Writers Retreat – Interlochen College for Creative Arts

Conference Spotlight Submission to Fiction Southeast

The Writers Retreat at Interlochen College for Creative Arts was my opportunity this summer to pick up my pen and pluck up my courage to write and read. It was a week of encounter: new themes, new faces, new prompts, new passion. Every day offered new possibilities for walking along pine straw paths toward turning points in my progress as a writer and the discovery of new solutions to my crafty problems.

Artistic Director, Katey Schultz, shaped our experience with the intention of developing the art of creative writing and fostering collegiality among writers. Her careful planning, expert leadership and graceful style contributed mightily to the success of this Retreat. Her opening announcements during daily gatherings by the great stone fireplace in the Writers Lodge were carefully crafted and warmly spoken. Her words became the call to go forth and write.

A community of talented author-teachers joined energies, pouring themselves into Genre Classes each morning, Craft Lectures in the afternoon, and Readings in the evenings. Thanks to the Novel Class led by Mary Kay Zuravleff, I will listen more acutely for Point of View and season my work more consistently with “special sauce”. In response to the crisis in Orlando, Mardi Jo Link reminded us that “Thoughts and Prayers are Not Enough. We are writers. We have Words.” We dropped everything and we wrote.

In addition to scheduled events, Schultz pulled together a spontaneous Lunch Seminar on Literary Stewardship in response to queries on marketing and publishing. She also invited Writers-In-Residence to offer consultation for those of us seeking one-to-one guidance on the writer’s life.

And, of course, there were times set aside to sit and write in one’s cabin, sheltered by the canopy of tall Northern Pines, inspired by the sparkle and splash of Lake Wahbekanetta. It was a week away but also a week aware.

I am deeply grateful for the Writers Retreat at Interlochen: how it was planned and how it unfolded. When is it next year? Next June, you say? I’m marking it on the calendar and hope you will too.

About Linda Patrick

Linda Patrick has found healing, hopeful places in both hospitals and in ministries in mainstream congregations and beyond. She has written for church publications and congregations. Her prayers and poems have been published in “Sing Out New Visions” by Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her short story, “La Befana” was published by in “Pockets”, a United Methodist Church children’s magazine. Her coloring-storybook, “Seeds to Share” is being published in the 2016 by the Christian Church in Indiana for use in Green Chalice Congregations. Her doctoral work in the ethics of affirmation of persons of all gender identities and sexual orientations has shaped her practice. Linda is also a budding novelist. She was a finalist in a Novel Competition by Penguin Books in 2009 and has been writing ever since. She lives with her wife in Indianapolis and they escape to Interlochen Center for the Arts whenever the Spirit leads.