Confession Tuesday - The DIY Writing Retreat Day Edition (and why you need to keep good friends in your life)

Top row: Ronda Broatch as Cyrano de Bergerac, Annette Spaulding-Convy as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ann Hursey as W.S. Merwin, Lana Ayers as Chu Shu-chen , Holly Hughes as Virginia Woolf, My Mum as Jackie Collins
Bottom row: Nancy Canyon also as Virginia Woolf, Jennifer Culkin as Dorothy Parker, Kelli Agodon as Sylvia Plath, Martha Silano as Gertrude Stein, Susan Rich as Anna Akhmatova, Kathleen Flenniken without her cape as Marianne Moore

Dear Reader,

It's been a poem-a-day since I last confessed.  I've been incredible busy these days but in all good ways, so let's get going.

To the confessional--

I confess I spent 5 1/2 straight hours yesterday writing poetry.

I got together with two other poets in my neighborhood (I live in a town of less than 3000 people and 4 of us are published poets and editors-- it's kind of wild to have my neighbors also be fantastic poets)  and we wrote from 1 pm until 6:30 pm, then we had our poetry group from 7 - 9 pm.

From that writing stretch, I got the beginnings of at least 7 or 8 new poems.

We call this our "Do-it-Yourself Writing Retreat."  Basically, we show up in comfortable clothes, lots of snacks, our laptops and some writing exercises and we create.

Because we have done this together more than once, once we begin, we just go.

There's no chitchat, no bad energy, no attitude, no selfishness, just-- here's the exercise, see what happens.  We make decisions for our day based on what's good for the group, not one person.

If you're interested in doing one of these with your writer friends, here's an old post I've linked up to before with more on DIY Writing Retreats 

If you want photos of food, our beach walk, and me in a funny hat & pink socks, here's one more link.  (apparently, I dress as if I'm colorblind when we do our retreats because on both retreats, I had on my red clown shoes (okay, they aren't really clown shoes, but they look like it) AND a pink shirt/scarf.)  Nice.

I confess the secret to the success of these longer DIY writing retreats is who is involved.  

You have to do them with writers you trust, who would never hurt you, who are open and ready to try anything new, who will bring themselves to the day and commit fully (that means, no cellphones, no "I need to check email," etc etc.)

And you can do them with only one person and they work out great too.

I meet with Susan Rich about every 6 weeks and we write in her writing studio, House of Sky (here's a link to a writing day I had with Susan Rich.) 

And here are some photos from one of my favorite writing dates with her when we went to the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum.

This is a correspondence Susan and I wrote about our friendship.  It talks about writing dates.
Kelli & Marty with her horns of light...

I also meet to write with Martha Silano.  Next week, I'm taking the ferry to meet Marty at a coffeeshop where we will write for 4 hours.

Here's us from a past writing day in a coffee shop. 

Here's when she took the ferry to me and we wrote in my writing shed (aka House of Sea) -- this link has my favorite ridiculous photos of us...  And our most recent one where she bought me this cool hat for winning the Foreword Book of the Year Prize.


I confess I had a great time yesterday writing and laughing and eating.


I confess, just in general, I've been slowly ridding myself of the people I don't trust from my life.  It's a matter of life is too short to hang out with people who bring me down.

And it's not that these people are bad people, they just aren't right for my life.  I'm sure they make a perfectly good friend to someone else.  But for me, something just doesn't click.  Or it clicks at first, then more you get to know them, you realize that click, was actually a clunk.

I think it's something that happens the older you get.

As a teenager, I thought, "Yes, some of my friends are jerks, but they are my friends..."

In my twenties, I thought, "Hey, I don't need to be friends with jerks.  You are new and fun, I like you, let's spend hours upon hours together being fun and having fun and yes, let's stay out late and have more fun."  Then I got job, then moved from my hometown, then had a child.

My early thirties were "I only have time for my family, sorry friends..."

My mid-thirties were "Sorry I've been away. I'll be friends with anyone."
My late thirties were, "Well, that didn't work out so well..." and I dropped a few people from my life.

My forties?  I guess my motto is, "I only have time for my favorite quality people."

And really, that's how it should be.

We each know people who want the best for us.  These are the folks you should surround yourself with.

I confess, about once every two-years, I have to check in with myself because I've made some bad choices.  I like friendships that are positive and easy--

 I confess, I didn't plan on this to be about friendship, but there we are.  Call this my Confession Tuesday / Early Thankful Thursday post.

Amen and Thanks.



  1. And it's not that these people are bad people, they just aren't right for my life. I'm sure they make a perfectly good friend to someone else. But for me, something just doesn't click. Or it clicks at first, then more you get to know them, you realize that click, was actually a clunk.

    I recently learned that this year. It has made a huge difference on my quality of life. I still struggle to apply it, because sometimes it's difficult to drop bad connections, but it's definitely helping.

  2. "Or it clicks at first, then more you get to know them, you realize that click, was actually a clunk."

    Yes, exactly!

  3. Allyson- I know what you mean. I also struggle with it, which is why I end up checking in with myself!

    I know sometimes I don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but then I realize I'm happier when I'm not spending time with them.

    RE: And it can be hard to drop bad connections... I always just think "pull away slowly, slowly, slowly ..." ;-)

    Drew-- Quite a few of my clunks began as clicks.

  4. Happy to make the cut ;-) I love all the dimensions of our friendship -- and that it just keeps growing! You are one my quality people for sure -- in poetry, laughter, and life! (oh yes, and in food!)

  5. I just couldn’t leave your website before telling you that we really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new posts.


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