Writers Weekend at the Beach

the path to the ocean
the path to the ocean

My first visit to the Pacific coast of Washington State took me to Ocean Park and the Writers Weekend at the Beach as a guest speaker. Lovely, welcoming folk; surprise sunshine; talented, enthusiastic writers: what more could a visitor from North Carolina want? Such fun talking about the cadence of voice, both the voice that is uniquely ours and the voice of our story reflected in the mood of the piece and the point-of-view characters. Reading aloud from various voices and listening as others read their samples, laughing, kicking up our heels: I feasted.

I wish you could have been there. But perhaps one day we can do this again, somewhere else. There’s a world of writers I’d love to meet.

See the wave?
See the wave?
Lovely ocean
Lovely ocean


into the sun
Path back to the center
Path back to the center


woods on the way
woods on the way


From the deck
From the deck


And then it was back to the Portland, Oregon, area, where Cheryl and Harrison Martin made me welcome. What a view they have down into the gorge! We ate like royalty, laughed, sipped a lovely red or two that Harrison offered, bit into See’s dark chocolate, toured Portland, and lunched on mussels and other goodies at Little Bird Bistro in Portland. Yum!

Monday night, I met with another group of enthusiastic writers from the Portland ACFW, who listened to me chat about writing for the general market, which is Wayside’s specialty. I’m ready to return to that neck of the woods anytime. Thank you all for inviting me!

My hosts in the Portland area:

Cheryl and Harrison in their backyard. Gorgeous.
Cheryl and Harrison in their backyard. Gorgeous view of the river.

What’s your favorite retreat site? Do you have a small conference where attendees become family and look forward to returning year after year? That’s what those Writers Weekend folk do.

Maybe we should start such a gathering at a North Carolina beach, a writers retreat where we’d gather and learn and walk along our East Coast beaches. Your thoughts?






24 Replies to “Writers Weekend at the Beach”

  1. It would, Denise. Do you remember Molly Swoboda, our dear WU friend who died last month? She was planning to put together a conference somewhere here, at our Atlantic Beach. I’d love that. Folk go to the mountains and all the big cities, but we’ve miles of beaches and lovely vistas right nearby. Perhaps in honor of Molly, we ought to do that.

  2. Gorgeous pictures, Normandie! I was enjoying the beautiful coastal scenes and then saw my face staring back at me–LOL! So glad to have you come stay with us–hope we can get together again sometime! Aloha! –Cheryl

    1. Thanks, Linda. Can you believe how kind the weather was to us? As I drove up from Portland, the sky changed from grey to blue as if to show off just for me. John Pelkey, who invited me to speak to the group, did say that it’s always lovely for the Writers Weekend, but the forecast said clouds. Glad it was wrong.

  3. Miss those Washington beaches, Normandy. Even though I only live a few hours away, I don’t even make it to our Oregon beaches anymore. My husband and I spent hours on the Washington coast, clamming, walking, cuddled up to a pit fire. You ignited lovely memories, and I bless you for that.

    1. I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you at this beach, Dianne, but at least you found some pleasure in the pictures. I teared when I first saw the Pacific again because of my own memories of sailing south from SF Bay to Mexico and then the wonderful years living on board Sea Venture in the Sea of Cortez. It made me nostalgic, wishing I could sail there once again…

      Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts.

  4. Normandie,
    We had such a good time getting to know you and interacting you on this side of our great continent.
    Thanks again for coming!

  5. It sounds like you had a thoroughly good time Normandie despite being on dry land ( mainly dry). I’m glad. It must be fantastic for writers to get together like this and share their knowledge and experience with newbies and even experienced writers. I hope you manage to get your Atlantic Coast one organised.
    The photographs are great as usual but it certainly looked like wrapping up warm weather.
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    1. It was truly fun, David. I think for me the most fun in presenting to a group comes from having to think things through and allow what I know to surface and sometimes to surprise me! Perhaps someday a Welsh group will invite me over.

      I’m following the bits with you and Julia–and continuing our prayers for both.

    1. Well, I flew across the country for this last…you don’t think you could tackle an ocean? Or you have the conference and invite me. I love to travel. (No, not the process, only the being there. I did have to fly into Portland a day and a half early to acclimate my body to the time change. I imagined myself beginning to speak after my normal bedtime and shuddered.)

  6. Hi Normandie!
    Your pictures brought back memories of home. We left Washington Nov. 1st and have been enjoying this grand tour of the U.S. ever since. In Florida now and have finally been able to see the sun set in the “right” place…over the water! We will be heading north (from Jacksonville) in early April. We’d love to get together with you & Michael for a visit.
    Sandy & Chris
    S/V Faith
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