There's a wonderful new tradition in the Pacific Northwest, created and managed by the editor and owner of Fairwood Press. Patrick Swenson, as a teenager, used to work at this lovely rustic place on Lake Quinault, in the rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula. Three years ago he arranged with the Rainforest Village for some discounted rooms and more or less complete ownership of the bar and restaurant for a few days. This year, the third, the number of attending writers has swelled to nearly forty, beyond the actual capacity of the Rainforest Village, where writers gather to write, to have a few brief presentations about writing, and then to write some more.
I'm one of the "early birds", which means from 6:00 a.m. on the bar/restaurant area of the Rainforest Village is set aside for us to sit in relative quiet and work. The late-night writers will own this area until midnight or beyond, but I think they're missing out. As I sit here, I'm looking out over a lovely mist-shrouded lake, with the mountains dimly visible through the fog beyond it. One year it rained the entire weekend, and we watched the lake creep up toward the restaurant until it looked as if we might float away. The second year the sun shone intermittently. This is the first full day, so no weather report yet! I'm a Pacific Northwest girl, though, and no matter what the weather, I find this to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
And, of course, there's magic that happens when a group of writers gathers to write. The group mind is a wonderful thing. Nothing is allowed to intrude on us, for these few days. Due to popular demand, Patrick expanded the retreat to five days, and we're here now . . . ready to work. I've looked forward to this all year.