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.
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.