Motherhood & Words

I wanted to write about the retreat on Monday, but as soon as I arrived home, I had to shift gears and dive into class planning and prep. But I want to take some time now to say what an amazing weekend it was.

Friday and Saturday mornings were both spent in group craft meetings up in the Eagle’s Nest, the top floor of the Lodge that overlooks formidable pines and the snow-covered pond. When it’s sunny, the sun streams through the windows onto the pine table, and it’s the perfect place to read, write, and talk about writing.

Or sit by the fireplace and write…

And I was amazed again this year by the quality and volume of writing that was produced in a few short days. There is definitely something about Faith’s Lodge—built to offer comfort to those who have experienced tremendous losses—that unleashes something powerful — a desperate need to connect, a hopeful rush of words. It’s definitely a space built to allow people to dive into reflection.

In the early afternoons, I had individual manuscript conferences with the participants, and then, spent but exhilarated, I headed out the door, skis in hand. And around and around the small pond I went, letting the hiss of skis on snow propel me. I would stop periodically and stare up at the sky, at the tiniest snowflakes I’ve ever seen, glinting in the afternoon sun. 

On Saturday, after I skied the pond, I stopped at Sophia’s Bridge, named for the daughter that one of the participants lost to SIDS. And I just stood there, taking in the sun and snow and the incredible loss.

Saturday night, after we talked more about writing and had dinner, we went out to the bonfire and (after we finally got the wet logs to light) roasted marshmallows for s’mores and read our favorite poems. And when that was done, we dashed inside (it was 12º below zero after all).

Sunday morning was spent writing and reading and then goal setting. One of the participants (who had also recently lost a child) told me that it was the first morning in a long, long time that she woke up feeling inspired. What a gift to have been a part of that inspiration.

I’m hoping to raise even more money for Faith’s Lodge next year with a slightly bigger group. So mark your calendars for the last weekend in February 2012, and don’t miss out on three transformative days of writing, reading, and sharing with other mother writers. (Oh, and don’t forget the wine and conversation and dark chocolate…)

Thanks, ladies, for making it such a wonderful retreat!

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Andrea on March 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Sounds absolutely divine! I was very tempted to throw caution (not to mention money) to the wind and jump on a plane bound for MN! Maybe next year!

  2. Mary on March 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    So glad to hear your recap and see the pictures. This sentence "It's definitely a space built to allow people to dive into reflection" really summed up my experience last year, and I often go to Faith's Lodge in my head when I'm trying to write. I'm so hoping to be there next year. (Come too Andrea!)

  3. gillian on March 3, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Sounds like it was a wonderful time.

  4. Elizabeth on March 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    It sounds amazing. I wish that I could be there. I love that photo of the table — the wood looks like it's glowing. And I love the picture you painted of yourself — skiing round and round in all that beauty suffused with loss.

  5. 6512 and growing on March 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    What a gift for mama writers. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I Thought I Knew Mama on March 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    This sounds so luxurious! I would love a weekend of nature and beauty and community like that. Thank you for sharing and also for visiting my blog this week!