I have just returned from an extraordinary week in Ohio.
For the last year or so I have been thinking I needed to go away to a cabin in the woods somewhere and write for about a week. I was wondering how I would be able to afford it. Well, in a great example of how the universe provides what you ask for, I was given the opportunity to do this for free, other than my transportation there.
This cabin was my home for the past week. I had power, but not running water. However, it was only a block or so walk to the main house where there was water.
The ladies who offered this retreat paid great attention to detail. Each cabin had a small bouquet of flowers that included mint and lambs ear.
I was one of three artists who were there. The others were an artist/writer from Ohio and a Dominican nun from Wisconsin. There were others who were supposed to come but cancelled at the last minute. It's a shame they missed out. It was an exceptional experience.
There were four ladies who were there every day, making sure everything we needed was available. Sue and Marcia run the retreat center. And Diann is the one who started this week to honor her former partner, Marnee, who died a few years ago. Diann cooked for us all week - wonderful vegetarian meals with lots of organic food. Birch was her "sous chef." Peaches is the resident kitty.
Birch and I really connected because we're both southern girls. She's from Tennessee and I'm from Kentucky so we had the opportunity to talk about "our people."
There were other ladies in and out all week that I got to know just a bit. It was a very interesting time.
Right outside my cabin door was a lilac bush that was in bloom. When it was warm enough I kept the door open and could smell the lilacs.
I spent the week writing on my novel, journalling, painting and thinking. And also remembering my mom. May 11 was the five year anniversary of her death.
I wrote a great deal on my novel while I was there - about 25,000 words - and also did a lot of editing.
My cabin had a nice little table where I set up my writing area. It was incredible the amount of writing I was able to get done by just having that focus. When I'm on the computer at home there are so many things I can be doing. There I had only the book to work on. Batya, one of the other artists, edits a literary journal and asked me to submit some of my writing so I'll be doing that, too.
Batya got so much done while we were there. She did paintings and wrote and worked on her play and did some organizing and was just a flurry of activity. It was inspiring.
Lucy was the other writer there. She is 83, although you would never guess it from looking at her. She was working on a lecture about the female mystics.
We shared some of our work a couple of times over the week and it was interesting to hear what people were working on. These were some very intelligent women I was with all week. I often felt like the dumb one, and I love being around people who make me stay on my toes conversationally.
I did do a little bit of painting and journalling, but mostly I worked on my novel. I'm pretty pleased with how it's going overall.
This was a gorgeous place to be. I feel so lucky to have been invited to share it. I'm thankful that Mary, from my journalling list, told me about the application process and thankful I was chosen. It was a great opportunity.