Monday, June 18, 2012


"The weather is wonderful"

SNARKY RESPONSE – You're kidding! Who put this in a fortune cookie? The weather is wonderful? Well, they do have a 50/50 chance of being right, but come on. No one opening a fortune cookie is looking for a weather forecast. We prefer to roll those dice by watching the local weather guy so that we have a clearly defined target if the forecast is wrong. When we crack open that golden cookie at the end of a delicious Asian meal, we're looking for something more esoteric, more thought provoking, more prophetic. Granted, trying to forecast the weather is prophecy in action, now that I think about it. But for a fortune cookie-FAIL.

That said, if there is a case to be made that the fortune you receive is the fortune you should heed, then The Weather Is Wonderful described my week-end perfectly. (WooOooo note: I pulled this out of the bowl last Sunday – did "they" know something after all?)

I was at a writer's retreat called The Porches with four wonderful writers: Gigi Amateau, Erica Orloff, Katharine Herndon, and Shann Palmer. Do not confuse this with a girls' week-end away. The Porches is designed to provide an opportunity to step outside of daily life with its myriad distractions and focus on one thing—writing. Nestled in the Virginia Mountains, The Porches Writers Retreat is seriously just that. To get specifics, click here.

Suffice it to say it's a slice of seclusion designed to encourage the creative process. From early morning until 5:30pm all residents are expected to create, whether in their rooms or in any of the delightful nooks and crannies around the house and grounds.

Each bedroom is a haven for writers seeking to commune with their muses—spacious, pleasantly decorated, and set up with writers in mind. Desks are positioned in front of windows with views of the grounds or the mountains. Comfortable chairs are included if you need less formal writing space. I was quite comfortable at my desk, the ceiling fan quietly stirring the cool mountain air (did I mention the weather was wonderful?). For more photos, check out my fb author page, Denise Golinowski/Author.

Being the dedicated writers we are, we all pretty much stayed in our rooms working on projects we'd brought for this specific week-end. Though the muses were definitely in attendance feeding our minds, they could not provide our bodies with sustenance and guests at The Porches bring their own food & drink. Breakfast (my responsibility and laid out Continental style) and deli-style lunches provided by Katharine were eaten only when the hunger pangs drove us from our rooms. Like ancient hunter/gatherers, we'd emerge from our rooms, stalk the selections offered, capture our choices, and retreat to our sanctuaries.

The only truly communal meals were marvelous dinners prepared by Chef Gigi and consumed al fresco around a large wooden table on the front porch. Bottles of excellent red and white wine provided by Sommelier Erica were the perfect accompaniments to the meals and encouraged us to linger over empty plates and full glasses sharing stories both writerly and personal as well as marveling over our good fortune to be there.

Tea lights, lightning bugs, and stars created an ambiance any five-star restaurant can only wish they possessed. I can proudly report that during the two days, I accomplished my goals of revising two chapters, tweaking the ending for one short story, and writing this blog. And I hope to return to The Porches again soon. Maybe I'll see YOU there!

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