Were you at the Segullah Writers’ Retreat? I was. Well, if you weren’t able to make it, I thought I’d fill you in on how it was… and it was, in a word, amazing. It was a perfect Saturday, filled with delightful company and writing inspiration, not to mention great food. Truly, every person I talked to was delightful and engaging. There were women I had known for years, people I had collaborated with on projects, others I know only from the blog, and people I had never met—all of whom I could have spent the entire day talking to. To me nothing is better than spending the day with a group of people who like to think, write, and create (oh yeah, and eat)!
We started breakfast with tray upon tray of fresh-baked Rhodes cinnamon rolls and orange rolls. I can’t tell you how many of these I ate because a true lady would not reveal such indulgence. Kathryn Soper kicked off the conference portion by helping us see how the lunchtime musings of a handful of women went on to become Segullah. Over its five years of life, the journal has expanded, the blog was born, and books have been published. Steffani Raff’s keynote address on storytelling was fabulous and fascinating; she had us entranced. She helped to get us all talking and listening in ways hitherto not experienced.
Then we had the afternoon workshops. Angela Hallstrom, as an accomplished writer and editor, has such command and mastery of story. She helped me think in terms of the underlying mechanics, the necessary foundations and grounding components of strong writing. Brittney Carman is awe-inspiring; her ability to craft words and evoke emotion is indescribable. Her personal essay class drove me to spend late vacation nights at my husband’s laptop attempting to put the powerful images in my head into words—my childhood experiences in Turkey and the magic of taking my sons to our quaint rustic New England town beach. Darlene Young and Sharlee Glenn put their crowd to happy work with writing exercises that got their poetic juices flowing.
The power-blogging panel of Michelle Lehnardt, Heather Oman, Shelah Miner, Kellie George, and Dalene Rowley explored using blogging as a tool for developing good writing. They dove in with real examples to show how good blogging can take many shapes and forms. Takeaway blogger nuggets: “tell the truth but tell it slant”; find unique perspectives to write from.
Café Rio (we all know that pork in fresh tortillas needs no explanation, in my book) but blend that with sharp company that would rival any good dinner party (oh, and throw in a slice of key lime pie) and you have the Segullah dinner social!
Art studio night was a treat of creativity. It was fun to see each person move in their own direction, exploring their own ideas and using media in different ways to create unique, symbolic pieces. Those who participated in the creative writing studio got to talk with editors and get the always helpful critique and direction for strengthening their work.
I came home from the writers’ retreat and immediately set to work drafting the essays that started percolating in my mind as I sat in the workshops listening to the presenters. I came home with a million new painting ideas I can’t wait to bring to life on canvas.
Many thanks to Melonie Cannon and all the Segullah staff who worked hard to make it happen. And thanks to all who attended—it was a treat for me to meet so many of you! Thanks for a great summer memory.
Were you there? What was the best part? (Well, besides the cinnamon rolls!) Were you inspired? What did it prompt you to do?