Thursday, February 07, 2013

A Poet on the Coast: by Patty Kinney

Susan Rich had Patty Kinney, one of the incredible women I met at our last Poets on the Coast Retreat, as a guest blogger.  Patty wrote about her first experience at our retreat, and I thought I'd share it here as well as it's  a lovely snapshot of the weekend and her memories....

Being a Poet on the Coast: By Patty Kinney--

I was not a person who liked being around a bunch of women before this experience.

Now, I embrace it.

I do a lot of lucid dreaming. My desires inform my dreams. Two years ago when I yearned to travel to Newport, Oregon to attend Poets On The Coast, a writing retreat for women, I just couldn’t swing it. Life got in the way. Still, it lodged itself like a sliver in my subconscious.Honestly,  I wasn’t crazy about spending the weekend with a bunch of strangers, especially women. But the dreams didn’t stop; the sliver festered.

Last September, when the retreat was in it’s second year, I became a Poet On The Coast

My drive from Olympia to the Oregon Coast took place on the hottest day of the year. I left behind a very ill mother and a sunburned child. I arrived early, happy to discover an Irish Pub near the 100 year old Sylvia Beach Hotel. I needed a Guinness to brave all these women. 

An hour later, I checked in to the Neverland of writerly hotels. Each room is named for writers, novelists, poets - dead and alive. I lugged by vintage suitcase to the Alice Walker room, opened the door and cried. I’d been to Uganda twice. The room was a near replica of a cabana I stayed in while on safari in East Aftica. I poked around other rooms (they leave them open before guests arrive). I was bookended by John Steinbeck and Virginia Woolf. I checked out Colette (posh), Mark Twain ( stately), Dr. Seuss (whimsical).

When it came time to meet the women, I took the stairs one by one. My feet moved so slowly I was sure they were drugged. As I reached the Mark Twain room, other women began to filter in. Renee from Canada, Angie from California, Amber from West Virginia - two dozen in all. The entire Pacific Northwest and beyond represented. We were recently homeless women, lawyers, teachers, nurse practitioners. We wore bare feet, Birkenstocks, slippers and Italian sandals. I was immediately intimidated. My inner child sucked it’s thumb. . .

Thank you, Patty!

~ Kells

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