For rural writers, these effects amplify. (Click on the photos for larger images.)
- Writing, writing, writing!
- You may accidentally discover a stellar location for a family reunion (it’s also pretty perfect for a writers’ retreat): Banner Mountain Lodge near Smithers, BC.
- It’s a way to stay up-to-date about new technologies and social media tools to boost your writing. You might encounter terms like pillar posts and discuss the ins and outs of affiliate ads. With luck, you’ll learn from someone as engaging and creative as Krystal Yee, whose financial blog Give Me Back My Five Bucks has been helping millennials budget their way to financial independence for a decade.
- You will eat well. If you’re lucky enough to attend the (almost) annual Rural Writers in Residence retreat in northern BC, the event might be catered by a food wizard like Moe Gauthier of Small Potatoes Farm in Smithers, who works magic with pea shoots and strives to supply the winter-frozen Bulkley Valley with fresh local produce year round.
- You’ll be offered enjoyable “workshops” exploring topics other than writing. If these topics include beer, for example, you won’t just sample tasty beers. You will learn things you never knew about beer, such as the meaning of dry hopping. (It’s not what you might think.)
- You will surprise yourself by doing things outside your comfort zone, like composing a three-gesture phrase in a collaborative dance piece and performing it to poetry. (My phrase happened to include some hopping. Not dry hopping, though.) If your luck is still holding, the workshop will be choreographed by fireball dance artist Miriam Colvin of Myriad Dance Projects, in which case you will have a blast.
- You will meet like-minded people—and their inner critics, who can be discharged to argue with yours while you all ignore them as you play a game of cards peppered by discussion of ghazals and pantoums.
- You will meet and learn from writers you have long admired, like Jane Stevenson and Sheila Peters.
- You might be given an opportunity to turn poems upside down and backwards with accomplished and supportive writers like Vancouver’s Elee Kraljii Gardiner, whose innovative first book of poetry, Serpentine Loop, has been shortlisted for the League of Canadian Poets’ Raymond Souster Award.
- Whether you’re looking for group inspiration or time for quiet reflection, you will find it.
- You will laugh.
- Best of all, your stalled writing projects will find new fire.
Thanks to Amanda Follett Hosgood for the use of her photos, and for her substantial part in organizing and facilitating a wonderful retreat. Thanks also to Emily Bulmer, Morgan Hite, Sheila Peters, and everyone else who made the weekend brilliant. See you all next year!