Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What I Learned at Poets on the Coast 2011, The Sylvia Beach Hotel

Sunday night! Clockwise: Angie, Linda, Tara, Risa, Kelly, Kelli, and me

I 1. I learned that voicing "What if ..." is a very powerful tool. Just over 9 months ago, Kelli Russell Agodon and I wondered what would happen if we invited women poets to join us by the ocean for a weekend. Did the world need another kind of writing retreat? We believed the answer was yes. It seems we were not alone in this belief.

2. I learned that providing a space for other women to create, learn, and share their own writing path makes me very happy. I was looking forward to supporting other women this weekend, I had no clue how much support, laughter, and love I would receive in return. This was one of the big ah-ha moments for me. You get back more than you give.

3. On the drive down from Seattle, Kelli and I suddenly wondered, "can we do this"? For so long we had planned and organized classes, schedules, gift baskets -- but none of it was real until we met our participants. What if we had dreamed beyond what we could deliver? Perhaps that sense of risk pushed us to do our very best work. Aim high and then run to catch up.

4. Poets are shy at first, but warm up quickly. The first evening we seemed a bit quiet and well, many of us had been caught on I5 and had to detour due to an enormous grass fire. However, by Sunday afternoon when we said good-bye, poets were already planning reunions with the others in their area. Perhaps a "Poets on the Coast" in Southern California one day? Three days together is enough to make some new friends. I know I did.

5. The ocean makes everything better. My dream of living by the ocean gets stronger and stronger as I age. The Sylvia Beach Hotel is old and quirky, but it's my idea of heaven, too. A hotel dedicated to writers where the sound of the surf is ever-present. Where one can do yoga on the deck to start the day -- if one is brave. The weekend reminds me of how I want to live my life: as a poet. And I need the support of others to bring me along. Thank you Poets on the Coast, 2011. I am so grateful.
On the calendar now: Poets on the Coast Sept. 7 - 9, 2012

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