There are so many things I’d love to say if I were able to confront myself as a young man.
Of the many statements in this ever-growing list, I’d first like to advise, “Attempt to create events you are not 100% certain you can create. This is exactly why you should attempt to create said event, because you’re not certain you can. That’s how you accomplish great things, young man.”
The workshops I taught, designed to inspire, designed to defeat procrastination and or writer’s block, was a huge hit. Several individuals at the retreat told me personally they produced their best quality writing ever while attending The Writers’ Retreat of San Buenas.
In one case, an individual became a writer while staying at The Writers’ Retreat of San Buenas.
A professional musician who “hadn’t written anything in decades” arrived for a different type of Costa Rican vacation with his partner, -a trained journalist, in tow.
While the journalist was effectively using his investigative skills to go inward, producing moving autobiographical sketches, the musician, using my techniques, produced writings passionate, whimsical and fun, surprising himself and delighting everybody but most especially, his partner who said, “We’ve been together 6 years, I didn’t know you could do that.”
Author Will Viharo brought his incomparable energy to our 1st retreat. “Will the Thrill” is the most fitting nickname I’ve ever encountered in a man. The man’s a force of nature who inspired by example, a bona fide life artist whose workshops encouraged retreaters to look within and to really ask themselves why they write. Something everybody, including myself, found enlightening.
Thank you, Will Viharo. You were the perfect guest instructor for our very first retreat.
Thanks must also be extended to Nick Halverson who set up the marketing (logo, website, etc) and kept everything running behind the scenes. Without him, the retreat simply wouldn’t have happened. Among the many details Nick kept track of was the meal planning (all breakfasts and most lunches and dinners are included in the fee), communicating with restaurants ensuring the tables were ready and reserved, ensured transportation was ready when needed and setting up the mini-excursions where the participants got to see, smell and experience Costa Rica. Mini-excursions created to stimulate our authors which clearly it did, as evidenced by the words written and photographs taken. But again, without Nick, this event never would’ve been the great success that it was. Thank you, Nick a thousandfold.
Another aspect of our first Writers’ Retreat of San Buenas that made this event truly extraordinary were the retreaters themselves. By no design on our part by rather happenstance, we brought together 6 extremely eclectic individuals from vastly different backgrounds, professions and writing experiences. There was the professional female in mid-career revisiting her early writing ambitions, a Southern-born natural comedian and ex-con writing his memoirs, a 20something poet searching for more experiences, the before-mentioned journalist\musician couple, and an easily-recognizable and beloved actor whose career includes several classics we each knew by heart.
There’s no explanation how we assembled such a diverse and talented group but they bonded early and got along famously. Friendships developed with ease. Vows to keep in touch were frequently heard with the possibility of doing a reunion retreat in 3 to 5 years. People openly discussed planned collaborations with each other in the near-future. Retreaters extended invites to other retreaters to come visit once they got back to the States.
“Yeah, come over to my place and visit,” I overheard one say to another. “I’ve got plenty of room and I know all the good bars and restaurants to go to. We’ll have fun.”
And yes, when it was over, there were a few tears. And they were beautiful.
The first Writers’ Retreat of San Buenas, from January 29 to February 4, 2017, became the greatest week of my life. I watched friendships develop, writers become inspired and believe I have found my life purpose as an instructor and director of a writers’ retreat in Costa Rica. There are worst aspirations, I guess.
Seriously looking forward to the next one. More details coming soon.