Today I retreat. I run away. I withdraw. That is to say I go off to the SCBWI Whispering Pines Writer's Retreat right here in New England.
I think I may have lost count how many times I have gone, but I know it is at least seven times.
That is seven escapes. Seven retreats from the front line of family life. Seven years of making sure every kid and routine is "covered" with an adult in charge, so I don't have to worry (even tho I still do). Seven times I have made my way down to the Alton Jones Campus in Rhode Island and driven through the quiet woods to find lodging, great food, inspiring speakers, and good friends.
This retreat is not as much of a "working retreat" as Rising River which is run by author Jackie Davies in New Hampshire, which I have also gone to, LOVED, and gotten serious work done on manuscripts (although WP might be if I carve the time out a little). No, Whispering Pines is more of a great listening and learning retreat, for it offers great "pep talk."
Just about an hour from Boston, it is set in a lovely wooded area, where deer and wild turkey roam, and where you can catch the glimmer of a winter sky on the partially frozen lake, or look for evidence of lingering ghosts in the partially haunted buildings on the property.
There are usually at least 2 editors, an author and an illustrator to share their thoughts and work. They all seek to inspire, educate, give inside information, and leave you feeling like you can take something home to chew on. And there is always great food and drink.
So, adios for a few days, while I regroup, head off with sketch pad and laptop, and try not to use my cell phone too much....