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Markham Writing Retreat Redux Jan 09

The hive mind met last weekend, Jan 3rd and 4th. Our traditional date is the first weekend in December, but two couldn't make it so we quickly scheduled a second retreat for the first weekend in January. There are no rules. We bring food because we feel like it. We break for lunch and dinner because we want to. We talk or go back to work at our discretion. A lot gets accomplished. Jennifer has been working on newsletters for her nursery business. Karin was working on a YA project. Merrie was editing. Norma was working on poetry. I was rewriting/editing "And From His Lips" the latest fairy story. Sometimes we share and read. This time we didn't. We talked and talked around the table. Country women talk. Writer talk.

I sequestered in an apartment over the garage. I have no cell phone reception in Markham. And I can only get access to Jennifer's satellite (Hughes, like my own) from a desk by the window. Last year it was my bed that was under that window. With sun streaming in, there's too much glare much of the day. Good. In which case, I have this lovely living room to myself where I can blast my music, make tea, have snacks, and sit and work. I'm allowed to set the heat where I please. I was visited by a Flicker, which is a woodpecker-type bird. I awoke in the night and saw the big dipper through the huge skylight over my bed.

Everyone else has quarters in the house which is two houses built together with stairs in different places and part log cabin. Lots of places to work happily and separately.

I heart my hive mind.

Counterclockwise: Oz, Jennifer, Norma, Merrie. Karin took the photos and holds the copyrights.

We tend to be pretty serious when we talk...
You'd never guess that Merrie tells stories about Black Snakes that will have you in stitches. I riveted them with stories of the hawks, Maralton's move, etc.

Jennifer is a great host and has had a catering business, so the food is always excellent and well-presented. She has another house with her husband, so her neighbor calls this house the world's most expensive doghouse because her 3 dogs live here and she's only here during the day.

Norma. What can I say about Norma? An incredible poet who has done just about everything in her life, the crazy and the mundane. She probably wouldn't like the more serious of these photos, but it shows how thoughtful she is, how carefully she listens and concentrates.

Norma working...

And I think the photos show how Karin feels about Norma, too.

Jennifer again. She gave me the idea in December for getting suet and suet cages for The Dude for xmas.

The Seal of Approval Oz Photo...

But to be fair, this one is probably more typical. Let me know.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 7th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
And you can't even see Karin! The weird thing is how everyone works hard, just works until their brain is fried. I think it's the habit that built up from doing it about once ever two weeks. We don't meet as often now, but the energy is still there when we do.

I love flickers. I think yours are slightly different than the eastern ones, but very similar. I could hear the Flicker first. Then I was able to get right by a large window before it appeared again. I think a female, but I'm not certain. Beautiful red V behind the head, so it might have been a male. I was about one foot away standing absolutely still. Loved seeing the long beak.

I also love all our woodpeckers and the rare sighting of a pileated.
Jan. 7th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
Actually the first Oz photo is you as my mind has you filed. The second Oz photo is you ready to bust somebody's ass. 8)
Jan. 7th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
Flatterer! (love the prairie dog)
Jan. 7th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
Gosh, that looks wonderful. It is always nice to find your tribe.
Jan. 8th, 2009 12:40 am (UTC)
Your hive mind was wonderful! Maybe I was channeling a little bit of your energy, because I woke up this morning with an unexpected story.
Jan. 8th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
oh yay! I hope it came to fruition for you!
Jan. 8th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
I'm so envious! All of the folks in my writers groups are scattered around the world, and we've never gotten together for a writers retreat like yours. Virtual networks are great, but there's something really electric and exhilarating when a bunch of writers meet up in real life to build off each others' creative energies that you simply can't get online.
Jan. 8th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
Not the same, you're right. I wouldn't change my long distance groups for ANYTHING. They're my genre.

The hive mind is different. We don't critique each other. We listen, we encourage, we talk, we work. And that's just when we get together for an evening! The retreats are special treats.

None of my hive mind writes science fiction and fantasy. They like my work, but it's not their milieu. They're excited because they usually see the story starting out as short blurbs. As I'm excited about theirs.
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
I'm glad you had a successful retreat.

Your mention of Hughes reminds me that after almost five years of life here in West Virginia with only satellite internet, Verizon DSL has finally reached us. And my first day of service was the same day the ice storms kept interfering with the Hughes signal, which was wonderful! Assuming there are no problems, I'm going to be canceling with Hughes this week.

You should check whether DSL has reached you. I get the idea we're both in the same level of back of beyond, so you never know. It's cheaper and faster than Hughes.
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
Tricky question. Eloise's elementary school, a half mile away has it. Another road has it. Two of our adjacent neighbors (at least) have it. Every time we call, we're on the signal box in town 3 milea away and they say it's too far. Even with the household lines disconnected.

That same ice storm? Our phone was useless, there was so much noise on the line. Couldn't hear a word on any phone call, though they could hear us.

There's a half mile of phone line to the house just buried, no housing. And it's now 30+ years old. I suspect that's the culprit keeping us from DSL. So I need to phone them and have them come test the line when it's wet, preferably wet for days. The noise reduces as soon as the weather improves.

Life in the country. We only put in Hughes a year ago after 5 years of dialup frustration.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )