I haven’t laughed so hard in years. I don’t mean giggle, guffaw or snicker. I mean full belly laughs with tears flowing down my cheeks.
That is to say – Writers tell good stories.
Last week I went on a retreat with the WIP group from Qualicum Beach. Ten of us gathered at the Vancouver Island Mountain Center, a modern, west-coast lodge, on the top of Mount Washington. The group, diverse in gender, age, background and writing interests, has one thing in common — the love of story.
Where is Mount Washington?
The home of the Vancouver Island marmot, one of the most endangered species on the planet, Mount Washington is a year-round recreation area. It is stunningly, breath-takingly, jaw-droppingly beautiful.
And yes, they have marmot crossings on the road.
Located on the eastern edge of Vancouver Island Mountain Ranges. The Mount Washington Alpine Resort is about 16 miles (25K) from the Comox Valley.
In the summer, there are many trails for mountain bikers, and hikers. You can even take a chair lift to the top.
Imagine: cool mountain air, pre-dawn light shimmering over distant mountians, blood-red sunsets, moving clouds, mists, sushine …
There’s a reason monks go to the top of the mountain.
What does one do on a writer’s retreat?
We spent hours writing. Many of us worked in the main room, while others worked in their private rooms. One dictated his words as he hiked around.
We cooked our own meals and gathered around the table to chat informally about our manuscripts and the writing life.
At nine o`clock each night we met to discuss our progess and our goals for the next day. This led to a lot of laughter.
We went for daily walks.
The Marmota vancouverensis (Vancouver Island marmot) is a large rodent related to the squirrel. They are about the size of a large house cat. The good news is that the number have rose from 30 (2003) to 200 (in 2016). (Marmot Recovery Operation)
Sex, Apps and the Use of Idioms
I know you want to know what I was busting my gut over, but I’m reluctant to betray my scribbling friends.
Let’s just say the development of motivational apps and sex assists were discussed. Even in poetic form. The dreaded monster called marketing was tackled from many directions and a discussion of reverse harems and the freedom of writing under pseudonyms had many of us thinking.
That’s all I’m saying. I want to be invited again.
Did I get anything done?
Yes. I finished two read-throughs of the first draft of my current WIP (50 thousand words) filling plot holes, or at least making them smaller, and strengthening the heroine’s arc along the way. I played with a Christmas mystery short inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but it may go back in the drawer for another year as I have a lot of work on my table.
I met new people and I breathed in the mountain air. Rocky Mountain high.
When people who have a shared passion gather together there is a synchronicity of creativity.
I can’t thank my fellow authors enough for sharing the space and the time with me. It was in one word: wonderful.
Special thanks to Poul Bensen for organizing the event, Mark Desvaux for shairing the nine o’clock meetings, Jim Miller for his inspirational Quotes, Shannon Mayer for generously sharing her insights and last but never least, Mimi Barbour for introducing me to the group.
I can’t wait for the next retreat.
How about you? Do you find retreating from your regular life to pursuit your creativity helpful?