Food, Fun and More

2014 Writers’ Retreat

Saturday, my writers’ group met for our annual retreat. One day a year we get together at Marti’s country home and dedicate a few hours to the writing life.
Being a writer is a solitary calling. Many hours are spent alone with a pen and paper or a laptop, either creating another reality in a fiction story, releasing emotions and images in a poem or sharing memories in an essay or memoir. The only people who really “get” the passion of writing are other writers. Time spent together is precious.

Writer's x-mass 2009
This year Laurie brought her newly published book, Atomic Sailor, and gifted each of us with a copy. She’d shared parts of the story over the last two years for critiquing at our bi-monthly meetings.
Laurie is also our expert on all things Native American. She did extensive research for her first novel, Strongheart-A Dog Who Was a Coward, and other projects she has completed. I asked for her input on my latest chapter of Benny Longtree. He and Mark, the boy, are being held in a Huron village by Rising Moon, the chief. It is very easy for a Native American story to turn into a cliché and I wanted her help in avoiding that pitfall. I also needed to find a way to honor their heritage and show Benny’s affinity to the culture, as he is a quarter Huron Indian.
Lonnie, an acquisitions editor for a publishing house in Grand Rapids, will help me find a contents editor for my first novel, Wild Irish Rose. I would like to publish it through the traditional method of acquiring an agent and selling the story to a publishing house, though I haven’t ruled out self-publishing.

Both Laurie and Maria the author of Trains, a memoir of surviving the holocaust, have self-published their books. We talked about the pros and cons of taking that route. Over 6000 books a month are self-published. It’s not easy for a book to stand out among so many.
We all brought ingredients to make a big salad for lunch. I brought sweet red bell peppers. It is the time of year to pick the lemon from my dad’s tree, so I made lemon bread to share. We continued to talk about our current writing projects and plans for future ones.
The day ended by 3:30 pm and we all left with a renewed sense of friendship, purpose, some great ideas and helpful feedback. Now it is time to go back to our individual writing niches and conquer The Blank White Page.


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