Last weekend, Andrea and I attended the Rainforest Writers Village at Lake Quinalt in western Washington state. It was our first trip together in more than two years, the first time either of us had been to the Pacific Northwest, and our first to the states since my return to Canada last year.
My hat goes off to Patrick Swenson, who puts heart and soul into making the retreat an awesome event. 30+ writers from across North America gathered in one place for a long weekend of writing, eating, and drinking. People compare managing writers to herding cats, and the observation isn’t far off from the truth. Andrea wrote a bunch of new words. I revised and plotted, finally completing and resubmitting a rewrite request of a story very dear to me.
I made it a few talks, including Mary Robinette Kowal’s on giving an effective reading (the second time I’ve seen it). It was Jennifer Brozek and Erin Evans‘ discussion of freelancing and multi-tasking that really tickled me, giving me some ideas on how I can manage my workload a bit more efficiently.
The environs around the retreat were spectacular. It rained every day while we were there, as you’d expect from a rainforest. Green moss covered tree limbs and roofs alike.
The Worlds Largest Spruce tree was, indeed, huge. The pictures don’t come close to showing just how epic it is.
We found the roaming herd of Elk on our first day I’d forgotten to bring my camera. We found them grazing in a pasture the next afternoon. Judging by how calm they were towards us, I suspect a lot of people stop to stare at them.
The waterfalls were brilliant. I wish I’d had my camera adjusted better to photograph them. As it was, the spray coated me and the lenses, making things a challenge.
We saw these odd structures built into the river some miles north of the retreat. Giant tree trunks hammered into the riverbed, and criss-crossed with more timber added to form what looked like a funeral pyre. It turns out that the local Indian tribe went to great lengths to build these as salmon breeding grounds a few years back. Judging by the bald eagles feeding nearby, I would say they were successful.
More photos can be found on Flickr.
After the retreat ended, we drove back to Portland. Along the way, we stopped for lunch and discovered that our flight that night was delayed and we were being offered a rebooking, which we hastily accepted. A day to explore Portland wasn’t nearly enough but we did visit Powell’s Books, which caused me to exclaim, “I need to quit my job so we can move here. Wait, scratch that. I need to apply for a job here and then move.” We managed to survive the dinner involving an invasion of a hundred or more 8-12 year old girls from a national dance troupe, and capped off our visit with a yummy lunch with Wendy.
The people we met in Portland were friendly and everyone we spoke to loved being there. It’s somewhere we could see ourselves living down the road a bit.