Two full days at the Hemingway Writer’s Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas are over. In the opinion of this mentor, it’s been a smashing success of two days and only three more left. Many regular readers of this space have probably figured it out by now, but I love this stuff…I mean I really dig it (is that out of style these days?).
I guess part of it is the writer in me and part of it is the teacher in me. One of a teacher’s main tasks is really just encouraging students to do what the teacher already knows they can do.
Writing is something that the overwhelming majority of people seem to be afraid of (and some who aren’t, should be! Ha). But, I always tried to communicate in my Composition classes that writing is a craft learned in much the same way that playing an instrument or a sport is learned. Simply put, practice, practice, practice.
There are 11 writers attending this year’s retreat, only two of them male. So, yes, your eyes do not deceive you when you examine the picture to the right—I’m the only male in that picture. Several of the writers are teachers and so bring that unique classroom experience that can only be gained in a classroom.
All of the writers, however, are that: writers… Even those few who expressed uneasiness about writing. All of the work that has been produced thus far (or, I should say that I’ve either read or has been read aloud) has been of tremendous quality. Much of the writings have elicited tears both from the listeners and the writers.
I’ve always said that the writer should “like” what he’s written. After all, if the writer doesn’t like it, why should he expect readers to like it? I once wrote about 40,000 words of a novel and then suddenly realized that I didn’t like ANY of the characters in the story. So, I trashed it—yes, that is hard, but I didn’t like it, why should someone else?
Another thing I’ve seen at just two days at the Retreat is an abundance of creativity and encouragement. Creativity spurs creativity. The writers are becoming excited about the works and words of their fellow writers and that creates excitement about their own work.
It’s also very addictive.
Even to the “mentors,” as the creativity has gotten me excited to return to the keyboard!