Friday, September 07, 2007

Writers' Wings: The Maui Writers' Retreat and Conference

Like every Maui Writers' Retreat this one began local style. The kahuna, draped in a red sarong marked with black tattoo like design, opened the 2007 six day event. Around his neck was a necklace of green leaves, and he carried a bunch of bright green, feather-like ti leaves and a conch. Four times he stopped, and raised the mauvy-pink shell to his lips. Four times, the deep sound resonated around the Aulani Ballroom. This ritual continued with a traditional Hawaiian permission chant. He asked his ancestors to bless this gathering. In anticipation he thanked us all for the words we write that will nurture the future.

Anticipation. Frustration. Exasperation. Intensity. Perspiration. Inspiration. A week of growth and expansion followed, monitored and mentored by Dan Millman; Dan Millman and co. The 'co' refers to the other retreatants in the Non-Fiction; Mind, Body, Spirit track.

Together we went beyond the air conditioned Wailea Hotel conference room: we met archetypes recast with a real Guinevere and Lancelot in Path to Camelot; were introduced to a former nun's Blind Faith; opened letters with love from the mysterious Bea; explored simple practices to Make Room for Spirit; followed a couple's desperate search to salvage and transform their relationship; and empathised with the child from Mexico who felt invisible and alone in the 'Land of Opportunity'.

We worked way into the night. We turned re-worked pages in for copying before 7:30 each morning. We found out what distinguishes an amateur writer from a professional. We practised the craft of writing. We were given writers' wings. Where we fly with these wings, is up to us.

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