Sunday, September 8, 2013

ANWA Retreat

I thought I'd take a moment--several actually--to write a little about my experience I shared with several wonderful ladies. American Night Writer's Association had their first Inter-mountain Retreat over the weekend, and I had the privilege to attend. It was perfect. Friday morning I headed out with Anna, Chris, Jodi and Tara along with all our junk and climbed Ephraim canyon to the Great Basin Environmental Education Center to fill our creative buckets to the rim.
Let me tell you, we all needed this chance to get away and write. Most of us needed the break from kids and life to focus on our writing. With no phone calls or internet to distract us we were able to get something accomplished. Finally!

Friday night, after an afternoon of writing, we had the opportunity to listen to Marsha Ward, the founder of ANWA, speak to us about how ANWA was started. I loved the story she shared and loved how it was divinely inspired. It was no happy accident that this writing group started the way it did. I am thrilled to be apart of a group that is spreading good uplifting books to those who want to read clean stories. Thanks Marsha.

That night Marsha asked me if I would draw the cover of her next book for her. I was surprised and thrilled. Outside I might have looked calm, but inside I was doing the happy dance (my dancing isn't that impressive, just so you know. I look like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld).
I slept very little that night. Marsha's character in her book wouldn't leave me alone. I kept picturing them and studying how I was to draw them. I woke early and sketched a picture for her to approve, and she loved it. I hope it all comes together and my drawing can be good enough for a cover.

After our fabulous lunch made by Liz Adair we listened to the wonderful Carla Kelly speak to us about researching and connecting with our characters. In her speech she talked of a book she wrote about the Scofield Mine accident that happened over one hundred years ago. The book "My Loving Vigil Keeping" has real people that she studied and researched about. I cried as she spoke of these hard working husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers who died in this accident. I felt drawn to this story and I can't wait to read it. When I returned home I spoke to my grandma about this book and she informed me that my Great Great Grandpa Charles Walton and his brother Andrew worked in that mine during that time. Charles would have died that day had it not been for his cow that got loose. Andrew was close enough to loose his hearing, but not his life. If not for that wonderful cow I wouldn't be here today. :)
Charles moved not long after the accident and married Ida Ann Paxman, then had a daughter that grew to be the Great Grandma (Iona) that taught me how to oil paint when I was 13 years old.

Left to right: Bottom-Jodi, Pam, Carla, Chris, Anna, Michelle, Andrea. Middle-Marsha, Liz. Top-Pauline, Tara, Jen, Susan and me.

As I sit here and write my thoughts and experience I can't help but believe that I was inspired to join ANWA then attend that retreat. I know I was meant to go to listen and learn. It was such a blessing to sit with such a great group of women. I learned so much from all of them. Thank you Liz, for the food and conversation. Thanks Michelle for your help in getting my first paragraphs up to snuff. Thanks Marsha and Carla for your words of wisdom. Thanks Pam and Jodi for all your hard work in putting it together. Thanks to everyone who critiqued my work. Thanks everyone for your friendship.
And most of all thanks to my Heavenly Father who guided me there then helped me make it home safe through the storm of all storms (the rain storm was the worst I've ever seen).

Experiences like this are a wonderful reminder that I am meant to be a writer. I may not be at my best, but I'm learning and loving it. I have a passion for storytelling and I know I can't quit. So, onward and upward I will climb!

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Pam Williams said...

Great to get your feedback. Our first ever retreat in the Intermountain region was successful because of the people who came and brought such a wonderful spirit of dedication to developing their talents.

Marsha Ward said...

It was so awesome to meet you, Christine. To think that we both were in the right place at the right time so I could be inspired to ask you to do my next cover is more than serendipity. It was inspired! Thank you!

JaredChristineWalter said...

Thanks Marsha! I sure hope it will be good enough.

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