As I do every year about this time, I went this past weekend to a small writers retreat near Longbeach, Washington. “Retreat” is the right word for it, because it’s not one of those high-power writers conferences where you pack your day with classes and race to pitch your novel to as many agents/editors as you can corner. No, it’s a laid-back weekend with leisure to visit with old friends and new, to share stories of our writing adventures, and to stroll by the sea as much as you choose.
Jane Austen probably visited the sea many times, and some of her characters made the pilgrimage to the coast as well. Fanny Price went to Portsmouth:
…the balmy air, the sparkling sea, and your sweet looks and conversation were altogether in the most delicious harmony, and afforded sensations which are to raise ecstasy even in retrospect. (Mansfield Park, chapter 43)
And in Persuasion, Ann and Captain Wentworth go to the sea-side town of Lyme..
The party from Uppercross… soon found themselves on the sea-shore; and lingering only, as all must linger and gaze on a first return to the sea, who ever deserved to look on it at all… (chapter 11)
The sea was sparkling and the air surprisingly balmy for February, so I did indeed linger and gaze. It was a lovely, relaxed weekend. But lest you think I got no work done at all, let me share with you this fine composition, which, I am proud to inform you, won me second place in the prestigious limerick contest this year:
There once was a writer of prose,
Who held his cigar ‘tween his toes.
This left his hands free,
But the problem, you see,
Was the ash, which was hard to dispose.
Pure poetry, right? Okay, so it’s not exactly Keats. Let me try again. This time I’ll make my favorite author the subject.
There once was “a lady” named Jane,
Who surely had ink in one vein.
She was monstrous bright.
Then she started to write,
Limericks are highly addictive, as it turns out – and harmless if you keep it clean. Maybe you should try your hand at writing one.
PS – If you want to read a more serious sample of my writing – this time an excerpt from my upcoming release, Return to Longbourn – take a jaunt over to Austenprose for a sneak preview. There’s a book giveaway with it too!