For Better or Worse at the Maui Writers Retreat and Conference

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And did I work.  I was there five days before I realized our motel was only 300 feet from the beach.  I could have crawled there!

The first part of the Maui experience was the writers retreat.  Our teachers were competent, professional writers.  Mine was Katherine Ramsland, a forensic psychologist.  There were ten students per teacher.  We wrote every night then shared and analyzed what we’d written.  I found myself reading outloud pieces I’d written.  I hated doing that in high school.  I did it, and I got good grades, but I dreaded it.  This time was different.  I had a mission to learn how to write a book. I swallowed my embarrassment and did what I was told.

There were also lectures by writers on how to chose topics, how to organize a book, where to find inspiration, how to find an agent or publisher and an important list of other facets of the writing art.

First lesson.  I was told repeatedly that I didn’t need talent or even a good story to  publish.  I needed persistence.   I’m a long distance backpacker.  That takes endurance.  I’d lived in South Carolina.  That took patience.  I’d taught school.  I had persistence, I thought.

Second lesson.  An agent explained to me that the Civil Rights Movement was passe’.  Over.  It had been done.  There was no market.  This seemed strange to me because one of the reasons I hadn’t seen the beach was the television was on all day showing the destruction and horror of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Third lesson.  Marry a good man.  Joe went to Maui to support me and he did so.  He was my valet, my driver, my cook and the one who kept our apartment neat and me on schedule.  He scoured the Internet for the information I needed and poured me that glass of wine at the end of the day.  It was a second honeymoon of a sort, celebrating a relationship entering a new venture together.

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