Sunday, 22 August 2010
Home from Retreat
If you ever have an opportunity to go on an Arvon Tutored Retreat - take it. I have just returned from Moniack Mhor where these Aberdeen Angus cows were our nearest neighbours. it has been a week of writing, talking and laughing...oh and cheese! When attending anything with a group of strangers there is always the risk of tension and conflict. Not here, there were fourteen writers and two tutors - Zoe Strachan and Kevin MacNeil, both accomplished authors/poets and so generous with their time. We got along famously and I think some long term friendships will develop out of the retreat. We already have a facebook group and made contact via email.
There was limited internet access, no phones or TV or radio. It was bliss. The weather was amazing and the views unbelievable. Several took the opportunity to walk to Lock Ness, unfortunately my joints and lack of stamina meant such a journey was not an option for me but it really didn't matter. I was in love with the views.
I started writing as soon as I got up stopping only occasionally for a drink or stretch and then stopped as it got towards the evening meal. We also had the opportunity of having an hour long one to one with each of the tutors who had previously been sent some of our work. This was the first time anyone outside of my supervisory team had looked at my PhD novel. It was quite nerve wracking but the feedback was not only useful but inspirational too giving me a real sense of confidence in my writing. Sounding a typical writer by being over dramatic, the week has been life changing/affirming for me.
It is rare to have an opportunity to have such an intense time to focus on your writing - the most important thing I got out of it was I remembered why I write - I love it and it is what I have to do.