Kim in Baltimore where winter has turned immediately to summer.
Last night I braved the storms and tornado warnings to drive back from Pittsburgh to Baltimore from my Pennwriters convention. I had no choice. You see I had only one day to ready myself for a writers retreat. There’s laundry to wash and food to buy, and it’s nice to sleep in my own bed from time to time. May’s been tough. With thirty-one days in this month, I’ll be away for seventeen of them.
Tomorrow morning I leave for a retreat just outside Philadelphia. I’ve been going to Clare House for about five years now and I think I’m finally learning what I need to bring. I’ve always been an over-packer. I needed an outfit for any occasion that might arise. Suppose I was invited to a grand ball in the middle of the woods? I’d need a dress for that. We might go shopping or out to lunch or to the movies. I might run into a girl from high school I haven’t seen in thirty years. All these scenarios needed a wardrobe and I was prepared for each of them.
The first time I went on this particular retreat, I brought enough clothes and food for several people for a month. The next few times I was invited I began to make list of what was needed and wanted, but still it took forever to pack and unpack my car. But practice makes perfect and I think I’ve got this down to the most important items.
Books. Next to writing instruments and food, books are vital to a successful retreat. In addition to a thesaurus and a dictionary, I need motivational and inspirational books as well. They give me a boost when I get frustrated or feel what I’m writing is just not working.
After a full day of writing, I like to relax before bed with a good story. I picked up All Saints by Jason Jack Miller at Pennwriters. I’m looking forward to reading it over the next week.
In the afternoon, before I get started on the second part of my writing day, I meditate. This time I’m taking along my new meditation CD by Madhu Wangu. Quiet time is good for your mind and soul.
I’ve also learned that high heels, cocktail dresses and make-up really have no place on retreat. Leggings, a sundress, and comfy shoes are all the fashion I need. And…of course… I’ll be bringing my trusty laptop and manuscript bible. That’s what the retreat is all about.
I’m determined to lighten my load this trip. I’ll keep you posted!
Dear Reader, how do you pack for a trip? Are you over prepared or always forgetting something?