I am sitting on my back porch, a book perched on my lap that I am only reading kind of. In front of me, I can see my blue blanket draped on the grass and 5 people on and around it – a workshop group hard at it. If I listen, I can hear the murmur of voices from the living room where another group is talking, and every once in a while, I hear laughter from the picnic table on the front patio.
The Writer’s Retreat is full in session, and while I am struggling with the idea that I should be doing more, I am learning that the space and the process and the intention of these 12 wonderful people will do all that most be done. I am learning that as I sit and read on my own porch.
If there is a greater gift in the world, I do not know it.
This weekend, 12 incredible people graced this place with their presence, their work, their words, their tears, and their breath. They filled the farm with energy and with silence, and in a way I could not have ever imagined, they told me that my dreams were good and right and worthy. That this place can be a haven, that I can teach and guide without needing a classroom.
The weekend was not perfect – I will learn the amounts of food for this size group, and we will build more space to allow for rain. We will get a dishwasher. I will learn to listen more.
Plus, Wilma would not faint when we asked. On Saturday night before John Francis gave us a splendid, fire-side concert, we all gathered at the goat pasture to see if we could get beautiful Wilma – our myotonic goat – to faint for us. We tried – but not too hard – to show her quirky genetics, but Wilma has gotten fierce . . . and she just jogged around before coming over to stand against my thigh and smile. There are worse things.
Our time together was rich and powerful, hard and complex. I’m still not at a place where language can wrap around even the most simple parts of it. Yet, I know this – it was good.
I so deeply hope they each carried away something meaningful and true from their time here. I so hope that they were filled up by their time, that they took joy in the animals and the grass and even in the camping. I so hope that their writing comes strong and that they stay strong in the commitment to it. That is my prayer, my dream breathed out as they drove down our driveway.
Yet, for me, the weekend was confirmation, like a blessing laid down by veined, strong hands – yes, this, this is good work.
What is your good work? What do you dream of doing with your words and talents? What keeps you from doing that work?
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