Where I’ve Been Lately

Hi Readers–if I still have readers–please, tell me I do,

Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat Faculty: Suzanne Finnamore, Theo Pauline Nestor, Cheryl Strayed, Candace Walsh

Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat Faculty: Suzanne Finnamore, Theo Pauline Nestor, Cheryl Strayed, Candace Walsh

I loathe blog posts that begin with how guilty the blogger feels for a great absence from blogging–so I won’t fall into that trap here, but it has been a while since I’ve blogged here. Over the winter, I was super busy finishing Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) and promoting and planning the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat.  In a great flurry of excitement, I handed in my final book edits at the beginning of March and two weeks later I headed up to the Cascade Mountains to for the retreat.

As one of the retreat’s hosts, I was pretty ready for everything and anything to go wrong.  Adding to my paranoia was the fact that we bussed most of the 80 participants up twisty Highway 2 (famous for road closures) the 2.5 hour drive between Seattle and Leavenworth.  Would the buses show up?  (They did).  Would one bus go sliding off the road? (Nope) Would participants phone and say, “Help! I’m stuck at the airport!”  (Didn’t happen). In fact, almost everything went right.  Sadly, faculty E.J.Levy was stuck at home with the flu, but otherwise, the weekend went as planned.  Better than planned.  I didn’t imagine the magic of the weekend.  I didn’t imagine the enthusiasm of the participants. I didn’t foresee how many people would say they had a breakthrough in one of the classes or some insight during Cheryl Strayed’s keynote* or what it would feel like to watch the writers find new writer friends in the group.

So with my book turned in and the retreat behind me, I’m back to regular life (Hello, Taxes!) until my proofreading pages arrive next week and then I head off to New York for the ASJA Conference at which I’ll be a panelist at the session “So You Want to Be a Creative Coach…” on April 25th.

Cheers for now!  My next post in the next week will be on the question students often ask me and I believe haunts every new writer, “Am I Any Good?”

Theo

*Cheryl’s keynote was called “Big, Deep Things” and focused on the issues that plague emerging writers–especially writers of memoir.  The talk–in typical Strayed generosity–was almost an hour and a half long and very inspirational.  One takeaway: “Keep your eye on the ball.”  And for writers, the “ball” is the writing.  Don’t focus on how others will receive your writing or how much you will or will not get paid for your work; study the masters, learn your craft, and write the best book you can.

This entry was posted in Memoirists, More Stuff for Writers, Theo Finding Her Voice, Writing Is My Drink: The Book. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Where I’ve Been Lately

  1. Diana says:

    Theo, I am your life -long fan, (startingmy last month). The retreat was a sublime inspiration in multiple ways. Your book about sleeping alone in a King sized bed caused me to have a rocking epiphany! Thank you. Proust didn’t change my life but you did. -Diana

  2. Theo, thanks for organizing the Wild Mountain Writing Retreat. It’s the first time I attend an event of this kind. I am grateful to all four members of the faculty for sharing so much wisdom and experience with us novice writers, and to Cheryl Strayed for giving us permission to “embrace our mediocrity”. I came home with the conviction that I needed to tell my stories and that I couldn’t loose another minute to start doing that. This is “where I have been lately” since the Wild Mountain Writing Retreat. I came home energized. First, I read Wild, Split, How to Sleep Alone in a KIng Size Bed. I cried, and laughed, and learned from your captivating stories. Now inspired by so much wisdom, I set up my studio at home- nobody else is allowed here. Then, I sketched a plan to finish my book, It’s on a flipping board across from my desk. Because I work better with a deadline, I decided the book is going to be ready in December, no negotiations or excuses. In order to continue writing when I am stuck with my story, I’ve been posting some poems and articles on http://www.wattpad.com/Cayena (comments/votes welcomed, please visit). I also submitted one story to a writing contests. I paid a newsletter to receive updated writing contest information, and enrolled on an online class for the summer. Finally, I titled my journal “2013: The Year I Became a Writer” and I am working my butt off to honor the title and my dreams.
    A great side effect: I have a few new friends, novice-writers like me. I have four more memoirs on my desk including Gore’s, Walsh’s and Elij’s.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Do it again next year, please.

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