Tomorrow, Ellen and I awake before sunrise and say “adieu” to Boulder, exchanging our temporary abode for Home.
Despite two enchanting weeks here, I miss the comfort, familiarity, and routines of my Sugar Land home. Most especially life with my kind and generous DH! Still, there’s a magic that only Boulder can generate. That’s a major admission for this Taos passion-ista.
That heart-thumping magic manifested itself again today, this time in hyper-productive form. Ellen and I wrote like storytelling fiends all day. I took a short break to lunch with special family members from Ft. Collins (shout-out to ML, D & E) and returned to complete significant progress on my WIP (‘work in progress’).
Perhaps we’re both desperate for a few more hours of clear, clean storytelling. Remnants of a tropical wave await our Sunday return to Houston. But first, any worries surrounding rainfall yet to arrive comes after what lies immediately ahead: 20 hours of weekend driving across three states. How do you hold onto the magic of a writing retreat amid the potential train of contained chaos coming toward us?
It begins with remembering. And here are mine — to remember tonight, across the next two days, and onto the life yet to come — the most powerful learnings of a ten-day writing retreat.
- While it’s trite, it’s that because it’s true: persistence pays off. Evidence: seven years of periodic work on a single essay yields finalist status. This pumps the ego to keep working hard on this novel that’s talked to me for 11 long, busy years.
- The craft of writing requires a lifetime of learning and devotion, a commitment I renewed in these Colorado mountains. Those who claim mastery follows 10,000 hours of practice are naive. If you’re good at storytelling, mastery never comes because you refuse to stop learning.
- Community enriches a writer’s life and all her projects. To wit:
Members of the Wednesday Houston group celebrate crafting stories together since January, 2017. The Boulder retreat marked the first time we five have bonded in such an extended, intensive writing experience. Our writing Wednesdays will never be the same!
It’s one thing to have a writing community in the town where you live. I’m beyond blessed to be involved with three such special groups.
To come to a writing retreat in another state and discover six storytelling soulmates is beyond a blessing. It’s grace in action, a concept our beloved Max Regan talks about. It’s a grace that comes not because you seek it. Instead, this kind of special grace finds you and touches you gently — and silently — on your shoulder when you’re not looking. Sweet.
4. Living a life as a full-time writer is worth the energy it demands. I return to Houston changed and committed. There’s a project awaiting my completion with an audience awaiting my story and a supportive crowd cheering every mile marker I pass. In eleven years of working on my debut novel, I’ve never felt so energized. It’s that Boulder air.
For the light-hearted learnings, it’s:
- Friends can remain friends even after sharing house for ten days.
- Colorado trees and my nose are not friends. Not going to happen. Ever.
- Never buy unbranded gasoline. Unless you want a coach rescue.
- Whatever you do, don’t kill the dog. Oops, that’s a big sorrysorry to my ex.
One of these blog posts, I’ll figure out how to do bulleted numbers that look right on your screen. That’s a big sorrysorry to you, dear reader.
For now, it’s dinnertime followed by packing all those things I had to haul to the mountains. All those vitals I never touched.
Bedtime will be late tonight, like another evening two weeks ago. Alas, I never learn. When sleep comes, it will no doubt offer another “journey proud” evening. Allie smiles from her perch.
Two days of driving is enough to put anyone on edge a little, eh? Begging forgiveness in advance from Ellen, fellow RoadBroad and car mate. Next I suggest: let’s go home, renewed.
Our stories await.