School Time

Madeline Island School of the Arts

Photo from the Madeline Island School of the Arts

I’m spending next week on Madeline Island.  I’ll be staying in a pretty little cottage on a picturesque farm-like plot.  I expect to be surrounded by creative and talented people.  And I will be attending class.  A writing class – my first ever.

It’s been over three years now since I embarked on this writing thing.  Immediately after retiring, I launched this blog and submitted my first story for publication.  Now 459 blog posts later and with 17 stories to my credit in Lake Superior Magazine I seem to have quite a bit of momentum.  And yet, I know I have so much more to learn.

I found the class through the Lake Superior Writers, of which I am a member.  The title alone was alluring, as it included the two genres that suit me the best: “Inner Journeys: Mindful Travel Writing and Memoir.”  What clinched it was the instructor, Catherine Watson.  She was the main travel writer and photographer at the Star Tribune during the same time that I worked there.  Our paths crossed only long enough for me to purchase her book, Road Less Traveled, at an employee holiday craft sale.  But it was enough for me to enjoy her writing and remember her style all these years later.

It took quite a bit of courage for me to actually sign up.  The idea of opening myself up to the scrutiny of others is daunting.  It would be easier to stay the course and continue to write on my own.  But where would that get me? I convinced myself that it’s worth the risk to my personal psyche in order to grow and learn.

Also, I have yet to figure out where I really want to go with my writing.  I’m looking forward to finding out what paths other writers pursue, and what might be rewarding for me.  I’m fortunate in that it is only a retirement gig for me.  I’m not dependent on the income (which is a really good thing!) and I can be choosy about what writing I do.  And since I only write on a part-time basis, I want my efforts to be more focused.

So I’ve packed my bags soon and am heading to the Madeline Island School of the Arts.  I’m looking forward to meeting interesting people, being challenged, learning and absorbing as much as I can, and being inspired by the beautiful surroundings on Lake Superior.  Not a bad way to go back to school.

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