Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday's Words for June 1, 2011

On average, I would say that most of the people who read my essays are writers. Not all, certainly, but most.

As writers, we have certain things in common, not the least of which is a different way of looking at everything—at the world, and sometimes even at our very own loved ones.

I’ve long maintained that writers really are a breed apart, and this is not necessarily a compliment. We tend to be more sensitive to emotions and to the nuances of life than the average person. Depending upon the genre we write, sometimes we see plots where there are none, and we may easily get caught up, often at the most inconvenient times, in our own personal game of “what if”. All of the above can tend to make us a little awkward, socially, but really, in the long run, it’s all part of the species, ‘writer’.

If you’re a writer then you know that no one, except your writer friends, understands that part of you. I think, though, the same can be said of all artists.

I had a friend years ago, a gifted painter. When I asked her, she confirmed that sometimes she didn’t understand why everyone couldn’t do what she did, it seemed that natural to her.

While crafting a story is something that does for the most part come naturally to me, it’s also an endeavour that takes a lot of work. There are times when the words simply don’t cooperate, or when the plot I’ve come up with doesn’t quite fit the characters I’ve created. There are times when I stare at a blank computer screen for hours on end, while wondering what flaw exists in me that I choose to torture myself in this way.

Because writing is a solitary endeavour, and because we writers are of the temperament that makes us lean toward being slightly neurotic, it is good, righteous, and even healthy and necessary to ensure that we spend time with other writers every once in a while.

For us, writers’ retreats are golden.

I, along with my three best friends, writers all, had a wonderful writers’ retreat the first week of May this year (I’m not excluding the alligator from the list of attendees; I just don’t know him well enough yet to call him a friend). How brilliant of us to have chosen to rent a house, as opposed to going to a hotel somewhere. We were able to purchase groceries, stake out our own private sleeping areas, stake out our own preferred writing areas, and commence the ebb and flow of fellowship and solitude—the two elements that constitute the perfect retreat for a writer.

During our times of communion, any who wished a brainstorming session was free to ask for one (and thank you ladies, for the book titles). We have one television show which we all four watch—Castle, of course—and that was a treat, to be able to enjoy it together.

The uninitiated would wonder how we could expect to get any writing done, as we had so much fun; yet we all four found ourselves able to write quite prolifically. Let’s be honest here, with four muses in attendance (none of us even considered for one moment leaving ours at home) the air was rife with literary creativity. It was magic!

This was a working vacation for each of us, so there was working, and there was vacation. We shopped, we ate out, we ate in—Ms. Raina created some wonderful salads that we nibbled all week, and Ms. Emma grilled salmon, and steak, and roasted a prime rib that were beyond heavenly. Ms. Lara created a breakfast buffet that was absolutely scrumptious and Morgan, being Morgan and sometimes a bit different, made a butternut squash and red pepper soup.

We discovered a restaurant that had dozens of varieties of egg rolls, and no it was not a Chinese food restaurant, we purchased souvenirs and, of course, we adopted a reptilian mascot, our own champion of the lists, our knight in reptilian armor.

And I am pleased to report that we each returned home rested, energized, and with our creative energies restored to healthy, and happy, balance.

It was, quite simply, one of the best weeks of my life.


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