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Smoky Cape Writing Retreat

February 8, 2009

This time last week I was giving a Writing Sex Scenes workshop at the Smoky Cape Lighthouse. (I’ve been chastised for spelling Smoky wrong in the newsletter and last blog post).


Writers get into the "Pass the Sex Scene" exercise

This Sunday I have spent cocooned at home restoring my prodigal laptop to its pre-apocalyptic state, bookkeeping for my father’s business and consoling my favourite teenager (FT) who is in a state of heartbreak.

The two actually link together – the piece of writing I read at the workshop was about my first lover – the reading didn’t get to the point of heartbreak but I still clearly recall the emotional devastation when we broke up. I can only speak to FT with the wisdom of hindsight, but we all have to experience heartbreak in our own way.  What has made it worse for FT is that the guy was her best friend. And normally, after a heartbreak, your best friend is the one that you turn to. But when it’s the best friend that has caused you all the pain, where do you go?

Anyway, back to the Writers’ Retreat.

What a fabulous three days with a great bunch of women!

Perhaps the Writing Sex workshop set the tone for the rest of the weekend but we wrote, we laughed, we feasted, we drank and we truly bonded. And we decided that the next NVWG anthology will be Erotica!

Here are some pics:


A bonded bunch of NVWG women - looking forward to the next retreat

The view from Smoky Cape Lighthouse

The view from Smoky Cape Lighthouse

Seriously – with views like this, who would ever want to go home?  And we had stunning (and hot) weather for the whole retreat, though a bit of rain in the early hours of the morning when Jen and I were still awake, chatting.

Lisa and Nancy preparing the Exotica feast

Lisa was our Head Chef for the first evening, preparing an Exotica Feast of Middle East origin, assisted by Nancy. Of course an Exotica Feast requires an exotica dress, and there’s nothing more exotic I figure than bat wings (at least in my wardrobe). Any excuse to bring out the wings I say!


Nothing more exotic than bat wings with purple glitter

The evening was glorious, and the late setting sun basked us in beautiful light, adding a lovely aspect to our photos and to the alcohol consumed.

Basked in light

Basked in light


It was too hot for Jen to wear her PVC outfit


Elizabeth in her gorgeous exotic dress pays homage to the nightsky


Roby gives a workshop on Getting into your character's head



On Monday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours hiding out in my room writing, knowing I had to keep my head in the story of Reality Check. I wrote over 2000 words for Reality Check on my Alphasmart but also found that the 4 line view made it difficult when I took a break.  I had to backtrack and do some swift editing when I realised I’d gone from a sex scene to washing up back to the sex scene. Maggie thought it had some interesting possibilities which she then demonstrated! But I didn’t have my camera out for that one.

By the time I got to dinner, everyone was several glasses of wine ahead of me and I wasn’t about to try and catch up.


Much alcohol has already been consumed by the time the food is served

Monday night we had readings in the lounge, followed by collage everywhere, except for the pikers who went to bed early.

collage poetry

collage poetry

Jen and I collaged until midnight despite Sue’s protests. (We always have conflict between the morning people and the night people, and I am definitely a night person) Sue told us that we had to move the collage to the lounge room and that it was 3 against 2, but as the two others she claimed as voting were already asleep, we refused to budge. Besides the words were everywhere! I caught up on my collage poetry pledge with seven new ‘collage poems’ in one night.

Maggie instructing us in how to write Erotica

Maggie instructing us in how to write Erotica

Maggie’s Erotica workshop was quite different to mine, and she gave us several exercises including one where we were given a location, a sound and a sensation and had to write an erotic scene from that.  I might post mine some time, after a bit more editing.

Time to go home

Time to go home

Tuesday morning came around way too soon and none of us wanted to go home. It would be a fantastic place to live. Bringing the groceries up the hill would be an exertion but walking up those steps every day and up to the lighthouse, I would certainly get fit.

But most of all, none of us wanted to leave the great company, the focus on being creative and the new camaraderie we shared.  I’m not sure if the next retreat has been booked, but I’m going to be bringing it up at the next NVWG meeting.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2009 7:36 pm

    I so glad you had a great time at your workshop. I have to say I’m surprised you got any writing done with that view.

  2. February 8, 2009 7:51 pm

    That view is just glorious. Daydreaming material. And BTW – love the bat wings. 🙂

  3. February 9, 2009 3:58 am

    Sounds like a wonderful experience. I hope the inspirations stays with you for a long time.

  4. February 9, 2009 5:20 am

    Sorry, my S’s got away from me. 🙂

  5. February 10, 2009 7:58 pm

    Wow, I’d love to do something like that – maybe later on this year….. I’ll admit too that I’ve kind of avoided going into fiction writing *because* of the likelihood of having to write about a sex scene or two.

    …I may like to live it out myself but the thought of writing about it – help!!

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