Just returned from another amazing weekend at the Winter Getaway writing conference in Cape May. The prompts were challenging, as always, and I feel that I have two good drafts from Saturday and Sunday. I enjoyed workshopping these new drafts with B.J. Ward and Laura McCullough, who both gave helpful feedback on how to push my drafts to a higher level of success. I worked on other pieces that I have been neglecting as well, and I also got to see some East Coast friends and wonderful writers like Rachel and Donna (who were kind enough to pick me up and drive me back to the Philly airport) and Bridget, who understands all of my “I try to write while I am teaching full-time” agony.
Highlights included a walk on the very cold and windy (but gorgeous) beach, dinner with good friends, catching up with Doug Goetsch, and a Sunday evening reading by Dorianne Laux and Patricia Smith. Dorianne read from some new work regarding popular music, a project she showed great passion for – this was definitely in the spirit of the Getaway, as we are encouraged/forced to share new work. Patricia read “34” from Blood Dazzler, and two other long poems – “13 Ways of Looking at 13”, which alternated between humor, pathos, and social commentary, and a piece about Riverview Amusement Park in Chicago, which left the audience breathless. I heard Patricia read in September when I got to workshop with her at the Kentucky Women Writer’s Conference, and she is a powerful, powerful voice. (After you watch “34” on Youtube from the link above, check out some of the other performances to see what I mean.)
I say this every year, but I will say it again: something about this place and the environment that Peter Murphy creates are magical. I have met and made good friends here, and I always get pushed in new directions with my writing. Everyone needs a getaway – and this one did not disappoint.