I just got back from a writing retreat weekend led by the fabulous Kate Hopper of Motherhood and Words. It was a weekend away that I really needed – one filled with rest, reading, writing and wonderful women friends. I’m so grateful I was able to attend. It was meant to be, I think.
Kate’s retreats fill up months in advance and this retreat was no exception. Sign up time was right in the middle of bad times with my Dad’s failing health so I said “no” when sign up time came around months ago. A couple of weeks ago, however, I got an email from Kate asking “Any chance you can make the retreat?” Apparently, another person had to cancel and there was space for me if I wanted to attend. I just about said no right off because I didn’t think I could make it happen financially and schedule-wise. And, to be honest, I was scared to be away from my family for the first time since my Dad got really sick and other things in my family went all topsy-turvy. On top of that, with all that’s been going on, I sure didn’t feel like I had any energy to actually write.
But I decided to think about it before saying a definite “no” and I realized I really would like to get away, even if it was a bit scary. I mentioned the prospect to Owen and he said, yes, I should go. So I decided to go for it. I worked out my schedule at the bookstore then contacted Kate to tell her I could attend.
Given all that has been going on with my family in the past months, I didn’t think I would feel up into delving into heavy writing about motherhood and family, so I planned to approach the retreat as a time to rest more than a time to write.
So I rested. I walked. I read quite a bit of The Nix, a new novel by Nathan Hill (it’s really good!). I ate great food. I talked to the other women. I laughed. I cried. I spent time alone. I slept well. And, yes, I did find some time to write.
The writing was not easy, not that it ever is, but on one of my walks I found a quote on a sign in a tree that spoke to me and where I’ve been with the loss of my Dad, the tough times with my family, the stagnant state of my writing. The quote is from Robert Frost – “The best way out is always through.”
I smiled when I saw the quote. Took out my iPhone to take a picture. “That’s a keeper,” I thought, a quote to remind me to keep on moving through writing blocks, family issues, sadness, fear and anything else tries to keep me from moving forward.
“The best way out is always through.” I hope that quote helps you, in your writing or wherever you might need it, too.