Monday, April 10, 2006

Company of Women- Punderson 06

I had the most wonderful weekend (wow- that's TWO in a row!!!!) I spent Friday morning with my husband and two daughters. He was working the afternoon shift, so he decided to get up early and take us all to breakfast. We stopped at IHOP and I had my usual half order of chocolate chip pancakes :) Yummy. We also split an omlette for a little protein (gotta keep my energy up to keep up with Anna!) Then we headed up to Kent State to see some ROTC folks that Rick worked with when I first met him, before he resigned from the Army. One of them is such a warm wonderful and witty guy named Major Joe. (No that's really his name- no generic Army pun inteneded.) Mjr Joe was excited to see me (BA Theatre at KSU) because Fri was his opening night for the Ravenna Theatre's musical Suessical. It's based on Dr. Seuss books and he's just having the greatest time. Now doesn't THAT break a ton of Army guy stereotypes! So break a leg Joe!

Then Rick went to work and I picked up my sons later in the day to start their week with me.

Friday night the kids and I hung out and relaxed after everyone's busy week.

Saturday am we awoke very early. Everyone ran around crazily to load up the family assault vehichle (mini van to most folks) and head off to Punderson State Park (which is where I took all the photos from this post.) I have attended a women writer's retreat there every year for the past three. (Hey Ski and Ninja- this year there was another retreat for romance novel writers there too! Though they kept to the cabins and we're in the manor so we didn't see them too much.)

Usually I stay for the whole weekend, but I'm nursing Anna and I'm not very handy with a pump (ha- get it? HANDY?)

So my husband was gracious enough to drive me the hour to Punderson, drive back home, come back at 4 to allow me to nurse during the break, hang around at Beachwood mall with all FOUR kids, AND drive back to pick me up at 9 pm when the open mic night was over. I must say right now that you should, as all the women writers were, some of whom who's husbands don't likely support them as writers, be in AWE of him! Sing his praises now :)
I could write a TON about this retreat and how it works. But I don't want to spend the day on the computer (nor do all of you want to spend all day reading. I'll write more about how the retreat is as a creative/empowering experience later in the week. I think for now I will just share some pics and samples of the pieces I wrote that came out of some of the classes I took.
So here goes. Enjoy.

On a workshop exercise of "If my ____ could talk ____ would say, "

If my breasts could talk they would say...

Why don't you love me?
Other women are jealous of me and wish they had me
Men adore me...lust after me
Your children have been nourished by me

Why don't you love me?
You cover me up
Bind me down
Consider sacrificing me to a surgeon's knife

Why don't you love me?
I am beautiful
I am a sustainer of life
I am a joy to share with the man you love

Why don't you love me?
Your children remember when they cuddle up to me
your lover knows when he carresses me
I long to be accepted
By you

Another workshop had me write about my role model. I could only think of one. She was sitting right next to me in class. Boy did she get some compliments about our relationship on Sunday morning!

I have her face
Her eyes
Her figure

I do that fidgety thing with my necklace
Without even thinking about it
We sometimes catch ourselves in the same position
Arms crossed left over right
Or chin in palm right elbow perched on left
And when we do we laugh
...the same laugh

She gave me such gifts
We write together
Do plays together
Create together

I think she's pleased with me
though I never strove to please her
Perhaps because I didn't

I am the same kind of mother
A nurturer with a touch of
Martyrdom and guilt
Always patient and wise
At least above the age and experience
of my children's level

Her gifts have served me well
on the journey to know myself
To love myself
and share what flows over my self filled cup

I only hope one day my own daughters
and sons
learn as much from me
receive as much from me
accept as much from me

As I wrote under comments, several of my instructors have complimented me regarding my writing which is so encouraging (even if they might sneak around and tell all of us the same thing!) I purchased a book from one of them called, If We Must Die, A Novel of Tulsa's 1921 Riot. It's by Pat Carr, and can be purchased at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.



Kim said...

Such beautiful, touching writings! I love, love, love both of them. Your mom must have been touched. Absolutely, beautiful! I would have loved to be at that retreat.. for the beauty of the scenery and for the creativity that it inspired. Great writing Zen!

state of grace said...

Thanks Kim!

There's always next year! It's only $250 for the weekend including all the lodging, meals, and classes (6 writing classes plus yoga each morning.) Then there's a keynote speaker on Fri night, and open mic to read 3 minutes of your work. The expensive part would be the flying there. But we could get a cabin together!!!! Wouldn't that be cool!

One of my favorite experiences gained at this retreat is validation that I am a writer. It sounds silly but before attending Punderson (another gift my mom gave me!) I thought you had to be either published, or be in the process of trying to be published to call yourself that. Now I know...all you have to do is write!

Now that I'm done with school, I am going to use some of the exercises I've learned the past 3 years to write something every week. My goal is to write a book of essays like Anna Quindlen. Have you read her Writing Out Loud book? It's fantastic!


state of grace said...

Oh- forgot to mention. I will be suggesting some of the books I've purchased at the retreat from the authors who have taught there. One is named Pat Carr and she has several books published. She is a beautiful writer.

One wonderful experience I've had is that b/c I always volunteer to read whatever I write in the classes, I get lots of feedback. Four of the authors I've met there have told me they love what I write. Now perhaps they just sneak around and tell each of us to boost our egos! But...either way. It's very encouraging. Like a teacher telling you to follow in their footsteps.


Gareth said...

I enjoy the company of women too :D
Love the pics. It looks like a very relaxing place. Which is what you needed. Hope you are nice and refreshed now :)

state of grace said...

I just had to delete my first spam from here. So...if it keeps happeining I'll be forced to add that annoying alphebet thing. I hate those!

Oh well.

We'll see if it becomes a problem.


Gareth said...

Yeah I'm having a problem with it too at the moment. Might have to consider going back to using 'word verification' again, ugh!

Design Goddess said...

Spam is like the tide...ebb and flow. Does that mean I'm a writer too???

I sure could use a weekend (or year!) like that! Very envious right now :(

state of grace said...

Next year you should come. It's a blast! And so very creative :) Plus we drink wine and goof around.


Gareth said...

Can I come? I'll put a dress on.
Gee whizz I hope no one else reads this :p

state of grace said...

Sorry Gareth...It's for women only. You could show up at Punderson and hope to run into the women. It's a state park afterall, and we haven't taken over the whole Manor rooms/cabins.

And dress is casual so you would stand out if you showed up in one, b/c even the WOMEN don't usually wear them.

As to whether or not you're into wearing dresses....that's another post altogether!


state of grace said...

Oh- and Gareth,

As far as your comment about the pics- Thanks. Actually I took them all last year. This year I was only there for the day so I didn't really take any, except one my husband took with me, my mom, and her friend. And some of the women holding Anna when Rick brought her in to visit.

As far as relaxing. It was and wasn't. I can't wait til next year when I can stay the whole weekend. The past couple years I did, but always had final exams and papers due for school. This year I was looking forward to the retreat without school hanging over me, but couldn't go all weekend.

So NEXT year will be my first real retreat experience where I can just soak it all up.