Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Writer's Retreat

I had the pleasure of attending the West Tennessee Writing Project's Writing on the Water retreat (nicknamed WOW) at Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tennessee last weekend.  All I can say is WOW is right.  This was one of the best weekends I have had in a very long time.  From the natural beauty of the park to the fantastic participants, this was a great workshop.

My friend Sheena and I left the school at noon to set out on our journey.  According to the Tom Tom, it was about a two and a half hour ride.  We were supposed to check in at The Inn by 5, so we were good on time.  The drive was actually pretty nice. We were on several back roads, but we only got stuck behind farm equipment one time.

Once we arrived at the park we went to The Inn to check in.  We received our room key and went upstairs.  Even though the hotel seemed a little bit outdated, the room was spacious and comfortable.  The best part of the room, though, was this view from our balcony. If the wasps had not been so bad, I might have just sat out there the entire weekend.

After getting settled in we went downstairs to meet the group for getting to know you activities and dinner.  It was Friday night which, in the South at least,  means seafood on the buffet. There was fried catfish, fried shrimp, crawdads, hush puppies, and shrimp n' grits.  Yep, that's right- shrimp n' grits.  I had heard of it before, but never actually seen it until that night.   With my stomach problems I settled for a chicken breast, some salad, and some vegetables.  I made up for it with dessert.  The banana pudding was amazing, and it had about 6 inches of meringue on top.  I opted for the fudge volcano cake with ice cream on top.

After dinner we went downstairs for our first workshop. It was more of a getting to know you prompt. We were asked to write about a song we liked, and why it was influential in our lives.  I wrote about Randy Travis's Forever and Ever, Amen  because it is the song that applies to my husband Steve and I.   Others chose hymns, modern indie songs, and old fashioned country favorites.  Each of us had a story to tell, and there were many tears shed that night as we remembered lost loved ones and special memories.  The evening concluded with a fun-filled informal party in one of the guest rooms, where we played a game that was a combination of password and charades.  It was hilarous.

The next morning I woke before the sunrise and snapped this picture before I called my hubby to check in. 
That second day was filled with more writing, sharing, and laughter.  I didn't get a great deal of writing done, but I started on two very solid pieces that could easily develop into something.  When the weekend was over I was sad to leave, knowing I had to return to work on Monday.  I took with me some special memories, lots of photos, and the phone numbers of my new friends.

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