Journey’s in Writerland

Today, I’m packing up my laptop, my running shoes and a whole bunch of really great food. I’m heading north, out of Tulsa and into the rural expanse of Oklahoma.I’m taking with me a huge stack of paper on which I printed out one of many book drafts. The pages tell a speckled story of my dietary habits over the course of writing: coffee, Coke Zero stains pock the paper and some crumbs hide in the edge of the binder in which I enclosed the imperfect manuscript.

At the end of this week, I will submit for review a meatier version of this little story, Run With Me. But not before I spend a week with one of my dearest friends, looking out over Grand Lake, tapping our fingers against keyboards, and indulging in two or our favorite pasttimes: talking and eating.

I can’t decide what thrills me more: that I’m going on a writer’s retreat with one of my favorite writers, who happens also to be one of my all-time favorite people, or that I will polish to a gleaming shine (she said hopefully) a book of my own words.

I met Kristin in 1990, when we shared a house with other students as part of a college ministry. We lived in different states, but managed to maintain a friendship for years, as we each married, as we had our first and then second daughters. We lost touch but were reunited through internet magic. (Isn’t that always the story?) Much about us had changed by then; or is it that who we always were had become more strident, more solid and more complete? I don’t know.

Kristin and I will approach the week with differing goals, expectations and even projects to work on. I imagine sitting at the glass-topped table on the sunporch, watching the anglers troll in the early stillness for the elusive fish. Taking breaks to run through the gravel trails and then springing into the lake off the dock to cool down. Standing in the kitchen preparing healthy, simple meals, cutting veggies and washing dishes. I like to think we’ll write quietly, talk passionately and stay up way too late, drinking her expertly crafted elixirs. I imagine it will be much like our time at the beach; we did our own thing, and then enjoyed a sort of daily debriefing while attending to basic acts of life.

Of course I don’t know what she’ll want to do, and I’ve resisted calling her to talk about it. She knows this about me. She knows I am filling a big bag of anticipation and I know that, as driven as we are to craft good work, we won’t waste time. Even if it looks like we’re just sitting on the deck, drinking coffee and talking.

When we were younger, email and texting did not exist, Kristin and I wrote weekly postcards to each other using skinny, colorful markers. Sometimes we hid messages in the text. Sometimes each word was a different color. For this week, I bought each of us a new box of markers, and instead of postcards, I bought sketchpads; my little gift to our creative efforts with a sentimental nod to the past. I expect we will practically ingest the quietude of the atmosphere, the sisterly speed talking and the work that comes from our time together.

I can’t wait to find out.

How have you reconnected with someone important to you?