Those of us fool-hearty souls who make our home in Minnesota are always at the mercy of Mother Nature, especially in the dead of winter. This was especially true last weekend when Julie Saffrin hosted her second annual writers retreat in mid-January, roughly 200 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Her cabin is situated on a beautiful piece of property facing Dead Lake, west of Perham, Minnesota, with a panoramic view of the lake. True to January being the coldest month of the year, the temperatures plunged to -24 degrees below zero at night, with wind chills running a steady -40 below. One might think our brains would freeze in such circumstances and nothing would get accomplished!
On the contrary, inside the cozy cabin the warmth and creativity of those present sparked an energy level that defied the frozen conditions on the other side of the glass. I propped my table in front of a south-facing window and welcomed the sun's ray's in my face each day. God's beauty came to life in the simplistic setting of a snow covered prairie and frozen lake laid out before me. For three days I transferred notes from my last interview into the framework of the next several chapters for Seeds of Salton, relying on tiny seeds of imagination and artistry in my unique setting to help create new scenes.
The hearty Minnesota writers in attendance were: Julie Saffrin, Janelle Huston, DeAnna Brandt, Sheri Jacobs, Laurie Quinlan, Nancy Willette Jobe, and myself. Several different genres of writing were represented...children's books, non-fiction, short story, essay, and fiction. During the day we mainly spent time working individually on our projects. In the evening we came together around the dining table, sharing not only a wonderful meal but an abundance of ideas.
A writer's retreat is time well spent, an investment in our dreams and whatever the future may bring. As our hostess Julie made the retreat everything it was meant to be...and then some. Thank you, Julie!
Our challenge now is to bring that sense of inspiration home and continue the writing...despite the winter chill just outside our door on these cold January days!