne, Isabella Silverstein, Mercedes Kennedy, Redding Rust, Martini Phoenix, Ivy Squire, Sauer Wolf, Yankee Cooky, Zero-Maintenance-Kosts, b9...

    God blessa youse
    -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL