I’m an introvert who becomes an extrovert when I’m teaching a class of adorable young people or when I’m among friends and buoyed by an abundance of liquid courage. But so far, this year has been about stepping outside of my comfort zone. Leaving every comfort I’ve ever known on another coast and trying new things, some hard things. Forcing my introverted soul out into a whole new world that it must converse with. This weekend, I tried something so very far outside of the lines I maintain for myself andIi survived. In fact, as I look back and reflect I thrived…in my own way.
I went to a writers’ retreat this weekend on Orcas Island. My log cabin in the woods is two ferry rides and about one hundred miles away from Orcas Island. But it might as well have been a million miles away. It was my longest trip away without my kids and the first time I have ever ventured anywhere without at least an acquaintance. The beauty and splendor of Doe Bay hit me first. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a place that is so clearly magical. The seasmoke rising over the water. The sun rays dancing across the leaves. And the birds chirping melodically in the trees. The vulnerability, strength, and inspiration of my fellow write participants was the second thing I noticed, appreciated, and will not soon forget.
Over the weekend, we shared experiences and picked up valuable writing tips. We honed in on our characters and developed our senses. We played with words and listened to the poetry within each others’ stories. We were led by masters of the craft and individuals oozing creativity. It was dreamy and oh-so-magical.
I wish I had been able to be more present instead of worrying about what was happening back at home on the other island. But over the last few months, my heartstrings have wrapped around my not-so-little family even tighter than before. We’ve grown closer to each other as we’ve moved away from many of the people and things we were used to sustaining us. So when texts arrived it felt hard to decipher what was teenage angst or something a little bit more serious or what was me missing them or simply a cry for attention. And how can you ignore a text telling you Daddy had taken the little guys to a coffee shop with women dressed in only their underwear(he claimss he missed the sign that said Espresso Gone Wild). As usual my heart and mind were in several places at once but I still grew this weekend. I’m filled with inspiration. I now know I can do things on my own and my introverted self can get out there and meet people even if I’m not as talkative as I dream of being. The images, new friends, and power I collected over the weekend will fill my soul for a long time to come.