Fearless Imagination

I have just set down my second cup of coffee. It sits next to various sticky jars of jams, honey, and peanut butter. Sliced meats, cheeses, mayo, bread, and butter scatter the counter top.  It’s an early cold October morning and I am making four different sandwiches in my pajamas for four very deliciously different kids. Rain gently taps the kitchen window. The house is still and quite.

When you give a mom silence…she dreams, she thinks, she prays, she dreams some more, she is grateful as she slowly spreads raspberry jam over a slice of fresh wheat bread. She is not just slapping together sandwiches like she would normally do on a manic Monday morning when the chickens are up and pecking her to death without her first or second cup of coffee. Since a warm September week spent in Tuscany, she is still in Tuscany and she smiles. No, she grins from ear to ear.

Before I even packed my bags for this writer’s retreat in Tuscany I answered this question in an email.

What do you hope to gain from this retreat?

“Wisdom in writing with a touch of courage. Just the simplicity and sound of writing retreat in Tuscany has me dancing in my pajamas. It’s been such a long time since I have stepped foot in a classroom to teach or been in a classroom to learn. I am very much of a distracted mama and deep down I am insecure in the writing department and therefore am completely open.”

I never imagined coming home from a writer’s retreat with my right brain going absolutely insanely crazy inside with ideas. In the beginning, I was naturally intimidated being surrounded by a group of creative geniuses. That is not an exaggeration. These women were creative writing geniuses. After we were given our first writing prompt, here is a little bit of what I wrote a day later, but dared not shared.

“I am still a bit unsure and exactly why I said yes to a writing retreat, but I am here and present. Physically, but not quite yet mentally. Yesterday, I was still in Holland. My mind was racing with thoughts of the undone. A load of laundry left in the dryer, back to school papers waiting patiently to be translated from Dutch and filled out, phone calls to make in organizing our family travels here in Europe. When asked to write about where I am from, my page was filled with random phrases that I couldn’t fully get into the idea of where I was from. My mind still racing with the little things of my day to day that I couldn’t quite leave behind. After prayer, yoga, and much needed coffee, the Tuscan morning sun woke me to think about where I am from. I begin with this. Where bluebonnets bloom in the spring, where cows cozy up in the shade of mesquite trees in the heat of summer, where sunsets paint the evening sky, where storms are spotted from miles away. I was born and raised in a west Texas town, San Angelo…”

I had lost why I did say yes and fear nearly gobbled me up whole. My husband messaged me a video of the kids saying goodnight in their pajamas. Tears filled my eyes. Just being me was tough.

Wine, pasta, laughter, and sunshine cured me quickly.

With each writing prompt given, I finally told my small left brain to stop and be still and not speak because my big right brain had much to say.

My husband later messages me again and asks how I was doing. I replied, “I can’t decide if I should read a book, go for a swim, take a walk, or nap.” I finally relaxed and found me. I began to write and share some of my writing. The positive energy of these beautiful souls could move mountains. They helped me move my mountain of fear in a big, bold, and beautiful way.

I gained much more than wisdom in writing with a touch of courage. I left Tuscany with a new pair of leather boots, my mind filled to the brim with ideas, photos, and a fearless imagination.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Regina for being the best friend that you are and encouraging me along every step of the way. Thank you Dulcie, Nikki, and Wide Open Writing for hosting a most beautiful and memorable retreat I will forever keep close to me. Thank you Tisha, Pam, Nicole, Alissa, Kalin, Clare, Christin, Nancy, JoAnn, Dani, Jolly, and Robin for being the captivating, clever, funny,  brave, bold, and courageous writers that you are. Write on because I’m reading.

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  1. Holy mother of pearl I am so lucky to have YOU, my gentle-spirited, gifted, talented, glorious haired goddess of a friend! Where would we be without each other? Since eight grade and still going and growing strong despite dips and turns, weddings, divorce, continents, oceans and languages. You are my Jess, a treasure I hold so tightly and dearly. xo

    • Holy Mother of Pearl…I love it! Where would we be is right. What is funny is that I think I made 12 edits since I sent the link and you loved anyways! Thank you! Love you too! xoxo

  2. Elizabeth Simmons says:

    Love everything about this! Keep writing, Jess and soak up those beautiful views for me.

    • Thank you Elizabeth! Oh, how I miss you and College Station, Texas! Absolutely, soaking up some views for you. In the meantime soak up some sun for me.

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