Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Retreat Notes

The Lodge... the Lake... the Laughter!
The inaugural Write2TheEnd Writer's Retreat is over. What a wonderful weekend, shared with truly amazing writers!

Ami and Kim were thrilled to have Yi Shun Lai and Shawna Ayoub-Ainslie join us as facilitators. Retreat participants basked in the glow of so much solid, actionable information.

I know of at least three people who came with creative blocks who had those blocks lifted. (I was one of them!)

A huge thank-you to the staff (especially the cooks) at Camp Cedar Lodge for outdoing themselves in making our Retreat a success. We had a wide range of dietary needs -- from vegan and vegetarian to gluten free to ketogenic -- and the food was wonderful!

A special shout-out of thanks to our participants. You came from all over the Midwest, from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan. You threw yourself into the camping experience. Even when it got cold (Because, Michigan. In May.), you never complained. Not once. About anything. Rather, you rallied. You adapted. And you wrote your way through.

Shawna, in one of our opening night exercises, had everyone write a letter to themselves from two days later. In the letter, we were to identify what we accomplished, what we hoped to achieve, and what breakthroughs we experienced throughout the retreat. And it worked! For many participants, those letters were practically prescient, in the best of all possible ways.

Some participants flew the Flag of Solitude and sequestered themselves to write their hearts out. Others took advantage of our excellent faculty and attended every single workshop offered, soaking in all the information they could.

Our esteemed faculty was made of awesome. They made themselves readily available to everyone, answering questions and offering feedback for hours. We can't thank you enough for your dedication and encouragement.

(Side note: extra w00ts to writer and editor YiShun Lai who discovered shortly after the Retreat that her novel Not a Self-Help Book: the Misadventures of Marty Wu is a semi-finalist for the 2017 Thurber Prize for American Humor. CONGRATULATIONS ALL OVER THE PLACE!!)

Actually: "YAAAAAAAYYYYY!!" is a rather apt illustration of how I felt about the Retreat. From movie night to a rather rainy campfire, from literally writing in the dark to experiencing a monumental breakthrough, I am overjoyed and honored to have had a part in the first Write2TheEnd Writer's Retreat. Here's hoping those who attended find themselves inspired for many months to come.