The past two weekends I’ve participated in writer’s events. Last weekend Jackie Dove-Miller and I traveled to Ridgeland, SC for the Second Annual “Novel” Wine Tasting, Arts, and Literary Festival. It was held at the September Oats Winery, a beautiful setting of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. We were blessed with perfect outdoor-event-weather. Over sixty authors and artists participated. Walking the grounds in their 19th century finery were members of Sons of Confederate Veterans Charles Jones Colcock Camp 2100 and the Massachusetts 54th Company 1. As could be expected there was an air of having stepped back in a bygone time.
I met new people and had my first taste of shrimp gumbo. I am hooked and want more, more, MORE! The writers and artists were treated with a complimentary glass of wine and the wine tasting room stayed busy throughout the day.The icing on the cake was having two of my daughters, Deborah and Julia spend the day with us, helping out with everything from setting up our tent to shuttling me around in Deborah's golf cart. Deborah lives nearby and Julia was in town to visit her.
My friend, Jackie, brought me to tears with her beautiful reading of her poems "That Something Within" and "I Want to Matter" from her book, Some Things I Just Know. The event was capped off with a lovely after party with a wonderful spread of food and drink.
This weekend’s event was closer to home. The Franklin County Arts Council Writers Guild had its First Annual Writers Day Retreat. Again, we enjoyed a beautiful setting on the shore of Falls Lake. The park's community building itself was enough to call up the writing muses with its fireplace, glass walls, and the convenience of a full kitchen. The view included the lake and the woods in full fall color. We did not have perfect weather. It was rainy, chilly and windy. But, that did not matter to the group of writers. In fact, we all said it enhanced the atmosphere for writing. Poet and teacher, Phillip Shabazz, led the group in a workshop where he opened a discussion of the muses, siting that it was unique to the human being. We dug deeper with an exercise on what things, people, or events have made us who we are. The workshop set the tone for a day of soul searching, writing and sharing. We broke for lunch and readings, then back to writing.
I also found time to walk, take photographs, watch an eagle flying over the lake and met another photographer who had come to the park to take pictures. Being out in the weather was refreshing to body, mind and spirit. I was keenly aware of using all of my senses – even the act of breathing the cool, fresh air was inspiring. I didn’t start a novel or write anything particularly profound as some of the ladies did, but the day was healing to my soul. Just being in the presence of such loving, talented, and giving people made it a day to remember.