Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oh Wa Ta Goo Siam...

And oh what a few weeks I’ve had. On Friday, Sept 24, I sat waiting for Chinese takeout when I got a call from the other half, saying he was rescuing our daughter because her car died. It turned out that she blew the engine on her ’98 Corolla. And so began the week of getting up at far too early of an hour so that I could leave work early to take my daughter to work, while we attempted to figure out her transportation issue.

On Saturday, a good friend’s husband died in a tragic accident and I went into grief support mode. For me, this means cooking, and cooking, and cooking. Comfort foods seem to be most helpful. Grief support mode was interrupted by the search and discovery of a used minivan for my daughter and trips to the credit union to arrange financing. I took half a day of vacation time mid-week to attend and sing at the funeral service and to lend what support I could.

This was followed on Thursday by an early morning doctor’s appointment and on Friday by last minute laundry and packing for the Writer’s Retreat I had been waiting for months to attend on Middle Bass Island.

I left home about 7:45 Saturday, Oct 2, and headed West. I arrived at Miller Ferry on Catawba Point, parked in the free lot and left the warmth of my car. I can truthfully say it was the last time I was warm until Sunday night, an hour into the drive home. That being said, I had a great weekend! I took the ferry to Middle Bass, and our host, Steve, picked me up at the dock along with two other writers.

An additional two writers missed the ferry and took one to South Bass instead and then rented a water taxi over. The last writer missed the ferry and waited for the next one, but that wasn’t until 5 in the afternoon.

We stayed at The President’s Cottage, formerly the vacation home for President Howard Taft and his family. Cottage doesn’t quite describe this house. There were twelve- and fourteen-foot ceilings, massive four-foot wide entrance door, two bedrooms on the first, five bedrooms on the second, and two not yet renovated bedrooms on the third floor. Unfortunately, the place was built as a summer home and there is no heat, central or otherwise. The fireplace was workable but not used because the age and condition make it an extreme fire hazard.

So we have a house with no heat and seven writers all gathered to spend the weekend, which should have been temperate, but had turned cold and rainy with 40 mph winds coming out of the east-southeast. We sat around dressed in layers and wrapped in blankets, talking, discussing, eating hot food, and drinking wine. We did exercises to help relieve writer’s block, critiqued each other’s work, and discussed many of the aspects of writing and publishing. Steve was a terrific host and I will most definitely get on the list to visit the island again should he be willing to host another retreat!