When you have a lot on your mind, going to the Rainforest Writers Retreat is a pretty great thing to do.
There’s something so freeing about having no cell reception. No one can reach you. NO ONE. Even the internet is unreliable and spotty, and by Saturday it sputtered out almost completely.
Without the internet and my cell phone, the world grows large once more. Large, and quiet. There is extra space around myself and every action I take. I can relax into myself and really listen. I care about depth, and with more space I can sink in and take a look at the heart of things. I can see what I feel, and why I feel, and what has happened, and where I might go next.
Also I write. I write and write, and then I write some more. I write until my characters and their stories feel almost as real as everything else around me. I become intoxicated on writing, and my brain feels slippery, and the words rise up from where they’ve been coiled inside me, and I emerge feeling dazed and virtuous and a little bit raw around the edges.
Also I spend time with my friends. We talk about what’s going on with our lives, and we listen to and support each other, and we laugh until our diaphragms hurt, and we eat a lot of salmon and soup, and they drink lots of Scotch and whiskey while I have my signature drink. When we aren’t talking about other things, we are talking about writing, and it is such a grand relief to talk to people who understand what it is to have writing inhabit such an integral role in life.
I live, I write. I overflow with happiness, I write. Everything goes to shit, I write. I’m done with so…many…things, just done, I write. And when I don’t write, that’s when I fear the most. Writing isn’t like breathing, not really, but when there are no words, when they’ve all dried up and I feel as fragile as spun sugar, it’s never a good thing.
And sharing this backbone with other people, it makes me feel more known.
You never know in advance which decisions are going to prove to be particularly good ones. But going to Rainforest for the first time was definitely one of them.