Apr 102014

Jolana Malkston 4One of my favorite weekends of the year is approaching. On Friday afternoon, April 11, I will pack up my Ford Edge and follow its navigation system’s directions to Augusta, Michigan for Mid-Michigan RWA’s spring weekend writers’ retreat, the Retreat From Harsh Reality.

To put our Retreat into perspective for the male of the species, Retreat is the romance writer’s equivalent of Deer Camp, except that we have the use of indoor plumbing and we bathe and change our underwear daily.

Like Deer Camp, Retreat has a very relaxed dress code. Jeans and sweatshirts are fine. In fact, we don’t even have to wear makeup or style our hair if we don’t feel like it—so long as we are okay with starring as the Bride of Frankenstein in a YouTube video surreptitiously recorded on someone’s smart phone.

And like Deer Camp, we drink at Retreat. The weekend starts with a cocktail reception in the resort and conference center pub on Friday evening and then moves to the meeting room the resort assigns to us in the evenings for the duration of Retreat. It is there that we stash the snacks and goodies we take from home to share. It’s also where we keep the adult beverages of various kinds—but not for very long. We are writers, after all.

Again, like Deer Camp, writers love to talk about hunting—for an agent to represent us or for an editor willing to buy and publish our manuscripts. We always invite a successful guest expert to speak to us about the wide range of techniques we can use to improve our writing skills, which in turn enhances our ability to stalk and bag our prey. Some in our group have been known to entertain us with riveting tales of the big New York City editors they almost bagged but who somehow got away. So sad. After hearing those sorrowful tales, we all feel the need to break out and consume the adult beverages.

See, what did I tell you? Just like Deer Camp—a kinder, gentler, cleaner Deer Camp. 🙂

  6 Responses to “It’s Time to Retreat from Harsh Reality”

  1. Jolana, you described the Retreat perfectly. I’m soooo going to miss sharing the experience this year. Have fun, y’all!

  2. Perfect way to explain Retreat for those who haven’t attended! Laughter abounds and we learn to hone our craft with precision! I can’t wait to see everyone on Saturday. I’m only doing the one day again!

    • I think what I like best is the way our stress melts away–weak cell phone signal strength helps with that–and getting to hang with other writers who hear voices in their heads (our characters, of course). 🙂

  3. Our very first retreat had more in common with deer camp than the fabulous week end it has become. Bring your own sheets and blankets kind of trip. But, if I remember correctly we did shower. I’ll be there Saturday!

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