When my wife and I decided that life in the Greater Boston area wasn’t compatible with continued health and sanity and we were examining other possible New England locales, one of the key criteria for me was the local writing community. We liked all kinds of things about the Burlington area, but the presence of a really strong local literary community was definitely high on the list.
When we did actually make the move, I very quickly got involved with the Burlington Writers Workshop, one of the things that caught my eye in our pre-move evaluation. This has turned out to be a great idea! The group started out hosting free writing workshops for its members in Burlington, and has now added workshops in Montpelier and Midddlebury as well. Meanwhile, BWW has branched out to putting out an annual “best of” publication of pieces from the workshops, starting a literary journal that’s already making a name for itself (Mud Season Review, where I am incidentally co-Editor for Poetry), holding seminars on various aspects of writing and publishing and, starting this year, hosting writing retreats.
I got to participate in one this weekend, at Camp Abnaki a ridiculously picturesque (see above) old camp ground on North Hero island in Lake Champlain. It was only a day (in keeping with BWW’s ethos that what it does is free for members), but it was so helpful. In between a morning intro, lunch and potluck dinner, I got a solid day’s worth of writing, where I was able to:
- Gather screenplay revision notes from several locales (my phone, e-mails, two different computers, written notes on a draft) into one place and organized them into a revision plan for the final draft
- Work on revising several poems, including finding the right form for one that has been bedeviling me (decasyllabic ballad, as it turns out)
- Start to revise a short story based on feedback notes from a BWW Middlebury workshop a few weeks back
I’m a pretty happy writer after this weekend. Also, i learned that Grand Isle County has that laid-back beach person vibe I had so missed from California and Gloucester. I can’t wait to go back!