At the Weymouth House
Well, we are having a FANTASTIC and incredibly productive time here at the mansion! The only difficult thing is not being able to get online easily, since the old computer in the writers’ study is dial up, but we’re grateful to be able to check our email at all. I can’t upload the pictures I’ve been taking on this computer, though, so I’ll add them when I get home tomorrow afternoon.
There are five of us here: Margaret Maron, Brenda Witchger, Sarah Shaber, Katy Munger and myself. Alexandra Sokoloff was with us for the first few days, but she’s touring now. The Weymouth Center for the Arts, for those who don’t know, allows published North Carolina writers to stay here for free. I was here for a few days last fall, but I’d forgotten how conducive it is to working. There are NO distractions, especially since it’s too hot to do much walking through the gardens. No TV or radio and, as I mentioned, very limited Internet access. There are, however, spacious rooms filled with books of NC writers present and past.
Right above my desk in my charming bedroom is an inspirational poster (photo coming!) of the “NC Women of Letters.” I love looking at all the wonderful faces and knowing I share a love a writing with every one of them.
We quickly settled into a working rhythm, thanks to Sarah’s firm hand. Upon arrival the first afternoon, we gathered in the beautiful library (where the NC Writers’ Hall of Fame inductees watched us from the walls), and each of us announced our goals for the stay, as well as our goals for that afternoon. We repeat that process each day, meeting again at five to give a progress report. After checking in with our progress, we begin brainstorming. Whoever needs help describes the snag she’s encountered, and the ideas fly through the air, with one person madly taking notes to give to the writer-in-need.
Everyone has done very well, turning out pages galore. I probably won’t meet my final goal of having a complete rough synopsis of my next book, but I will have the central storyline sketched out, so I’m happy about that. Once home, I’ll add in the subplots.
Sunday afternoon, we took a break from our writing to speak to a super audience at the Southern Pines Library. Local thriller writer JD Rhoades showed up with his son, Nick, to give us moral support. The audience was mostly mystery readers, since my fellow authors write in that genre, but I hope they’ll give my books a try since most of them have mystery, suspense or intrigue in them in addition to a focus on relationships.
I can’t believe this is our last full day here. We leave tomorrow morning and then its back to reality. I hope I can take a little of the writing discipline I’ve found here home with me.
Wow! Chamberlain, Maron AND SHABER…I want to go.
Have a great time…
As I get ready to go into the college class–I am overwhelmed with your talent and those with you. I feel inept…
You just haven’t been discovered yet, Brenda! I do feel honored to be in the same company as these talented women.
Diane, I imagine all those women were in awe of you! How inspiring that you were all there to help each other…I think it probably brought out the best in each of you.