It’s day five of my five-day writing retreat, and I am winding down my time here in this Northwoods cottage with some of my writer buds. Two hours and counting, if you should want to keep track. The place we have this year is great. Spacious, warm, clean, and cozy. I don’t have a lot of non-negotiables, but clean is one of them. Other than its location three inches from the bustle of Highway 35, it is near-perfect.
Last year, on our inaugural run of this retreat, we had a tiny little farmhouse near Wheeler, very quaint, very lovely, endless hills rolling in and out and all around us. Three of our four were in attendance, Brandy sadly pulling the pin in the last moments to be with her dying mother, and the remaining three of us tucking neatly into the nooks and crannies of that small slice of heaven. We wrote, we cooked, we walked the country roads, we read, we talked. And then we did it all again. It was January, and winter was on full-tilt. The woodstove where I parked my card table worked overtime all weekend and so did the Saras and I. Magic happened, and we all went home bolstered with varying species and degrees of momentum. The full-on ice storm that ravaged our families back home that weekend was just one more welcome muse, and we were none of us able to lament our inability to leave the stove. I must say, that retreat was a good idea.
This year, one of my Saras having since brought her fifth babe into the world, and having different priorities filling her head, and her time, and every other raw material at her disposal, we are a slightly different crowd. Today I share this bright and beautiful great room with my veteran Sara, and the last-year’s absent Brandy, the fourth member of our dynamic Writing With Friends group. The venue in Danbury manages every bit of coziness that Wheeler offered, even though we have seemingly endless space to spread out. There are two fireplaces here, and enough bedrooms that Brandy tried out two. We each laid claim to our own islands of real-estate this weekend, and we all got some good things done. I hear it rained back home, but up here we were treated with enough sun to mosey the backyard barefoot, and then enough snow to give everything a fresh new blanket. There haven’t been any ice storms, and our beloved Mama Sara is missed terribly, but we have had another excellent experience, and I feel quite certain that we’re all heading home with yet another flavor of newfound resolve.
The third time’s a charm, they always say, and next year I’m crossing my fingers for a four-woman adventure, all parties present and accounted for. We’ll see what the year brings.
Write it up!