A Sundance Writing Retreat

Sometimes we just need to break away to get our writing done.  We three are a small, but mighty writing group.  We try to meet weekly by zoom, but lately, life has been a little crazy for each of us, so we planned a 2 day get-away at the cabin to get our writing back on track.

We started this writing group more than a year ago, and one of the first assignments I gave Julie and Shelley was to write 10+ pages describing themselves in every detail.  Our goal this week was to complete that project.  This is something I started doing when I was 43.  I repeated the exercise at 50 and at 60.  The older I get, the more often I want to do this.  When I turn 65 next year, I’ll do it again.  I described my physical body from top to bottom.  I described things I was involved in and things I loved doing.  I wrote about what was happening around me and our family in that moment.  I wrote about what was important to me and things I was working on.

My thought was that by the time my children and grandchildren care to know me, I will probably be old and senile and their best memories of me will be of who I am at the end of my life, not in the middle of it.  In these essays, I have described everything I want them to know about who I was in that moment.  It’s not all pretty and it’s not all perfect, but it’s who I am and what I am like at the time of the writing.

Julie and Shelley have been working on their personal essays all year.  I generally write mine the week of my birthday, and it’s done, but they are catching up on lost time and unrecorded details, so the job has been a bit larger.  I think they are thrilled to capture and preserve their words and descriptions of themselves for their posterity.

We spent the two days writing, with a few breaks for visiting and hand work.  I finished binding my crumb quilt, “Bits and Pieces.”  Shelley mended an older quilt her mother made for her son’s upcoming marriage.  Julie is working on a wool applique project.  And of course, we had good food!

While at the cabin, I photographed a few of the cabin quilts I’ve made, just for  the record. I call this one “Patches.”

The pattern for this one is called “Charlie Brown.”  Patches was made from it’s leftovers.

Here’s my Split Oak:

And here’s another Split Oak wallhanging:

It’s nice to get away, be in a lovely place with friends, and have time to sit and write.  And being surrounded by quilts is always a delight!

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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