I’ve mentioned them here before, my wonderful women writer friends. I’m just back from a week-long informal writing retreat with them in a family house on the very shore of Lake Tahoe. For someone who grew up in the east, and has spent more than half her life in Ohio, the west coast has a wide-open feel, meaning when I’m there I can’t stop flinging wide my arms, and tilting my head to see the tops of the trees, and breathing in great lungfuls (lungsful?) of bright, piney air. One day my friends Kris, Mary Jane and I climbed to Eagle Rock, where it’s easy to feel, literally, on top of the world.
Every morning we wrote (and all of one afternoon, too, since it was freaking SNOWING) and then we goofed around. One advantage of being with word women is that you are never being “lazy”; rather, you’re being “playful”. We talked about our work, of course, but also about pencils, figs and fig trees (but not fig leaves), nuns, Antonio Banderas, commas, Georgette Heyer (thumbs up or down), bears (ditto), our feet, urban fantasy, Emily Dickinson and sandhill cranes (which we were lucky enough to see–great, gangly yet dignified, prehistoric-looking creatures). Nerds that we are, we spent most of one car ride making a list of words that end in “ery” (due to shameless cheating, a few “iary” words made it on, as well).
Lake Tahoe has pine trees with bark that smells sugary as a bag full of Halloween candy. Also, lots of wild sage, and if you put bits of both in your jean pocket, you become a walking aroma-therapy center. Every tiny store has a good selection of wine, and someone to tell you which is his favorite.
We lost a day getting there. I’ll spare the details, but suffice it to say: do not utter the words United Airlines to me unless you’re prepared for a furious rant. In the end, that only made our time more precious. I love solitude–I couldn’t be a writer if I didn’t. Yet during that week I worked harder than usual, buoyed and inspired by my friends’ purpose.
In the weeks ahead, when I’ll be doing some more traveling, two of those friends may guest-post here. I can’t wait for you to meet them.