Greetings from Seattle



Saturday, October 3, 2015

Thoughts on Being an Honorary Vashonista

Lavender Hill Farm

No, I didn't take that photo.  I "borrowed" it off the internet. But I was there!

In fact, I did not take any photos, if you can believe it. I did have my small Canon camera in the car, and I did have my iPhone handy, but I didn't use either camera.  I was too busy meeting six powerful women who call themselves the Vashonistas. 

How they got together is their story, but the short version is that they are all bloggers who met in "space" before they met face to face. This is the fourth year of their gathering at this lovely house on Vashon Island, in Puget Sound, just a ferry ride from Seattle.  

What you may not know if you follow any of these women is that I was to be Number 7.  When the invitation came from Linda Meyers  four years ago my introverted self registered fear. Then I looked at the calendar.  Stuff going on; Tom's birthday, Sounders match.  What to do?  So I did nothing, and that non-action was my answer as the group formed, found a six bedroom place to spend an October weekend, and the saga of the Vashonistas began. 

I have followed their adventures and their bonding through their blogs.  I have only met one of them, DJan, in person. but I felt I knew Linda and Sally and DJan quite well, Sandi and Deb and Jann not as much. Through their writing I could tell that they were all strong, intelligent, and thoughtful women, people with whom I seemed to share a kindred spirit. 

The invitation came via email early in September. Would I like to join them for dinner on Friday?  They wanted to meet me. Fear crept in again.  And thoughts like "Do I know how to get their? Tom does most of the driving these days." But I said yes. 

I am very glad that I accepted their invitation.  Once I got to Lavender Hill Farm, another story in itself, I was met by Linda and Sally and Jann.  I got a tour of the house - lovely- and we settled in to visit - easily. A while later DJan and Sandi and Deb arrived from an outing.  I found out later they had staged this so the I would not be overwhelmed by all of them at once.  That's how thoughtful they are. 

But that would not have been a problem.  Conversation flowed freely.  There was much laughter, a few almost tears, and I revealed more of myself over the course of a few hours than I hardly ever let people see of the real me over years of time. What a safe and trusting environment these women have created. 

We shared experiences and dinner and writing.  The six had decided to have a longer stay at their retreat, since all are now retired, and to focus on writing skills.  Deb has been leading the group through prompted writing workshops, where they all write to a given prompt for a given amount of time. After dinner I got to do a five minute prompt with them.  We wrote and then in turn shared our writing and received positive feedback from each other.  It was a very safe environment, and even in five minutes it's surprising how much a person reveals about themselves. I have a lot more in common with some of these women than anyone else will probably ever know about.  Childhood was a long time ago for all of us, but what is hidden in one's heart still manages to resurface, surprising with its intensity. 

There was also laughter, much laughter, and smiles and nods as our own little mind movies illustrated the readers words. It was brought home to me once again how we all envision another's writing through our own experiences, and when we can make connections with the writer the written word becomes so much more meaningful.  That's why I worked so hard to teach my students, and the teachers I worked with, to be aware of making connections.

I made a lot of connections yesterday. It was an enriching experience.  I am better for having it.

Thank you Linda, DJan, Sally, Deb, Jann, and Sandi. You are wonderful. 

15 comments:

  1. That's a nice environment for writing, isn't it? I love that photo you posed of the house as a whole. Very beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed this post and, as in introvert, could relate to your fear when that first invitation to join the Vashonistas arrived. I'm glad you worked through your fear and enjoyed a treasured experience meeting them. I find that to be true in my own life too--that often when I force myself to do something it turns out to be a positive experience. Not always, but often enough. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. The writing here is brilliant, Linda. You made me want to be a part of this group, and then when I realize I already am a part of this group, made me feel even more grateful than I was before. Your being with us last night was a gift, both in its reflection of who we've become and in how you enriched us with your presence. I love that we got to be your reward for being brave. I hope from the bottom of my heart that you'll be brave again and come write with us in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Movies in the Mind" I like the term. I used it with the kids when we were writing. You've given a good description of this group. Go ahead and join them!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great opportunity for you. I belong to a writing group that is just this kind of safe and supportive atmosphere and it has made a big difference in my writing and in my life. I am glad this was such a positive experience for you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds like a great group of gals! What fun for you to go and visit them! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. how fun I've been wanting to do a writing retreat with Caryn sometime but it hasn't happened yet. Writing and conversation does bring connections and reveals your real self.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm an introvert, too, so I totally understood your hesitation to join the event, but what a great experience it proved to be. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a treasure you have waiting in your back yard!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think a lot of writers are introverts and find their expression in writing. Even so, writing exposes a lot of yourself, and I'm not always comfortable with that either. I loved the post and even felt envy of a group of strong women bonding even though social times often leave me feeling insecure, inadequate, etc. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am so glad you decided to go this year. I have followed the meetings on various blogs and they seem to have such a wonderful time. Meeting a blog buddy is more like a reunion. We all ready know a lot about the other person. Hope you continue to make the meetings and maybe stay longer next time.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am also an introvert and would have balked at meeting a group of writers too. I was nervous about meeting you and DJan earlier this year, but I was so glad we all met. It was a highlight for not just Art and me, but mom too. It made everything come alive and it was wonderful to be face to face friends as well as cyber friends.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just now finding time to comment, Linda. It was such a special treat to finally meet you. The moments passed swiftly and I echo Deb in hoping we one day share a repeat adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just now finding time to comment, Linda. It was such a special treat to finally meet you. The moments passed swiftly and I echo Deb in hoping we one day share a repeat adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Linda, I'm so glad we finally met. I was in the kitchen cleaning when I heard your knock at the door and saw a hand wave through the window. "Wow, it's really her," I thought. Just like that, we were actually meeting.

    It truly was a highlight to have you join us at Lavender Hill. Frankly, I too was blown away by the connections that we all made so quickly through writing. You instantly fit into our writing circle. Your writing was deep and memorable.

    I was a bit blown away when you called us powerful women. Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad we didn't overpower you. Thank you for taking a chance by joining us. Thank you for coming.

    ReplyDelete

I would love to read your comments. Since I link most posts to Facebook, you may comment there if you do not have an account. I have eliminated Anonymous comments due to spammers.