A Writing Retreat


In a recent post I mentioned a brief stint in Colorado. Below, in Tasha’s fine words, is a report of this retreat:

Quick note: Tasha LeClair writes fiction in the MFA program. She posts stories by request at http://www.scrapfiction.com and has a blog at prairietown.wordpress.com.

In July I went on a fiction retreat in Grand Lake, Colorado, with Tim Raymond and Justin Mundhenk—writers of brave and beautiful fiction both—who man The Other Room. Their ladies and my fella joined us to ensure we received healthy levels of eye-contact and to collaborate with us in such creative endeavors as this:

For your enjoyment: fold a paper into thirds and find three friends who are willing to draw one section of a “body” without looking at the section(s) that precede it. I learned this from a Frida biography I listened to while navigating my car around literally hundreds of road-hogging whitetails on the way to CO. This was apparently Frida’s favorite game (the paper thing, not deer-evasion).

We MFAers came to Colorado with different goals: to write new material, revise old material, or do a combination of both. (It wasn’t all fanciful picture-drawing and waking up in the middle of the night wondering if the strange noises outside were coming from a fox or a bobcat or some child running loose in the woods in a raised-by-wolves type situation.) It’s not every day you get to go off and write in a cabin (log mansion) with your friends, and we owe our good fortune to a) the University of Wyoming’s MFA Program, which, under the leadership of its lovely director, Beth Loffreda, funded the MFA students on the trip; and b) Roger Baer, CPA, and his wife, Carole, of Denver, who are also my boyfriend’s parents, who are very trusting people, and who offered use of their cabin to a rag-tag bunch of dreamers like us. We were happy to sit on the deck for several hours, moving from sun to shade in a reptilian manner. There was much reading, guitar-playing, drinking of coffee, and making of sandwiches. One night, some of us did find eighties-looking sweaters and ski gear, used masking tape to replicate mustaches, and had a dance party, but we were still asleep around midnight.

A few last thoughts on the retreat:

We were spared from bugs the whole trip. Like, there were none, during a summer described as unmercifully buggy throughout the rest of the Rocky Mountain region.

Several people in our party got too close to moose, but by instinct or luck backed away before said massive, unpredictable wild animal began exhibiting signs of crankiness or simply walked off. This played out several times. There were a lot of moose—or the same one, reappearing suddenly around a bend or in front of our cabin, and moving so quietly, despite its stompy appearance, that it was no wonder we kept running into them/it.

Oh, and God, this is my favorite:

Thanks, Tasha! As another quick note, let me add that I was good and scared by the moose. I was.


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