Writing Retreat 2

Wednesday, 8 June 2011
In December 2009, I went on my first, self-designed writing retreat. I went to Newport, Oregon and stayed in a fabulous place right on the ocean. It was 55F and sunny and I felt inspired to write while watching the waves come in. At that time I was still working on my memoir about my long distance relationship/visa battles with Kingsley. One of my goals for next year is to complete the first chapter and outline and get it sent out to agents and publishers!

It's been a year and a half since the writing retreat and I want to schedule one every year. For me, it is just one night away to focus, relax, journal, write down goals and work on writing. This year, on a much different budget, I decided to go camping. Yes, camping by myself. Powell Valley Marina is on Norris Lake and the owners allow tent camping and swimming. For $22.89 you can book a campsite for the night.

Most of my neighbors were sporting RVs but I only saw three people while I was there. The campground isn't primitive and doesn't allow for much privacy but I had fun. First thing was first. I set up camp. My two-person Coleman tent (gift from my bro) is simple to put up.

I finished an excellent book, Something to Prove: A Daughter's Journey to Fulfill a Father's Legacy by Dr. Yvonne Thornton. This was such an inspiring read! Dr. Thornton is a black gynecologist who goes to work for Cornell in the 80s teaching residents, watching over a women's clinic and dealing with her own private practice. She faced racism, sexism and trials while trying to reach her professional goals. Her father was literally a ditch-digger but wanted his daughters to be doctors. Three of them are. Dr. Thornton is not only a brilliant woman, but a wonderful writer. She actually made me think:  Is there something I can do with my career to help people?

Poetry has never been a huge draw for me because poems can be confusing and intricate. I do like a shorter form of story telling and have written poems for Kingsley (maybe 10 or so?) which I've never shared with anyone else. On the writing retreat, I wrote a few simple lines to go with the theme of my surroundings and these are my favorite:


View of the lake
Firefly the color
of the Caribbean sea

Birds race through
the last rays of sun
Stray dogs with worn
collars stop by
for crusts of bread

Peaceful swimming
Cool water with toes
pointing down
The heat of the
day wanes

The Lake

Boats come in at seven
engines roaring

Mourning doves in tall
evergreens remind the camp
dusk is coming

Birds feed and ready
for roost
chattering about the day

I also spent at least an hour or so considering my goals for the next year and for the future. My birthday is less than a month away and I tend to do some soul searching when another year is in the books. Here's some of the goals I came up with:  Become debt free, work on building our savings account, develop rich partnership with Kingsley (on the same continent) go to South Africa to visit family, go to Missouri to visit family, be committed to piano, re-open online vintage store, Black Violet Vintage.

When I'd get too hot or felt bored from reading and writing, I'd walk about 10 yards to the lake and swim. Norris lake is gorgeous. I even went swimming in the darkness. Night swimming is relaxing and peaceful. When the sun went down, I built a fire and read my second book, Denial: A Memoir of Terror by Jessica Stern using a flash light.

Back when I first became a homeowner and had a fire pit for the first time (thanks Adrian and Larsen!) I searched YouTube for a video on how to build a fire. There wasn't one. Kingsley told me what to do via Skype and I did it! Starting a fire and keeping it burning in a pit is not easy. That's why I created videos for my YouTube channel to show anyone who needs to know, how to build a fire.

Part 2:

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