If you’re looking for me this week-end, I won’t be home. I’ll be attending the SCBWI writer’s retreat at Whispering Pines in Rhode Island. I am seriously happy about this. Giddy, even, hopped up on endorphins, and I don’t even have to break a sweat to experience that rush. My fellow attendees will recognize this state of being. It’s a small retreat; a couple of dozen people who attend for the entire week-end, and a couple of dozen more who will be there during the day for the presentations. An author, an illustrator, two editors, and an agent acting as mentors for the week-end. All of us huddled together in cozy lodges surrounded by pine trees and overlooking a serenely beautiful lake. Sheer bliss.
There is very little actual writing that goes on, it’s not that kind of retreat. There are presentations by the mentors, who share their wisdom and experience generously. They talk about the process of writing, of creating flesh and blood characters–whether with words or pictures–the kind who leap out of the book and whisper their stories breathlessly. This is the kind of intimate retreat where there is a constant exchange of ideas and dreams amid much laughter, and as the week-end winds down, silliness fueled by too little sleep. And at the end of it all, the endorphins are still careening through your body (tired as it is), so that you drive away, down the winding narrow road back to your real life with creative muscles pumped, head full of fresh new ideas. Jazzed about the life you’ve chosen for yourself, this writing for children.