What is inspiring you? I hope that you can ask, in the dormancy of winter: what would happen if I took a stand for myself?
This is the eighth in a series of guest posts: For the last few winters, I’ve offered up my blog as a place for writers to share. I believe in generosity. I also know how important it is for writers to write. To that end, I’ve spent a few weeks posting the alive and brave words that people who have come to a Haven retreat are willing to share. Read these words. Consider this experience. Play around in curiosity and wonder. I hope that my blog will honor all of us who sit in the intersection of heart and mind and craft that is writing.
That’s what I’m doing. Quietly. For these weeks. Please think about taking this time for your heart language.
My Tubac, by Gwen Vogelzang
The tears stunned me. Not just a drop from my baby blues down to the crisp clean page. Sobbing, body quivering tears in a bathroom stall, coming from the innards of my gut and my exposed heart. My totally exposed and shockingly vulnerable heart. I expected pretty tears and profound revelations to rock me during my Haven Retreat. Revelations of what I was capable of, what others could do to inspire my writing, what 5 days of fabulous food, wine and childless sleeping could do for my soul.
Those revelations were handed to me. Just not on the sparkly silver tray I expected them to be delivered on. They were more like gentle but deliberate jabs to the gut. Along with the tears came this foreign fear about what might lie ahead if I indeed followed the journey I was telling myself I was being called to follow. I was about to quit my cushy job and move into full time writing. It was a calling I couldn’t ignore. I had books in mind – too many projects to even begin to summarize in a logical train of thought. I was filled with exuberance and peace about my future as a writer.
What I know now is my sobbing at The Haven was brought on by unexpected fear. Fear about the relentless passion I had for my subject. Fear about the vulnerability that would naturally come with my journey. Fear about the process. At one point I seceded to my fear. My mind gave up and my heart was terrified to argue. Until I entered Laura’s morning session and was gifted with that silver tray, containing my truth. The fear and the bathroom stall sobbing was my heart language. It was the fuel that will ignite my career. It’ll set my words ablaze. The Haven gifted me with that treasure. This aint gonna be a joy ride but it’s my calling. My heart language. My future. The Haven and the graceful guidance of Laura Munson was the entry point to my soul getting on board.
Haven, by Joanne Burch
Haven Writer’s Retreat, what could it be?
A total surprise! Something I had not imagined.
From the first day, we were a group of friends, saying what we felt and feeling what we said. Laughing, joking, writing, cheering one another on when the written was read aloud. Two young mothers, friends and professed opposites – one organized and one not. Two grandmas/great-grandmas in their 70s with views from the past. And in between, two more ladies and one lone man, who was capable enough to withstand, and jokingly get the best of, all us women. All from a variety of backgrounds: rancher to city dwellers adding their viewpoints to the stew.
What had I imagined? Hmmm. A Teacher sitting up there telling us how to write, using a boring professorial voice.
Reality 1: Laura was one of the gang, a friend, laughing, cheering us on, offering her “immediate” writings to the prompt for us to judge. Laura answered all questions when asked: “How do you publish? How do you…? What is the best way…?”
Reality 2: Inspiring prompts written by the class members – added to prompts relying on three abstract words: fish, black, half. Fun to write and hear the responses. Other prompts were provided for those moments when we had more time to think and formulate an answer. Each night we could sign up to read and receive input to some longer writing project.
My imagination: Retreat? Will that mean a lot of psychological talk about finding the inner-me? I am a great grandmother. I found the inner-me long ago. If I had not, I would have withered and died by now.
Reality 1: A few comments about strength of character – as it came up to each of us. Not a “Tell me now.” Just an open and free chance for each to mention something if we wanted to. A totally enjoyable reunion with old friends that I had just met.
Reality 2: Facing the fact that I do have time to write.
Check out Laura’s upcoming retreats,some may be near to your town. Make a point of attending. It is well worth it.