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!

p

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

ANNOUNCING RELAX AND WRITE MARCH 2018!!

sunset evans head

YAY! Dates are now set for the next Relax and Write Retreat!

Friday March 16 – Monday 19th 2018

Feeling like you deserve a special treat?

This retreat may be just the ticket.

Three nights away in a beautiful beachside location with like-minded women, relaxing with gentle yoga and inspiring your inner writer with fun writing workshops.

It will still be lovely and warm in March so bring your swimmers and sunblock. We’ll be staying at the beautifully basic Camp Koinonia in Evans Head, Northern NSW
relax writers outside

So, whether you’re a writer in need of relaxation and a good stretch, or a yoga practitioner yearning to write, this is the retreat for you.

For more information and to book please contact Helena:
helenapastor2@gmail.com or
phone 0447 334 665 for further info.

Here’s what participants from the 2017 retreat had to say…

“Edwina and Helena have an easy style of putting people at ease and making each individual feel welcome and they were flexible in altering the program to meet the needs of the participants.”

“It was a great break away, affordable and I left feeling refreshed and with a significant amount of writing done.”

“I came away with a lot of information about entering into the field of professional writing as well as a wealth of ideas and starting points for fiction and memoir writing.”

relax and write yoga

Also announcing our MORE DASH THAN CASH positions. Would you love to do a retreat like this but don’t have the available funds right now? We know what that’s like (and we need some helpers!) so we’ve created a couple of sponsored positions.

Apply for one of our supported spots where for a few hours assistance with kitchen and other duties you can join us at a greatly reduced cost 🙂

Helena and Edwina Relax and write 2017

So, come along and join our merry band of scribes and mermaids. Relax, write and enjoy yourself in a beautiful coastal setting with experienced workshop facilitators and published authors Helena Pastor and Edwina Shaw – see their bios HERE.

Unwind with yoga and free your creative voice with lots of fun writing activities and workshops. All only a minute’s walk from a glorious beach surrounded by national park where you can swim, walk, laze in the sun or meditate to your heart’s content.

Pick up from Coolangatta or Ballina airports is available if you’re coming from afar.

PROGRAM

Friday
2 pm onwards – checking in
5:30 – meet and greet, drinks and nibbles
6:30 – Deep relaxation and introductory writing exercises
7:30 – Dinner

Saturday
7:30 – 9 am – Gentle morning yoga and breathing exercises with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 – Writing Your Way into a Story – Helena
FREE TIME FOR LUNCH AND BEACH ACTIVITIES
3:30 – 5:30 – Using yoga and drama techniques for developing your characters – Edwina
7pm – dinner
Open Mic Night. If you would like to, please bring along a song or other musical item, a poem, a short performance piece or whatever else you would like to share 

Sunday
7:30 – 9 am – Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 – Structuring for Suspense – Edwina
Excursion to Chinaman’s Beach for picnic lunch and freewriting
4pm – 6 pm – Writing Dialogue – Helena
7 pm – dinner

Monday
7:30 – 9 am – Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 – Pitching your work – from bios to synopses to grant applications – E and H
Feedback and farewells.

For more information and to book please contact Helena:
helenapastor2@gmail.com or
phone 0447 334 665 for further info.

Come along and join the fun. We’d love to have you with us.

Get in fast. Places are strictly limited to no more than 15.

Mermaids and Scribes

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It’s only a week since the first ever Relax and Write Retreat finished up in a flurry of collage and fortune telling and one last swim (it was cold!).

Helena and I couldn’t have been happier with how it all went. We feel super lucky that we had a such an incredible, talented, warm and lovely group of women there with us, willing to be our retreat guinea pigs. And we are thrilled that they all had such a wonderful time and came away feeling nurtured and inspired, ready to  forge ahead with their writing.

Our retreaters had a wide range of writing experience – from complete newbies to Sue who had three completed manuscripts under her belt and a number of development awards to boot. The same with yoga – three yoga teachers and some complete beginners. Luckily Helena and I both have experience with students with a variety of needs so we embraced the differences and everyone benefitted from each other’s experiences as well as our input.

relax writers outside

We learnt a few things ourselves – heaps actually! Mainly that we wildly over-catered. You don’t need to cook three whole bags of pasta for 12 women! Johnny provided us with excellent meals and we even had a few massages.

What was most important was the women themselves who all leapt in with both feet and gave everything a go. We felt like an awesome unstoppable team – all 12 of us.

We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone at our next retreat in March 2018, and meeting the new women who come to join our happy band of mermaids and scribes.

Nina Woodrow, one of our talented participants wrote this beautiful poem about the retreat.

the mermaids
thought that they were teachers and bikers and writers
and mothers
and comics and social workers
generally over competent humans
and of course they were all these things too
but really they were mermaids
and you could tell
by the way they started to glisten
when they got close to the sea
by the way they shed their sensible shoes
and by the way their hair lifted at the roots
and communed wilfully with the sea breezes
but most of all you could tell
by the way they collectively knew
straight away
without anything being said
that different rules applied at mermaid base camp
how time for instance
could suddenly collapse in on itself
crumble like a sand dune at high tide and that long forgotten
drowned troubles and truths
sunken sorrows
could be exposed this way
so the mermaids formed a chain
they made a silent pact
they weaved their arms around each other’s waists
and dived in

By Nina WOODROW

Thanks so much to all our retreaters for making our inaugural retreat such a success!

with lots of love, Edwina and Helena xx

Helena and Edwina Relax and write 2017