Tag Archives: The Muse Revisited

You deserve a writing holiday

twotwentytwosmallFor 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.

The Old Dorm setting perfect for Samll Meetings and Family Gatherings

breakfastAs 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

outdoors

 

 

 

Retreat Afterglow

Bowen Breakfast LSTGourmet food, historic bedrooms, island sunshine, and the Muse guiding our pens … Last weekend on Bowen was a writer’s paradise in every way, and four steps towards our manuscript goals, as we used the Hour Stories cards four times in three days.Bowen writing

Writers know better than to rely solely on the Muse to inspire creativity; discipline is the only thing we daily control. But when nine writers join together for timed writing exercises, the energy flows more easily, and both discipline and inspiration combine to empower writing.  Add to this the magical environment of Bowen Island, where Pulp Literature was conceived, and it creates a recipe for literary pixie dust.  Most of us wrote 4000 words!Bowen lounge KTW

If only the walls had ears, they would have heard time-management wisdom from Mel Anastasiou, murderous backfiring from Laura Kostur, oracle-like insight from Jane Durant, bizarro machinations from KT Wagner, romantic yearning from Kate Austin, fantastic captures from LS Taylor, photographic memories from Carol McCauley, comic counselling from Susan Pieters, and the conclusion of Allaigna’s trilogy by JM Landels.

Yes, a feast all around.  We can’t wait for next time!

Bowen ferry home LST

Thanks to Laura Taylor and Katherine Wagner for the photos!

 

The Magic of Bowen

There’s something about Bowen Island that feeds the writer’s soul, and this magical place, a stone’s throw across the water from Horseshoe Bay, is central to the very existence of Pulp Literature.outdoorsI first went there to write over a decade ago as part of Dale Adams Segal’s writing retreat through Langara.  Her Hour Stories cards were a breakthrough for me, allowing me to muffle my harsh inner critic and revel in the joy of storytelling.  And my early morning walks through the quiet, misty woods near Snug Cove allowed me to empty my mind and let stories pour in.  Without that retreat, I’m not sure I would ever have written a novel — or even another short story.

Allaigna 1 croppedA year later I returned to The Lodge at the Old Dorm with some of the attendees, and we hosted our own informal retreat.  There, curled up on the luxurious bed in the Lady Cecilia room, I wrote the first lines of Allaigna’s Song: “If you walk down the grand staircase of Castle Osthegn, you will see a family portrait …”

If I hadn’t mentioned that writing holiday to Mel — who has lived on Bowen much of her life — I would never have known she was a writer too, she would not have introduced me to Sue, and the three of us would never have begun writing together using the Hour Stories.  Our writing sessions together have produced the drafts of all three Allaigna novels, the delightful Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, Mel’s new mystery series The Seven Swans (see Issue 9!), Sue’s captivating historical novel about Esther, and many of the exquisite short stories you see from her in the pages of Pulp Literature.

Winter 2014 cover proofBut perhaps the largest creation to emerge from one of our writing sessions was the magazine itself.  After a productive morning writing at Mel’s place on Bowen, the idea for Pulp Literature sprang almost fully formed:  like Venus rising from the sea below the sunny deck where we drank our beer and supped on the inspiration of trees and wind and ocean.

Maybe Pulp Lit could have been born in Sue’s welcoming home, or my chaotic one, or even on the ethernet waves of Skype where we meet so often.  But I tend to think the vital spark came from the magic of the island itself.  Which is why we held our first Year of the Muse Retreat there this year, and why I’m so delighted to be returning in January 2016.alexandra

Fellow writers, I hope you’ll join us at the place where it all began, to steep your writing in the magic of Bowen.

The Muse Revisited
An all-inclusive writers retreat surrounded by natural beauty, with gourmet meals, luxurious rooms, and good company.
The Lodge at the Old Dorm
Bowen Island BC
8 – 10 January 2016
Register here

The writing table. Photo by Rosie Perera