REVIEWS!

Here’s a couple of reviews by participants in our March 2018 retreat.

mermaids swimming

VAHIDA BERBEROVIC

I attended the relax and write retreat, organised and facilitated by writers Edwina Shaw and Helena Pastor, at Camp Koinonia from 16-19 March 2018. The retreat was organised, as the title suggests, around relaxation sessions in the early mornings, followed by writing workshops in the morning and in the afternoon. There was also time for a swim each day. Edwina has practised yoga for 25 years, and it shows. She was able to get the best out of all of us, and even a novice and highly cynical uptight person like myself managed to relax and let go. Helena’s workshops focussed on getting into the writing groove, and keeping at it, writing dialogue and pitching, while Edwina workshopped character development and structure with us. Both Edwina and Helena showed knowledge and experience of the writing process, as well as the publishing world, but were also understanding and sensitive of our individual needs. Helena was kind enough to give feedback to each one of us on ten pages of our writing. The evenings included a delicious meal and wonderful company.

I very much enjoyed all aspects of the retreat – the relaxation, the socialising, the writing workshops, the food. While the accommodation was quite basic, it was not an impediment to our writing, exchanging ideas, experiences and advice. It pales into insignificance when one considers the benefits. The main benefit for me was being in the company of other writers like myself who work mostly in isolation and whose voices of self-doubt often drown out any other voices we might have. I feel refreshed after the long weekend, filled with new energy to approach my writing project and view it from a new perspective. The retreat has definitely enriched me as a writer and as a person (I can’t believe that a socially anxious person like myself spent most of the stay with everyone else), and I look forward to next year.

banksia

CAROLYN NUTTALL

‘Evans above! Who would have thought so much wellness and so much writing could be achieved in a few days?

Go to ‘Relax and Write’ a short retreat run by two gifted teachers Edwina Shaw and Helena Pastor.

Over 3-4 days, they get you in their sights and recharge you with excellent teaching, yoga, relaxation, good food and time to swim and rest.

Their choice of site, part of effective planning, was inspiring. The  beach at Evans Head was magnificent and the weather was perfect.

I am reminded of one of the writing sessions.- pitching to an audience, I hope Edwina that I have pitched this endorsement well.

Book for the next retreat if you want to recharge and renew your spirit. These women will not disappoint you.

Carolyn Nuttall

Thank you dear Vahida and Carolyn. It’s the women who come along that make these retreats so special. Missing everyone already! xxx

 

 

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MERMAIDS

Waterhouse, John William, 1849-1917; A Mermaid

A Poem inspired by Relax and Write 2 by our lovely Nina Woodrow

in coloured glass chinks
the light gets in
through the cracks in everything small windows
gently open to show new glimpses
of old struggle and pain, courage and love
tinted by time
and the big fish swims by
in coloured glass chinks
the archetypes stand
and fall like neptune’s metropolis under the sea
death and grief making way
for brand new beginnings a city
decayed and reclaimed
and the big fish swims by
in coloured glass chinks
monuments are spoken
remembered, retold in spite of the tremor myths
way too big to swallow whole
are refracted with squinted eyes and
some kind of magic
and the big fish swims by
the mermaids
they have a way with big fish
and ruins under the sea
they sing them to sleep
with siren songs they plait their hair
and rearrange
the shells on their shore
till something new
is formed every time it seems
that this gentle light cant possibly
be enough but spells are cast
in moments
in single words
in hearts warmed with rose oil
and seaweed
and the tears
that finally find their season
and make their way
from the mountain
to the sea

NINA WOODROW March 2018

MERMAIDS AND SCRIBES TOGETHER AGAIN!

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Just back from RELAX AND WRITE RETREAT 2! And what a wonderful time we had. The photograph above was taken at our picnic at Dirawong Reserve a short drive from Mermaid base camp (as we now fondly refer to Camp Koinonia). It’s all part of beautiful Evans Head, a special place for the Bandjalang Nation who we thank and acknowledge as the original people of this beautiful part of the world.

camp 2 koinonia cabins

We had perfect weather for our three nights and big days of  writing workshops and yoga to refresh the spirit and body and inspire new stories. Again we had a wonderful warm group of women, some returning for a second dose of retreat bliss, and several new friends. One of the highlights for Helena and I as facilitators was watching how easily everyone bonded, supported each other and readily shared their stories. We had a great time!

yoga camp 2 downward dog

We had women ranging in age from 28 to 70, experienced writers with several books under their belts –  to newbies making their first attempts. We listened and learned from each other, laughed and swam, and feasted and sang. We held our first ever open mic night and unearthed some wonderful talents. It was lovely to have some music as part of the retreat this time.

candles-camp-2-close-up.jpg

Our next retreat is tentatively booked for the 31st August to 3rd September 2018 – so make sure to put your hand up if you’d like to secure a spot. Drop us a line through the contact page.

I’ll finish with some feedback from one of our lovely participants:

Thank you for these three beautiful days. They have re-invigorated me as a writer, and as a human being.” Vahida Berberovic 19/03/2018

You can’t ask for better than that 🙂

For more reviews see here

cloud rainbow

More photos!

Our beach 🙂

koinonia beach camp 2

Our cabins.

cabin shotour hall camp 2 chapeltime for a swim!

mermaids swimming

misty mornings

mist through trees caMP 2

sunrise with person camp 2

Come along and join the fun!

Lots of love,

Edwina and Helena xx