“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”
~ Allen Saunders
I have a vision for a writers retreat in Canada. The Maritimes, a place of natural wonder and otherness-type beauty. So I laid out significant money that was a huge stretch for our budget, a gamble for the future, came up on the invitation of a writer I think smart, talented to help in the process. Who shares a wealth of information about the place and people I find interesting. Saw the whole thing as win-win. Felt really good. Didn’t even sign up for international calling. Within days she and I clashed in a complicated mix of experience and perceptions. I left her a week early. Feeling shaky. Completely vulnerable. I kept reminding myself I’ve done scarier things. Wasn’t really alone, because I’m never alone. I talk to people, and people are nice. But I wasn’t up here for a vacation, and money’s tight. And I hadn’t done the homework. I had someone for that.
In thinking back, I should’ve looked at the map once more for orientation. A slip of the tongue at my question, or my jumble. It doesn’t matter. The fog had been heavy for many miles, and rain was falling by the time it dawned on me I’d gone too long for my intended destination. When I saw the sign confirming the opposite direction, I turned off the highway, pulled in at a Canadian mainstay gas-stop cafe, Irving. The gals there were nice. Considered my options with me for a moment. And suddenly it seemed the only thing to do was hunker down right there. Pull out my laptop, order tea and pancakes, and let the rain fall until I felt calm and adventurous, again. Until I accepted more money would be spent. The intent could be salvaged. That it was one day in the middle of many. Nearly three hours later I left with a huge slice of chocolate creme pie in a box.
And still held this: The magic of the rock beach on the Bay of Fundy. Learning about this place of many wonders from someone who loves it. Finding a perfect heart rock to gift my host of several days. Fresh-made seafood chowder with lobster & fish. Blueberries picked off the bush. Workshops planned. Giant moon, brilliant orange. Black maple syrup so smooth I could drink it as an apetife. An inn on the Bay of Fundy that’s 90% what I want for the retreat. A local specialty, homemade sausage, for dinner. Conversation about writing with 2 sisters who are poets. One, 19, a spoken-word poet with passion, who I already know will do great things in the world for others with her insight, heart, and words. All good.
It’s high season here, tricky to get a room late in the day. I’m moving on to Prince Edward Island (PEI, they call it here). I met a couple who encouraged me to seriously consider a retreat there. ‘The energy is very creative,’ they said. ‘We can help spread the word.’ Angel messengers.
I guess sometimes we’re taken the long (and wrong) way to get where we really need to be, meeting the people we may really need to meet. The other thing I learned. . .if you never hear a person utter Thank You to another soul, good bet s/he’s not my tribe.
I’m still shakey. Still feel bad about what happened. And I’m okay.
On the beach, low tide, Bay of Fundy
Another Small Journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
Tell me. . . how do you ground yourself, shift in the midst of unexpected plans?
I’ll tell you a secret. . .I never thought how tiny wild blueberries might be best in muffins before.
I’m writing a book, The Writer’s Block Myth.
The creative life for people living in the real world.