Every year I attend the most wonderful writing workshop known to man (and unknown to a few too.) Wildacres Writer’s Workshop at Wildacres Retreat in Little Switzerland, NC. I have been attending this workshop since 1995, missing only one summer because I was about 39 1/2 weeks pregnant. (The baby wasn’t born until after the workshop, so I still insist that I could have made it.) I digress.
For a week, I’m secluded at a beautiful retreat at the top of a mountain, surrounded by 100 other writers, with nothing to cook, clean, or care about. It’s all words, all week–the beauty of them, the joy, the poignancy, the humor, the rhythm, the rhyme and sheer wonder of the stories they form.
Then the week is over and we all get in our cars, drive back down the mountain and into our work-a-day world. Don’t get me wrong; I love my life. So, getting back to it isn’t really all that terrible, but I miss the mountain. I miss living in a world where writing isn’t a whim, but a necessity. A service, even, to the world at large. A world where writing is important and time is not just “found” for it, but “made.”
My brain likes to toss out random but appropriate song lyrics from time to time. Here’s what popped into my head this Monday morning.
Back to life, back to reality
Back to the here and now, yeah…
Yep, back to it. But then I thought, wait…..back to life without writing? No. I’m lucky enough to work as a writing teacher, editor, and published writer, so mine is not a life in which writing is tucked into the closet. So why did my brain toss me those lyrics?
We call Wildacres the Magic Mountain and it’s the magic that I miss. It’s the magic that I leave there, that I let go of almost as if it’s not something that I can hold onto. My brain is telling me it’s a “stop and smell the roses” thing. It’s an “I found my tribe” thing. I don’t have to segment that out for just one week a year. The roses are in bloom and my tribe is thriving.
But what did my brain want me to do with those lyrics? I’m a goal oriented person, so immediately I thought–yes, I’m to make some new writing goals and set about achieving them. OK, sure, always a good thing. But I think my brain was sending me a different message. I think it was urging me to reevaluate reality–to hold onto the magic, to hold onto the wonder of words.
Easier said than done? Not really.
Yes, I have some writing goals and I plan to achieve them. But–back to the roses–the difference is in how I tend the garden. Am I weeding because it needs doing and all I really paid attention to was the weeds? Or am I searching for the flowering bud, the vegetable within–wait, wasn’t I talking about roses….but that’s just it–roses, tomatoes; the planting, the weeding and watering, the waiting, the harvest–it’s all pretty magical if you let yourself see it that way. The world is a wonder.
“Act like it,” my brain says. “Magic is all around you. Reach out and take hold.”
Join a writer’s group, form a writer’s group, attend readings, go to local festivals, read, write, stand around in the bookstore and realize how important what you’re doing is, submit your work, submit your work (yes, I know I said that twice), belive in yourself, make a website, start a blog, read other people’s blogs, subscribe to a literary journal or a writer’s magazine (or both), be part of the writing community. You’ve found your calling–now write.