We had a productive day at the CEDAR RIDGE WRITERS SERIES
for our first Mid-Winter Writing Intensive
A Day to Recharge your Creative Energy
February 17, 2018
Cedar Ridge Writers’ lead instructor Lisa Romeo reads from her new memoir Starting With Goodbye to the group in front of the fire on a snowy afternoon at the February Winter Writer’s Retreat at Cedar Ridge Farm.
“I wanted to thank you for a wonderful day at your beautiful home. I found the retreat so helpful, and it truly was a great opportunity to get away from everything and focus on writing. The exercises were very helpful and I look forward to using the information as I work on my next piece.
Again, I very much appreciate being included in today’s group, and so appreciate your help.”
Here’s a lovely assessment of the day from writer/particiapant Irene Hoge Smith:
The Long and the Short of my take of the February Winter Writing Retreat at Cedar Ridge Farm:
Here’s the long:
I saw the Facebook notice for this one-day writing retreat by the Cedar Ridge Writers Series, and recognized both Lisa Romeo (I heard her speak at Hippocamp) and Ryder Sollmann Zeibarth (we have a bunch of mutual writing friends through groups like Binders and graduate school, Vermont College of Fine Arts and more.) At the start of 2018 I made a resolution not to deprive myself of opportunities to hang out with other writers, get some new prompts, cut through the loneliness of just toiling away in my solitary garret. This workshop, with its more than reasonable cost and do-able driving distance, was perfect.
I drove up from Maryland on Saturday morning, got to Cedar Ridge Farm in time for a yummy lite breakfast and a chance to meet several other writers whom I hadn’t known before. I brought an essay I’d been working on, thinking that perhaps I’d use the “write on your own” option. The entire day was filled with options–generative writing, sharing , free write. I could do what ever I wanted-no pressure. On the spot, though, I decided to engage in Lisa Romeo’s morning session, in which she led us through a series of prompts designed to engage memory through specific sensory details. I thought I’d already written every important scene about my runaway mother in putting together my currently-being-shopped memoir, Snaggletooth’s Daughter, but I ended up writing about an important event that I had never really explored before.
After that I spent some time in one of two more-than-comfortable bedrooms in the farm’s guest cottage where I’d arranged to spend the night, and worked on the essay I’d brought with me. I didn’t finish it, but I did have the chance to work through several tricky decisions and definitely advanced that project.
After a delicious lunch (Ryder, can I get your recipe for your homemade vegetable-chicken soup?) I sat with Ryder’s group as she led us through a series of generative exercises on place and setting to explore deeply one significant t to us. I’d written about my family camp before, but in this exercise found a couple of new images that seem to bring the writing to life in a new way.
After being invited out to dinner with a very kind local writer, I returned to Cedar Ridge in thickly-falling snow, slept happily and soundly, and awoke to dawn and a stunningly beautiful snow-filled landscape.
And here’s the short:
I did a little of everything – curled up on my own with an essay-in-progress, participated in both Lisa’s and Ryder’s writing prompt and sharing groups, heard some of what other writers were working on, made some new writing friends. Because I’d driven about three-and-a-half hours from Maryland, I arranged with Ryder to stay overnight in her cottage. What an unexpected and luxurious treat—I’d go back to Cedar Ridge just to stay in that lovely space! The snow-covered farm was spectacular at dawn. That scene, and Ryder’s unwavering hospitality, and left me restored and re-engaged in the writing life.