I just spent a long weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a writer’s retreat. I had never been to New Mexico. Or to a writer’s retreat. I had no idea what to expect from either. Both were amazing.
Albuquerque is a sprawling city. I stood on the balcony to my hotel room and felt like I could see forever, especially at night. Twinkling lights that went on for miles and miles and miles until they stopped at the base of a huge craggy mountain. During the day the sky stretched blue and cloudless above the low, flat, city. Sunrises were all pinks and oranges. Buildings were the color of terra-cotta, dotted with the green of herbs and prickly pear plants (see the cactus with purple parts below). Our hotel was perfect, with fountains, and trellised vines and bright blue pools. It sprawled like the city, full of little nooks for writing.
In the midst of all this sprawl, we came together. We wrote on the patio by all those fountains. We ate meals and snacks (twice a day, at 10 and 3) together. We laughed over blueberry mint margaritas in sticky glasses and cried over the quiet a capella strains of Amazing Grace. We talked about the privilege of creating, about recognizing the worth of our work. We talked about being stuck and getting unstuck. About getting out of our own way and taking the next step. About how to do it all (hint: don’t) and when to sit quietly and simply give space.
A huge, huge thank you (and another round of those margaritas) to the folks at Women’s Fiction Writers Association who planned this amazing weekend and the Hotel Albuquerque for the hospitality and delicious food (including the margaritas, have I mentioned them?) Also to Bookworks, Albuquerque for helping me stock up on books for the long trip home and keeping a couple of my books on consignment (so fun to think about my books on a shelf all the way across the country). Oh, and pictured above on the left is Leah Ferguson (see September, Books & Brews) and on the right is Kristin Contino (see August, Books & Brews).