Take one part beautiful island in BC (I recommend Bowen Island, the birthplace of Pulp Literature) and one part historic lodgings and add a gourmet chef with a laid-back personality. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine eight writers with different styles, preferably from a variety of locations. (This year’s combination of writers from the East and West coasts lent a tangy flavour and I’d advise repeating this balance of flavours).
Set the timer for one hour, five times during the course of the weekend. (Yes, we wrote five sessions and not only had time to read out our works to each other, but fit in a critique session as well).
Garnish with praise and encouragement and honest admiration for each other’s talents. Serve with a warm heart, and enjoy for the rest of the year. And share this recipe with others, because next year will come again faster than you think!
Next year’s Muse retreat is pencilled in for the 12th – 14th of January.
Dear Muse, thank you for showing up at our retreat on Bowen Island. Just when I thought I had no more words to write, you rescued me and my manuscript. I don’t think Superman has better timing. I hope I don’t come that close to crashing before our next retreat.
Dear Muse, I also want to say it was a nice touch to expand my horizons in the way you did. The selection of people at our table was like a vase of flowers with eight very different varieties in bloom. To see the contrast in our voices, yet to affirm each other in our different styles, brought health and a sturdy platform of confidence to my writing. Together we were stronger. Support is such an important part of long term success as a writer. Thanks.
Dear Muse, I’d also like to thank you for the food. I don’t usually get such careful cuisine for so many meals in a row. Or even one meal in a row. I felt the respect and craft that was put into the cooking seep into my body like some physical artistic elixer. And that didn’t even include the wine. I guess you are the Muse of chefs, too, aren’t you? And the Muse of bubble baths. And that was also a lovely walk through the snowy forest.
Dear Muse, please help me to remember how great this retreat was when I get discouraged later this year. Remind me that such places and spaces exist still inside myself. And when more opportunities come, let me grab hold of them and say yes. Saying yes was important.
For those of us who clock in at our keyboards and notebooks rather than stepping through the office doors every morning, ‘holidays’ are often a mixed blessing. We love the time spent with family, the food, the festivities, the break from daily routine. But in the back of our hearts we feel the tug of the loved ones we’re neglecting: our manuscripts.
Writers love what they do, and enforced time away from writing when the work is calling is a special kind of agony only fellow pen-monkeys can appreciate. To make matters worse, during the holiday season we open our houses to friends and family, busying ourselves with cooking turkeys, decorating, and wrapping gifts while our notebooks lie unopened, and our keyboards gather dust. We are in our offices, but unable to sit down and do the work we enjoy most.
As writers, we need a holiday from the holidays. That’s why at Pulp Literature we book the second weekend in January for our annual Muse Retreat. It’s a time for us to put the hectic holidays behind us, forget deadlines and production schedules, and simply write for three days while Dan and Julia at The Lodge at the Old Dorm pamper us with luxury accomodation and gourmet meals.
As always, we open the doors for a few other writers to join us. There are two spaces left and the price is only $899 until January 1st.
Non-writing spouses are invited to attend as well at a cost of $699. Bowen Island is a beautiful and inspirational place for walks in the forest, kayaking, and simply escaping the bustle of city life.
Your Muse deserves the gift of quality time with you. Register here to start 2017 with a well-earned break and come away with at least 3000 fresh new words on the page.
See you on Bowen!
Jen, Mel & Sue