tamela_j (tamela_j) wrote,

Writing Retreat of Awesome!

Over the Fourth of July holiday, I was lucky enough to attend the Second Annual Helderberg Writing Retreat. It is a glorious good time that my editor is kind enough to throw at her place in the Hudson Valley. It is secluded, isolated and yet filled with inspiration from not only the environment, but also the company of fellow writers.
It's also a bit of a homecoming.

There are people there that I feel I've grown up with as a writer, people who have seen the very roughest of rough drafts, that have nurtured me to be what I am now and are still invested in helping me be what I can be, one day. And I feel the same towards them. We've all sort of spread out over the country in the last few years, but I got to see a few of them.

So there was inspiration from that, plus, half a dozen writers sitting in the same room, happily clacking away on their computers, scribbling in their notebooks and not a single internet distraction was sort of an amazing experience.

This year was a perfect combination of writing, workshopping, prompting and shenanigans. We spent our days writing and workshopping pieces of each others' work (man, I miss that!) and our nights cocktailing, costuming and reading our work aloud *meep* (I read "Four Corners" which I still need to fix, but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to say those words aloud. ♥)

One of the non-writing highlights of the retreat (other than breakfasts at the local hole-in-the-wall-of-awesome) was the Costume Ball. Last year's theme was Favorite Character and I half assed it by putting on some overalls, a derby hat and going as Tom Joad from Grapes of Wrath. ♥TOM♥ This year's theme, Favorite Villain, I was going to do the same (not go as Tom Joad, obvs, but use most of the costume) and go as Bob Ewell from To Kill A Mockingbird. I know, lame...

But then inspiration hit. Guess who I am?

Need another clue? Here's me reenacting one of the key scenes from the novel/movie...


For next year's Costume Ball, we all wrote two of our favorite books on a piece of paper and put them into a hat and then we each pulled out a book and next year we have to had read the book and come as one of the characters and then discuss. My two selections were Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow (naturally) and Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins. ♥ Sadly, no one got Russell's book, so no Jesuit priests or alien life forms. But someone did get the Robbin's book (and man I hope they like it!) so there is a chance there will be a Salome or perhaps a Can of Beans--seriously, it's a really weird book.

I got The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I'm not too far into it so far, but am loving it. Anyone ever read it?

Lastly, I'm using the Dorothy Parker icon because one of the younger attendees of the retreat, rather innocently (and not at all prepared for the *gasps* of horror she would receive) asked, "Who is Dorothy Parker."

And there was much weeping (and also much googling some of the very best quotes).

This lead two of us to declare (and start to plan) that next year's retreat will have to kick off with a Dorothy Parker Cocktail Hour. IT WILL BE AWESOME!

As I like to have my toes in as many social waters as possible, this post can also be found on DreamWidth. You can comment here or there...or not at all if you want to make me cry.

Tags: helderberg, peace-tranquility-flavored vodka, writerly shenanigans, writing retreat
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