When plans get changed

If you know me at all, you know how I love to get away for a writing retreat. Alone or with someone else; far away or close to home; couple of days or couple of weeks. Longer. I’ve traveled the world with my notebook in my suitcase; and taken my camp chair, a bottle of water, and an apple down the block to Balboa Park. I’ve retreated at spas, resorts, and cheap motels; on ships, trains, and in RVs; in tents, borrowed apartments, and others’ houses in home exchanges. I’ve packed up notebook and intention and gone to tropical islands, a cabin in the woods, and rented flats in riotous cities. I’ve gone to fishing camps, on a rafting trip, and more than a few jazz festivals where the music was my Muse. I’ve retreated in my living room, my bedroom, and my own back yard.

Judy Reeves - LowResNext month I’ll travel to a retreat center near Asheville, NC for Journal Conference 2016, May 19-22. The conference is a four-day celebration of All Things Journal, starting with pre-conference events Thursday, May 19, when I’ll be leading a workshop, and continuing through Sunday, May 22, with a bounty of speakers, workshops and Writing with the All-Stars evening writing groups. Maybe you’d like to join me. Find out more about the Conference and register here. Check out the cool flip book that lists all the workshop, talks, and panels.

After a visit with friends in Florida, I’ll be back home for the summer. Then, I had it all planned out. For my 2016 writing retreat this fall I’d go to Ajijic, Mexico, a little town on Lake Chapala. I’d been invited to stay in the home of a woman I know from previous writing retreats there. But, her plans changed and consequently, so have mine.

Now I’m not sure where I’ll go.

Just yesterday morning I spent about an hour and consumed two cups of coffee paging through the March/April Retreats Issue of Poets & Writers magazine, dog-earing a few listings and imagining others.

Thoughts: What if find another place to stay in Mexico? What about Paris, again? What about a small RV, a little dog, and the open road? Has Amtrak closed their writer’s retreat applications? One thing I know for sure: I’ll go somewhere. And I’ll write.

What’s your best writing retreat, taken or planned or dreamed of? Send the story in paragraph or two to me at judy@judyreeveswriter.com, and you’ll be included in a drawing to win a copy of my book, The Writer’s Retreat Kit.

front cover/inside cover*

A Poem a Day

National Poetry Month starts today and many writers are joining NaPoWriMo and writing a poem a day. While I do write poetry on occasion, (more like sometimes I am graced by a poem), I won’t attempt to write a new poem every day. Instead, my commitment is to read a new poem every day for the month of April. Each day a different poet.

I think I’ll just close my eyes and let the Muse choose a book from my bookshelves each morning. I’ll post the titles of both the book and the poem and maybe a line or two on my Facebook page.

bookshelf

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Re-Visioning: The Art of Seeing Stories Anew

Several months ago I pulled out some chapters of my first novel and I think I might be falling in love with it again. I’ve only invited the first chapter on a date so far but we got along really well, talked about old times, shared a few laughs at our awkward beginnings, drooping middles, questionable endings. I played around with the structure and created a free-standing story from that chapter, which, with the help of my writing group, came out better than I expected. In fact, I liked it so much, I submitted it to an online publication, Connotation Press, where it appeared last January (thank you again, Karen Stefano), and then—surprise of all surprises—it was featured in Ploughshares’ blog under the heading: “Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Magazine This Week. (Call me stunned and put my feet back on the floor!)

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