|The Island and Jackee made us friends|
My writing muse has no sense of time while on Bulago. It wakes me up at 3.30 am. Don’t ask me what a muse looks like because I have no idea! That's why I haven't assigned it a specific gender, all I feel is this persistent nagging anxiety envelope me. Eventually I give up the tug of war between the thoughts in my mind and accept the fact that I won’t be drifting back to sleep for a while. My muse knows we have an important topic to deliberate. The early hours of the morning are the best times to think through such things. The generator is off so I use my trusted torch to light up the room. I decide to make my way to the toilet quietly so as not to disturb everyone’s sleep, but I somehow end up stepping on every single one of the creakiest of wooden boards along the way. So much for being quiet….
When I return to my bedroom, I grab a stash of Jackee’s literary magazines and place them next to me on the bed. Once I’m adjusted into a sitting position, I start to flip through each one, totally amazed at all the opportunities in the writing world.
On the boat ride to the island I had asked Jackee about the possibility of doing a masters in creative writing. I was wondering whether the experience would be worth it. Anything to do with harnessing inborn creativity fuels me with energy for life and work, but a masters in creative writing? Wouldn’t it be a big risk? Masters are a necessary extravagance these days. The wrong choice can be a painful setback yet the pressure on my generation to make the right career decisions is immense. We graduated right into a global depression and every news story at the time told us that we would inevitable end up earning much less than our parents. So why am I suddenly thinking about an MFA like some rich family member with a guaranteed inheritance?
I decide that this moment of placidity in the house is a good opportunity to get down on my knees and pray. I pray for guidance and clarity of vision.
Today we will have no classes and no assignments. It will just involve one to one sessions with Jackee and Crystal about anything we wish to discuss in regards to writing. I sent my story to them yesterday and I have no intentions of doing any work once the sun rises.
In fact here is my official To do List :
· I intend to finish my two books (I have carried them in my bag for two months. They need to make a permanent exit. Unless a book is intellectual it should be finished a month from purchase. )
· Frolic in the pool in my new bikini so that I can tick wearing a bikini off my bucket list.
· Take the proposed nature walk around the island.
· Enjoy not feeling guilty about focusing on myself.
· And of course eat all Alex’s delicious meals.
By 5.00 am I hear the pitter patter of rain begin outside making me drowsy. After excusing myself from my conversation with God, I sleep for another hour.
With breakfast done. Lynn (one of the participants) and I head to the beach. She brings her laptop. I bring my books. But we get distracted and end up turning our quiet time into a spontaneous photo shoot with Zahara. All the years of watching every single episode of America’s Next Top Model have finally paid off! Tehehehe. Look at that effortless jumping. Cover Girl *wink wink*
|yes that's Lynn jumping with me.|
My session with Jackee and Crystal starts a bit late. It’s clear my story needs a lot of work but their comments make a lot of sense. I am learning that one can only grow in their writing with the following three things.
· by reading good books
· and good feedback from mentors, friends, family and their target audience.
It’s rare to find people who will take the time to really read and critique your work so this retreat is an opportune moment. I noticed so many holes in my story through their conscious feedback.
Once we were done, I grabbed my To-Do list and started following it…..
Did I mention that dinner was a barbecue by the beach and presents from Jackee?
|Everything tasted as good as it looked in the picture.|
I wake up rested. Last year I mourned the fact that the experience was over so quickly, this time I am not. I am at peace because I made it back and enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. I pack my bags and make my Bulago bed for the last time this week, then I head for breakfast. There is time to stroll by the beach and have insightful conversations with some of participants about the last three days. It’s been magical.
Jackee says Seychelles next year. She had better furfill her promise because I can’t wait!
All photo credits go to Zahara Abdul/ Success Spark Brand Ltd
If you haven't already here is where you can read part 1
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