day four: the dawning of normalcy

I stood outside among the purple and pink flowers. I have seen these flowers before – when we were younger, there were shrubs and shrubs of them. I wonder about the proverbial green thumb that seems to have disappeared with my parent’s generation.

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I watched as a bumblebee hopped from one flower to the next. I wondered if the taste of morning pollen was sweeter than afternoon pollen. I wondered if flowers were early risers or if whether they dreaded the fleeting embrace of the early morning mist.

It was my last day on the Island.

Like a fearful turtle or distressed snail about to be served up in some exotic cuisine, I slowly retreated into myself. The harsh brutality of normalcy was about to hit me hard.

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I listened to the lake and heard her hurried nature: Nalubbale’s waves were crashing into each other in a desperate attempt to get to shore. Or was it the wind’s fault, acting like a worn-out mother shooing her tardy children out the door?

This was my last day on the Island.

We came to the Island to unleash our writing potential (No seriously, it was on the flyer), we came to learn and unlearn some things; we came to learn to be authentic and vulnerable. We came because we felt our stories were so intricately weaved in the depth of our souls and we were desperate to get them out.

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Did we do any of these things, you ask? Were we all not told by those adorned in black-and-white wielding bamboo sticks, that talent couldn’t be taught? We either possessed the genes of the great or only aspire to be said great. A smile pasted her self on my face as read through this – these black and whites should have met Jackee.

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Jackee Batanda – to be exact.

She is the personification that dynamite comes in small packages – A bundle of energy, passion and infectious laughter. In spite of her obvious years of experience and training, she did not belittle some of my outrageous expectations. Hashtag, my dreams are valid.

Her company, SuccessSpark Brand runs a four-day writing retreat. Four days packed with learning best practices, structure, editing with just a hint of publishing. We listened to each other’s work and marvelled at the distinct style that each of us brought to the table. We had one-on-one sessions with the facilitators – talking through our expectations and our goals beyond the retreat.

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Today was my last day on the Island.

That Alex and his team were up to it again, the sweet aroma of freshly baked cupcakes was making my waistline flatline. Team Alex saw to it that the definition of culinary delight would soon take on new meaning for each of us.

I am guilty of slightly over indulging my imagination as we went on a nature walk one evening. Yes, I imagined the ghost kings of Safari ant colonies past, terrorising us as we loudly made our way through. We laughed so uncontrollably that when we came to the next colony on our path, jumping over them was dangerously hard.

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Solitude. Therapeutic. Serenity.

These are the words that would aptly describe my experience.

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And yet like an expectant mother being handed her baby in the theatre, came the dawning realisation that my child was here. I have always loved writing and now, I didn’t have to do it alone. After all, it takes a village, doesn’t it?

Which makes me wonder, will you be part of the village? Will I see you, at the next SuccessSparkBrand Writing retreat?

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All photos credited to Zahara Abdul/SuccessSparkBrand. 

For more information about the retreat, visit this website. If you are not too sure about the retreat, sign up for the one day novel writing master class (yes, I’ve attended this one as well…)

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