Friday, August 12, 2011

AROHO Retreat 2011: Home Away From Home at Ghost Ranch

I am reveling in the harvest of this year's work that has brought me to Ghost Ranch in New Mexico this week, my heart overflowing with the simple, transcendent power of the weave of synchronicities. Having just newly returned to teaching English at the Santa Rosa Junior College Fall semester 2010, I have been struggling with getting my public personnae up to speed, and I couldn't have had a more welcoming and inspiring experience than the one I've had so far with A Room of Her Own Foundation.

I specifically sought out AROHO's summer retreat because of the way it was framed and offered: as a give and take experience, every woman writer participating, sharing, presenting, receiving. I sensed that the venue resonated with exactly where I find myself on my "writer's trajectory": open, willing to learn, willing to challenge myself, and willing to give back what I have learned as well.

All of my expectations have been exceeded. I knew that in offering to present at one of the Mind-Stretch sessions, I'd have to pull myself together and do my least favorite thing one must do as a writer (for me anyway): speak into a microphone with composure, grace, and with luck, a sense of humor. I managed to get through my talk (Female Power in the Face of Adversity: Collaboration as Excavation) and presented the photo-poem montage Robyn Beattie and I made for Lady Diana.

But more importantly, my notebook is full of ideas from the other 16 Mind Stretch presentations; I have seed ideas for the next five years. What a gift. Can I just say thank you, thank you--to the web of family at home caring for my three children, the Siberian Husky, the new kitten. And thank you to AROHO for its existence, to every single member of the staff, to every single woman who came this summer (and to those participants who came before). I'm so very honored to part of this bloodline.

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