The story of Assynt, the area in Scotland where the retreat was hosted, is a fascinating one. You can read more about that here.
The Assynt Foundation, who works with Top Left Corner, is doing some amazing things for the area. You can read more about that here.
The history of the Vestey family is equally enthralling. You can read The Rise and Fall of the Vesty Family by Phillip Knightly (although I haven’t yet) or you can read more details here.
Lochinver and the surrounding area appears to be a mecca for creativity. There are artists for every discipline. Actually I don’t think this is limited to Lochinver. In Ullapool we met artists in the local tea shop. It seemed I was surrounded by them. I wanted to be one of them. Must be something in the water.
I’m not entirely sure how much of my transformation was due to the majesty of the scenery, the comfortableness of the lodge, or the stillness of the silence. I do, however, fundamentally believe that a large part of what I learned, what I took away, what I am becoming were the people who joined me on this voyage. I could not imagine having made this journey and travelling as far as I have without the benefit of having them along for the ride.
Obviously I could spend hours in the land of the hypothetical. Would it have been the same with another 12 people? Are all writers supportive and giving? Is the world full of really lovely people just waiting to be friends? Is this a byproduct of the retreat itself and a happy outcome for every Top Left Corner retreat?
I like to think we were special. We were unique. Somehow all the planets aligned and lightening struck in the same place more times than I can count. We are all still in touch. Many of us are on facebook. Some of us are sending emails. Some are only just returning from their extended travels abroad. We are planning on meeting up again during the year and with a little luck and a fair wind many of us will manage to bring ourselves back to the lodge at Lochinver and see what we can else we can accomplish.
In the meantime, I write. I don’t manage my morning pages every page when real life invades but on those days I can feel I didn’t do them. I’m cranky and grumpy and less able to be calm. I’m not writing my blog every day as despite the alarm going off at 5 am I am still just as good at turning it off. This post is a day late. I haven’t written a word on the novel for about 7 days which I’m ashamed of.
But what and who I have taken away with me will last me a lifetime and help me fulfill some of my lifelong dreams. What more could I have asked for? Oh, I know.....everyone will buy my book when it gets published! LOL!!!!