If the Boot Fits…

This week we have been re-imagining fairy tales.

Most of the fairy-tale known widely in America are originally German, because of the Grimm Brothers, who traveled throughout their part of Europe collecting, and then publishing, folk stories.

There are many other culture rich in stories, and often, gentler. The original stories published by the Grimms were definitely ‘grim’.

My mother grew up hearing Italian stories; she had no knowledge of the stories or common (generally English) nursery rhymes and bought books with them for her children to have common cultural knowledge.

When I had to tell a folk-tale for schoolwork, Mom told me an Italian one and my teacher was thrilled to see a new story.  You may have encountered the ‘punchline’ sometime in your life:
“Shoemaker, stick to your last”.   (The story is of a man who painted a picture and put it out while he hid, to see what people thought. A shoemaker came by and said it was great, but the heels were wrong on the man’s shoes. The artist, grateful, came out and repainted the heels. Later, the shoemaker came back and said, “Ah, that is better, but the man’s collar should be wider.” The artist jumped from his hiding place and said well, said the punchline.)

I can’t think of a way of retelling that,

but others come to mind.

How about another shoemaker, one with elves?

Many, many years ago there was a shoemaker who lived with his wife, Muffy, in a small, northern town.  They were no longer young and they had no children of their own, but they were well-known and well-liked because they were always cheerful and giving. In fact, the man made such quality boots and shoes that they lasted a long time, so there was little business, but they got by on a little income and by using little for themselves. Since neither could stand to see children barefoot in the cold, the man made shoes for any child who he felt needed them and his wife gave away small treats that she made to them as well. The couple learned that giving was a gift to themselves.

One night, after a day of giving away shoes and treats, the wife said to him, “ You looked tired.Go to bed”.

He said, “How can I? The mayor himself wants these boots and I promised they’d be ready in the morning.”

“So get up early”, Muffy told him. “If you do a lousy job, he won’t like them anyway.”

“I never do a lousy job”, he told her.

“I know, so go to bed so you can get up early do a good job in the morning.”

“You’re right. So, you coming?”

“I’ll be up in a little while. Go to sleep”

“You’re putting out food again, aren’t you?”

“My mother always did it. Things have always gone good for us, so why should I stop now?”

“You know it’s really not elves that eat it, right? You’re probably bringing foxes up to the house.”

Muffy shrugged her shoulders and he went up to bed.

And as good of a man as he was, he was wrong.

The elves, who had come by every night, heard them because, well, it was late. The tallest one said to the others, ”We have to help them. Let’s make the boots to show our appreciation for all the goodies Muffy has put out for us all these years.”

So they finished the boots.

The next morning the shoemaker called out,  “MUFFY! Did you finish the boots? “

His wife came down, rubbing her eyes and said, “You expect me to make boots? I cook, I sew, I bake. I make a little candy.  I don’t do boots. It must have been the elves.”

“Don’t start with the elves!”

“Then give me another explanation?”

The shoemaker never said another word, but he thought all day and left a pair of shoes unmade that night. Again, he awoke to a perfect pair of shoes.

“I must be getting up and making the shoes without remembering”,he said.”Yeah , that’s it,I’m sleepwalking.”

Muffy never said a word, but put out extra cakes the next night. Her husband, still not ready to give in, left two pairs of boots and another pair of shoes unfinished, but for the first time he helped Muffy put food out, then they went upstairs. However, neither went to sleep; they watched for when the elves came in and got to work on the footwear.

“See?” his wife said to him.

They went down and surprised the little men at work. The couple and thanked them, but the elves said, “We did this to thank you for all of the kindnesses that you have shown to us and to everyone.”

“You know about that?” he asked them.

“We see everything” the littlest elf answered.

The couple and the elves talked all night. The couple offered for the elves to live with them, but the elves said that it would not work; they should not like to be seen by everyone, but they made a counter-offer:  that because of this incredible offer for the elves to live with them, the man and his wife should instead go to live with the elves, where they would never get any older and they could do all the good that they wanted because there was no wants, no needs under the protection and  magic of elves. They said that had only accepted Muffy’s gifts as treats and a sign of her faith in them and of her good heart.

Muffy gave her husband an ‘I-told-you-so’ look and he said, “What? I never stopped you!”

So they gathered up their few good things. The elves led them farther away than they expected, but it all worked out well and I bet you can finish the story if I tell you  the ,shoemaker’s name…

it’s Claus.

Posted in Anthologies, blessings, characters, childhood, Children's books, Compilations, dialogue, experiences, Family, fantasy, imagination, memories, short stories, Tonette Joyce, traditions, writers | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Fairy Tales Redux

A Do-Over (or Two)

By Jeff Salter

What fairy tale would I like to re-imagine… and which genre would I select?

Well, before I respond to the actual question, let me say a word or two about fairy tales.

Optimized-fairytales

I’ve always enjoyed them… since I was a kid. And, as we’ve already discussed here this week, I’m glad I accessed the “sanitized” versions of most of them — since quite a few are grisly.

Among the valuable lessons I’ve found satisfying about fairy tales are these:

*** It takes the unvarnished honesty of a child to cut through the haze — as in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

*** When you’re overburdened with work, be very careful who you accept help from — as in “Rumplestiltskin.”

*** While you’re going through that awkward stage with pimples and hormones, just know that you’ll probably end up looking and feeling better in a few years — as in “The Ugly Duckling.”

*** Even if you live in the remote woods, lock your doors when you leave your cottage — as in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

*** If you cannot even recognize your own grandmother, you have no business traipsing through the woods alone — as in “Little Red Riding Hood.”

There are many others, but I’ll cut my list short for now.

As far as re-imagining fairy tales, I’ve actually already written one. A couple of years ago, I re-did the saga of Red Riding Hood, with a few dark twists.

One of the ones I’d like to tackle – if I could find the time and concentration – is Jack and the Beanstalk. Not sure about the genre, because I’ve already seen comedic versions (a la Abbott and Costello) and special effects versions (a la Jack Black). Maybe I’d write it as a detective story.

Another fairy tale I’d like to tackle would be The Elves and the Shoemaker — possibly from the POV of one of the low-ranking elves.

And possibly a new take on the Pied Piper tale, in which the POV is an off-duty cop who gets “word” from the street that somebody’s coming to town to steal all the kiddos.

But, as I said, all those will have to wait. I still haven’t completed my paperwork for the CPA to file my 2019 income taxes!

Question:

Which fairy tale is YOUR favorite? Which one would you like to re-configure?

 

[JLS # 495]

Posted in Miscellaneous | 11 Comments

Little Red Riding Hood

Does everyone know the story of Little Red Riding Hood? The way it goes is like this. A little girl who wears a red cape (hence the name) is taking some food to her grandmother who is sick. On her way to Grandma’s house she meets a wolf who asks her to give him her food. She refuses, but she does tell the wolf where she’s going.

He suggests that she pick flowers to take to Grandma, and while she does the wolf runs ahead to Grandma’s house and pretends to be Little Red Riding Hood. Grandma opens the door, and the wolf gobbles her up.  The wolf then dresses like grandma and gets into her bed. When Red Riding Hood shows up the wolf tells her to come in.

Little Red Riding Hood does notice a few weird things about Grandma. Things like big eyes, pointed ears, a hoarse voice, and big teeth. When she mentions teeth, the wolf tries to eat her, but she screamed and ran away. A woodsman heard her calling and rescued her from the wolf. He chopped the wolf open, and Grandma jumped out safe and alive.

This story is one of Grimm Brothers fairy tales, but it has been retold many times across Europe. I don’t know if we’d want such a dark story for children today, but fairy tales were usually meant to teach children how to behave. They could get pretty dark.

If I were rewriting it I don’t think I’d change anything except toward the end. When the wolf knocked on Grandma’s door he’d get more than he bargained for. Grandma was a karate instructor in the local town so the wolf had no chance to eat her. She flipped him around until he hobbled away with his tail tucked between his legs. When Red Riding Hood got there, she and Grandma would have lunch and Grandma would tell her the story of the wolf. What genre is this? Oh, action/adventure for sure. Are we empowering women here?

Posted in Elaine Cantrell, favorites, historical, Miscellaneous | 7 Comments

A Rapunzel Retelling

This week we’re discussing fairy tales. I do enjoy a good fairy tale and and good retelling. Like Patty mentioned yesterday a lot of the stories that we know have much darker endings than many of us grew up with. So, if I was to do a retelling what genre would I choose?

I have done a loose retelling of Rapunzel with my Jade: Out of the Ashes. I set it in a dystopian like future. I picked that because I wanted it to have a historical feel but didn’t want to worry about not getting the language, clothing, or mannerisms down. So my story was set over a hundred years after electricity had been knocked out of the world. Jade grew up without any modern amenities.

In the original Rapunzel she is locked in a tower by a fairy/witch after her father had agreed to give his unborn child to her in trade for some rapunzel for his wife to eat. Rapunzel is cast out of the tower after Gothel discovers that she has been meeting with the prince and is now pregnant with his child. The prince goes blind and wanders around the wilderness for years until one day he stumbles upon Rapunzel and his twins (which he didn’t know about). The tears from Rapunzel’s eyes cure his blindness. Finally, they’re together.

Jade is very loosely based off of this fairy tale. I had so much fun writing it. I am working on the sequel to it now, as well as some other stories. Jade came about when my daughter asked me to rewrite a fairy tale for her. When I asked her which one Rapunzel was her pick. Originally I had it as a contemporary retelling. Jade was being raised by her grandmother who had stolen her away in the night when her son had been killed in a car accident. She had never liked the child’s mother so she’s paid someone off to say that the baby was killed in the crash as well. Jade was raised on a grand estate hidden away from the world. Tired of not having any friends except for the maid’s daughter she sneaks out of the house. When she is caught her grandmother arranges for her to be sent away to a boarding school out of country. I had gotten to about the half way point in that version then decided that wasn’t the route I wanted to go with the story. As soon as I switched things up and rewrote it in a different genre the story flowed right out!

If I were to rewrite another fairy tale I would probably go with Beauty and the Beast. I’d set it in the same world as Jade but a different country. I really enjoyed creating that world.

 

Posted in Miscellaneous | 9 Comments

There’s Always a Backstory

Kaatsheuvel / The Netherlands - March 29 2018: The sweet house of the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel in Theme Park Efteling.

This week’s prompt: You’re asked to reimagine a fairytale. What fairytale would you choose and what genre would you write it in? Why?

I remember listening to and then reading many fairy tales, both European and Japanese. At the time, I wondered why the Japanese stories had such sad endings compared to the ones I saw in Disney movies. Later on, I learned that the familiar Disney version of the Brothers’ Grimm stories are much more kid-friendly than the original publications. For example, in the original versions, The Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty did not end up with their princes, and actually met an untimely end! I’m really okay with the white-washed version. Yes, I understand that the darker versions were meant to teach moral lessons, but I don’t think it should be done with a story that’s read as a child is put to bed. If my parents had read me some of those original tales, I would have been awake all night!

Anyway, the story I chose for today’s topic is Hansel and Gretel. If you’re not familiar with the original story, you can read it HERE. It always bothered me that the tale ends with the kids tricking the witch into the oven and shutting her in. I think there’ a nicer way to handle this. And since I write sweet romance, I’ll lay it out that way. Well, sort of.

Let’s start with the witch. She isn’t really a mean old lady. Let’s call her Miss Guided. She’s a woman in her mid-thirties who has suffered tragedy, and as a result she isn’t thinking clearly. She had been engaged to a handsome woodcutter named Gustav, a widower with two small children. She and her fiancé had plans to marry and add to their family, when one evening she was lured out into the forest by an evil magician. She was blindfolded and taken to a cottage deep in the woods. The magician put a spell on the cottage so that it became invisible to passers-by, and Gustav was unable to find her.

Finally, the evil magician died, and the cottage was no longer invisible. But poor Miss Guided was unable to return home, because she’d been blindfolded when taken there and she had no idea which way to go. She remained in the cottage, stewing about all that she’d lost, and growing more bitter as time went on, and losing touch with reality.

One day, Hansel and Gretel came upon her cottage when they were out for a hike and took a wrong turn (I don’t like the original version that has their stepmother wanting to get rid of them and abandoning them deep in the woods). Miss Guided sees them and in her diminished mental capacity, imagines them to be her children. She entices them into the cottage with treats and games. But when they prepare to leave she tells them that it’s not safe to leave, since it will be dark soon. She locks the doors and puts them to bed, telling them stories about wonderful adventures to exotic locations, all places she’d planned to visit on her honeymoon.

The children realize they’re going to need help getting back home. Fortunately, Hansel has his cell phone in his backpack and he surreptitiously sends his father a text, along with a screen shot of their exact location generated from his maps app. The father asks his friends to help him track down the children. Together, they locate the cottage and force their way in. Amazingly, the children’s father is the long-suffering Gustav, and even more amazingly has never moved on and married someone else. Gustav and Miss Guided rejoice at their reunion, and everyone lives happily ever after – after Miss Guided has spent many hours with her therapist, of course.

I realize this isn’t a true romance. The couple has already fallen in love, and there’s no emotional growth,  and no internal conflict to solve. The couple involved in the romance aren’t even the main characters! There would have to be a lot of layers added to make it a viable story, and maybe a change in point-of-view, but it’s a start. If Disney were to tell this story, they’d probably have Miss Guided look unattractive when the children arrive at her cottage, and then magically transform into her beautiful self when the rescuers get there. Or maybe Sleeping Beauty’s fairies can join this story and do the transforming. Anyway, I’m not sure what the moral of this story would be. Maybe something like “Never go in a stranger’s home” or “Never wander into the woods alone.”

Or maybe “Always keep your phone charged up.”

Posted in creating scenes, fantasy, imagination, Patricia Kiyono, romance, What if | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Heeeere, Shippy, Shippy, Shippy!

This week:  If, suddenly, after all your years of writing, your “ship” finally came in and your titles were receiving wide acclaim (and sales… and INCOME), what would you like to do with that “positioning” to help aspiring writers?

That’s easy.

When my niece and I had our bakery/restaurant, we dreamed of moving it and making it into place of  good , (but small), foods and pastries, where we would sell books, (used and new), plus  literary magazines

and we would have authors come in,

the famous,

the not-so famous,

up-and-comers

and those who might want to write.

Even though my health, strength, finances and family  has been holding me back from even trying this, enough money would allow me to get all of the help that I needed at home and in the shop.

My location is also a big problem, so I would need ENOUGH money to bring in famous, no-so-famous authors and others who want to write, and a nice, big place for them all to stay. (There are many suitable places here that would fill the bill, given enough renovation money). I could not only keep my own extensive library intact; I could add more.I would have plenty of resources for writers to do research. I would also have to have enough not to need the revenue from such a place, since, (if I had to stay where I am), I could not recoup anywhere near the funds this all would take. There is no way I would charge much, (maybe not charge some at all), even in the retail aspect of this;  I know what it is like to want to do things and to seldom have the money to indulge myself.

So, any ideas on this week’s topic came easily to me.

I have had so much fun with  the few book signings, forums and book festivals I have attended; I used to enjoy watching them on C-SPAN, (but alas, I have to have cable to enjoy those and I cut it long ago. They stopped showing them online otherwise).

I truly enjoy involvement with those who are in the process of writing, whether they are young people, people who are just starting out, or those who have been published and have needed a beta reader.  I do love to be with creative folk, thinking people, and kind ones; I have found writers to more often than not to be encouraging to others who write.

This old adage comes to mind when it comes to most writers:

“The bigger they are, the nicer they are”.

I would like for this to be said of me.

I wish each of the Foxes and the Hound and any writers reading this, smooth sailing for your ships to come in and to be among not only the nicer, but the bigger!
Fingers crossed.

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

– Mark Twain

 

Posted in art, author's life, authors, big plans, blessings, Books, careers, decisions, experiences, friends, helping others, inspiration, inspirational people, lifestyles, Miscellaneous, poetry, Preparing for writing, reading, research, teaching, The Author Life, Tonette Joyce, using talents, writers, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Helping Aspiring Writers

After My Ship Finally Comes In

By Jeff Salter

Topic: If, suddenly, after all your years of writing, your “ship” finally came in and your titles were receiving wide acclaim (and sales… and INCOME), what would you like to do with that “positioning” to help aspiring writers? Any particular age of writers? Any particular genre?

ship-coming-out-of-fog-crop

If (as an author) I finally achieve a degree of “positioning” that allows me the acclaim and resources to help aspiring writers… it would be the culmination of a long-standing dream.

Many, MANY decades ago, I fancied I would like to be on a small college campus as a visiting professor of creative writing. Not to deal with the grind of teaching classes… but to conduct seminars or workshops… and to bring in other noted authors, poets, playwrights, etc., to speak and inspire the students.

I remember how earnest I was in my own poetry (among other writing) in my early college years… and how impressed I was to meet people like John Ciardi (at the time, the poetry editor of the Saturday Review). In my freshman year (at Mercer University in Macon GA), I had one English professor [Dr. Bond, I believe] who was very supportive of my creative writing, one to whom I did not show any of my creative writing, and one professor who basically told me that I was too young to have had any significant life experiences and therefore my poetry was basically just ornamental. Yeah, that third professor was honest… but brutally honest. And she didn’t see fit to point out that my verse had ANY merit. Now, admittedly, she was correct that my life experiences to that point had been scant… but there are better ways to deal with the fragile egos of 17-year-old aspiring poets than to slam them to the floor and kick them in the ribs.

Oh well, I mentioned that third professor mainly to explain that she gave me a model of how NOT to respond to aspiring student writers. And in my life so far – in small ways, here and there, over the years – I’ve been approached by several aspiring writers. Some of them were quite good and some were not-so-good. Each category requires a deft touch. For the good writers, you need to try to get them to stretch… encourage them to improve and gently help them understand that even the best writers need to grow and mature. For those aspiring writers whose work is relatively feeble, you need to find some aspect (however small it may be) that can be praised and focus more on what they do well… than on what they don’t (or can’t) accomplish in their work. After all, everyone has to start somewhere.

But college students are not my only target groups. I’d also like to be available to those aspiring writers in high school… or even junior high. In my own case, my creative writing was encouraged by an eighth grade teacher (Mrs. Fleming) and a tenth grade teacher (Mrs. Sherman). Each of them recognized that I had PROMISE and they encouraged it. Whereas they could have just smashed it with a hammer, as did that university professor in my freshman year.

Another group I like to encourage and “mentor” – though I have to qualify that concept – are the individuals who’ve reached adulthood — anywhere from their 20s to their 60s (or older). I’m referring to people who used to love to write, but somewhere along the line, they were exposed to someone – like that university English professor – who stomped on their dreams… rather than search for a bright spot to help develop. These are people who tell me, “Oh, I used to write, but my teachers [or parents… or whomever] only discouraged me.” Some have told me that it was peers who quashed their writing dreams. Whichever way their writing aspirations were stunted, I enjoy working with them to re-ignite that dream from long ago… to again believe in their raw talent and the validity of their creative leaning… and (hopefully) encourage them to resume working to develop it.

So if my “ship” ever comes in – if my own writing ever garners the level of popular and critical acclaim that my sales finally soar… I’d like to devote some of my new-found resources into workshops or some other type of connection with individuals in any or all of those three groups. But here’s where I qualify the notion of “mentoring” — I don’t have the time or energy to take anyone under my wing and constantly coddle them. My efforts would have to be limited to certain times and places — such as seminars, workshops, or panels. I think I could be helpful to aspiring writers in my office hours as a visiting professor, in a secondary school facility for special occasions, or perhaps meeting with an adult writing group in a library setting. But I don’t want people hanging around my house, invading my space, or dominating my time. [I’m already too old for that.]

Question:

What about YOU? If your ship came in and you were positioned with fame and resources… who would you help? How?

[JLS # 494]

Posted in Miscellaneous | 13 Comments

When My Ship Comes In

If, suddenly, after all your years of writing, your “ship” finally came in and your titles were receiving wide acclaim (and sales… and INCOME), what would you like to do with that “positioning” to help aspiring writers? Any particular age of writers? Any particular genre?

Wow, I hope that really happens one day! Anyway I can think of several things I’d like to do.

First, I’d be available for workshops. I think that as you work on your craft you get better at it so I’d be glad to share what I’ve learned with aspiring writers. Most new writers have no idea how the publishing world really works. When I had my first book published they sent me advance reader copies that I had no idea what to do with. It would have been nice to have someone sit me down and tell me a few basics.

Second, I’d enjoy having interaction with young writers, maybe college age. I’d love to be someone’s inspiration, and if your ship really came in you’d have an inspiring story of hard work and dreams to share.

Third, writer’s retreats would be nice. It’s hard to find time to write. I used to be amazed by the number of books other authors could churn out. How did they find the time? I was a high school teacher and had a husband and children to take care of. A weekend in a nice place with lots of writing time would have been so welcome.

What about you? If you’re an aspiring author, what do you need most?

Posted in authors, big plans, Elaine Cantrell, Miscellaneous | 5 Comments

When My Ship Comes In

If, suddenly, after all your years of writing, your “ship” finally came in and your titles were receiving wide acclaim (and sales… and INCOME), what would you like to do with that “positioning” to help aspiring writers?

That would be so lovely. I already know what I would like to do to help aspiring writers. First, I would want to set up my own publishing company. We would work hand in hand with authors from the beginning. I know there are a lot of great publishing companies out there already. They do a great job. There isn’t any in my local area and I would love to be able to help others achieve their goal. This past year I have been helping someone work through her first manuscript. We’ve been messaging back and forth. I’ve read several snippets,, offered advice, helped through the first round of self edits. She’s still working on her manuscript and hopes to be able to submit to publishers this Fall. It has been wonderful helping her reach her dream. She’s wanted to write for years and never thought that she could get published so she never went for it. It’s been so rewarding helping her. I want to be able to help aspiring authors like that all the time.

I’d love to be able to travel to schools and do little writing workshops. I remember in fifth grade that was what sealed it for me. I went to an all day writing workshop. I already knew I wanted to be an author but that day just confirmed it for me. I could travel around the country and help inspire kids to write. That would be amazing! Of course I’d want these workshops to be available to every school, not just the ones that have a little more money to spend on things like that.

These are just a few things I would want to do to help others WHEN my ship comes in.

Do you have any ideas of how to help aspiring authors?

Posted in Miscellaneous | 5 Comments

A Writer’s Dream

Drifting Dunes

Drifting Dunes Resort in Grand Haven, Michigan is the perfect place to get away and write – or do whatever you set your mind to.

This week’s topic: If, suddenly, after all your years of writing, your “ship” finally came in and your titles were receiving wide acclaim (and sales… and INCOME), what would you like to do with that “positioning” to help aspiring writers?

For most authors, the one thing that is in short supply is time. We have daily responsibilities, and sometimes it’s impossible to focus on our stories when there is a mountain of housework to do. My first book took almost eight years to write, mainly because I let so much get in the way. It wasn’t until I had several days in a row of being on my own for several hours at a time that I was able to put all the words into a cohesive story. I went on vacation with my daughters (hubby, of course, stayed home) and since the girls were old enough to go off on their own, I stayed back at our vacation home and wrote. There was no one around to distract me, and I could eat whatever and whenever I wanted. It was the perfect boost to my writing career.

Later on, after I’d joined a couple of local writing groups, both organizations began to organize writing retreats, set at various locations in the state. The first one I attended was in the historic Gerber House, the former home of the family who started the Gerber baby food brand. Again, being away from my family and the daily obligations brought on by home ownership, I got a lot of words written. And being around other authors made for wonderful brainstorming opportunities, as well as chances to share resources. My most recent writing getaway was one I organized at the home pictured above. It’s the model for what I imagine I’d like to purchase if my own writing were to achieve the level of fame and fortune suggested in the prompt.

IMG_7168

Fellow writers at a retreat at Drifting Dunes in 2018. The clamps on the edge of the tables hold a drink and a small waste basket.

I can’t imagine earning enough money to do anything I want, but the first thing that comes to mind would be to purchase a nice big house by the lake (in my neck of the woods, “the lake” refers to Lake Michigan) where writers can get away. I suppose it could be used for small workshops with speakers and such, but I’m more interested in providing a nice, peaceful place, away from jobs, children, and even spouses. I’ve attended several retreats, and I know exactly how I’d outfit my retreat house. I would make sure there were comfortable bedrooms, a huge complete kitchen and dining room, beach access for those who want to take a break, and other amenities. And then a large work room. Each participant would get a six-foot table with a nice lamp, several places to plug in various devices, and a comfortable office chair. Of course, there would be internet access. And maybe a bookshelf full of reference books. The place would be open to writers of all genres, but limited to adults. Most retreats I’ve attended went from Thursday through Sunday, sometimes longer.

You might ask how my retreat spot would differ from others already in operation. Here’s my thought: I’d ask writers to give a minimum of ten writing goals when they first arrive. Then, for each goal they meet, I’d give a partial refund on their fee. How’s that for an incentive to buckle down and git ‘er done?

I suppose demand for a writers-only retreat center might be somewhat limited, so I would need to make it amenable to other types of retreats. I’ve attended scrapbook retreats, and a writer friend of mine attends quilting retreats. If I outfit the place as I described, it would work for these other groups. Although I imagine sewers (otherwise known as sewists) would need a bit more table space since they’d be cutting and ironing as well as sewing. Anyway, I’d open it up to other types of groups to help keep the place open.

Of course, the venue itself is only a small part of providing a getaway destination. Assuming I had the money to PURCHASE this place, I would need to spend money to MAINTAIN it. Here’s only a partial list of people I’d need to hire.

  • I hate cleaning, so I would need to hire people to clean it after each group left.
  • I don’t do yardwork, so I would need to hire people to maintain the grounds.
  • I am no good with fixing things, so I would need a handy-person.
  • I have no patience for legalese, so I would need a person to handle rental contracts, scheduling, and correspondence.
  • I can hardly keep up with my own finances, so I’d need an accountant.
  • I love watching decorating shows, but I’d need help to make the place look nice enough that people will want to come – and return.

I would think that between purchasing the home, supplying it the way I have in mind, and maintaining it, I will use up just about any money I could ever hope to earn, especially if writers are motivated to reach all their goals. In the meantime, I’ll be signing up to attend writing getaways at places like Drifting Dunes (as soon as the pandemic threat lifts) so that I can work toward becoming someone whose titles receive “wide acclaim and sales.”

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