I am delighted to report that I have returned from a brief summer writing retreat rejuvenated and inspired! A dear friend of mine, Tai Carmen, offered her beautiful home and office space (see above) for a two-person weekend writing intensive. The retreat proved to be wholly restorative and helped remind me that creative immersion and dialogue are necessary parts of the writing process. Whereas my winter retreat was generative in the amount of new work I produced, this summer retreat was regenerative. After working all winter and spring on writing/revising (as well as teaching, editing, and the daily work of life), I noticed my creative drive had depleted. It wasn’t until this retreat that I realized I hadn’t had an intensive, sustained creative exchange with another artist since graduating from Pacific University’s MFA program in 2009. Being able to spend a weekend engaging in meaningful conversations about writing/art/philosophy/life, sharing delicious meals, listening to music, and walking through the woods with a kindred writer did wonders to stimulate my creative mind. Understanding this, I will now make it a goal to book two retreats a year: one solitary, one collective.
Overall, it has been a summer full of writing, reading, music, and conversation. I was honored to discuss writing with Wayne Potter and fellow author and friend Neva Cavataio on Wayne’s radio program, Keeping Kurrent. You can listen to that interview here. I have been glad to have a little extra time to attend art events in Portland recently as well; I was wowed by the performances of Orquestra Pacifico Tropical and Gulls at PDX Pop Now!, and I also had the chance to attend two stunning readings/performances: (1.) Poetry Press Week, which showcased the wonderful work of Albert Goldbarth, Zachary Schomburg, Carl Adamshick, Julia Claire Tillinghast, KMA Sullivan, Chrys Tobey, Zubair Ahmed, and Veronica Martin; (2.) PURE SURFACE, a performance series that combines movement, text, and film, which highlighted excerpts from the beautiful and heartbreaking poem “Verso” by Brandi Katherine Herrera.
For fall, I plan to continue working on my new story collection, currently titled Fall Apart, which I started last winter and have been revising this summer. In addition, I will be starting my first term as a full-time writing instructor and faculty member at Chemeketa Community College and look forward to continuing to work with students and faculty.
And, with any luck, I will be able to take another writing retreat this winter!
Warm wishes and happy writing,