RELAX AND WRITE IN PARADISE JUNE 2021!

Put yourself in this picture! Escape the winter blues and join me and other like-minded women writers on beautiful Magnetic Island, off the coast from Townsville in North Queensland.

As the world continues to roll with the punches of Covid-19 (who else is feeling a little bruised?), there are still places of retreat and recovery where creativity is valued and time slows down to let you settle deeply into your writing, and yourself.

Come along and join the fun at RELAX AND WRITE IN PARADISE June 25 – 27 2021.

At Amaroo on Mandalay! Yes, a resort! No bunk beds here, but studio apartments with their own kitchenettes and bathrooms, singles, or bigger rooms for those who bring along a writing buddy.

Is your creative spirit crying out from some TLC? It’s been a crazy year, take some time out to cherish yourself and refill your tank.

Join a wonderful supportive group of women in a fun and safe environment discovering just how much some deep relaxation can ignite your imagination and get you writing again. Relax and unwind with gentle morning yoga sessions and get writing with innovative workshops that use yoga, and drama techniques to help move those stories out of your head and onto the page. 

The program includes two yoga sessions, dance night and four creative writing workshops. Whether you’re writing memoir, fiction or screenplays, these sessions cover the basics of character, dialogue and story development, as well as advice on editing and submitting your work. Two nights comfortable, airconditioned accommodation plus delicious vegetarian breakfasts and dinners are all included in the cost.

PRICES START at only $550 twin share!

Come along and join the fun, make new writing buddies and renew your love of writing. Contact me for more info and bookings.

HURRY! Repeat retreaters – or mermaids as they’re better known – have already snapped up a lot of spaces. Places are limited to a maximum of 15, so you get plenty of attention for your projects.

Don’t miss out on this luxury retreat at bargain prices. Contact me now to secure your place!

I am so looking forward to getting up to Magnetic Island and relaxing after the craziness of the last year and a bit. YAY! Not long now. 

Early bird prices end tomorrow! DON’T DELAY! You can secure your place with a deposit and pay the rest later. 

Hope you can make it 🙂

Lots of love

Edwina xx

FEEDBACK AND REVISION RETREAT IN SPRINGBROOK!

Planning to write up a storm for NANOWRIMO? Not sure what to do next?

RELAX AND WRITE RETREATS are thrilled to announce a special Feedback and Revision Retreat at SPRINGBROOK!

Nearby swimming hole!

Super boost your writing this December at this special retreat in Springbrook at the Theosophical Society’s Education and Retreat Centre.

Whether you’re aiming to get stuck into your writing, or if you have a manuscript almost done, this is the retreat for you!

3 pm FRIDAY 11 to 2 pm SUNDAY 13 December 2020

Dinner time feasting with fabulous folk!

Connect with like-minded women in a beautiful location, be inspired by practical and informative workshops, stretch and relax with yoga and release your inner-goddess dancing under the stars. 

This retreat is tailored for those who have a major project underway and who are looking for some feedback and advice on the redrafting process. Share your work with other writers at a similar stage and pay slightly more to receive individual editorial feedback on your writing and advice as to how best to move forward with your project.

Workshops focus on finding the heart of your story, structuring for success and publication pathways. 

Small groups ensure personal attention

Also joining us is fabulous masseuse, Janine Maegaard, to help ease those writing-induced aches and pains. Extra cost.

The program includes two yoga sessions, dance night and three creative writing workshops.

Two nights basic but comfortable accommodation plus all meals are included in the cost.

FROM ONLY $420 all inclusive, for a room of your own. 

COST for the weekend of writing, fun and feasting, including accommodation, all meals, 3 yoga sessions, 3 creative writing workshops and a dance night. Transport not included.

Single $450

OR Pay your $200 deposit before 31 October 2020 for EARLY BIRD  $420

Plus optional $50 extra for editorial feedback on your synopsis and first 10 pages from Edwina

Contact me first to ensure availability 🙂

Here’s the RETREAT PROGRAM.

 All activities are optional

FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER

ARRIVAL from 3 pm – get settled and get writing

5:30 pm – Meet and Greet  

6:30 –  DINNER

7:15 – 8:30 WORKSHOP 1– Finding the heart of your story. What is your story’s central quest/question?

SATURDAY 12 DECEMBER

7am – 8:30 –YOGA  

8:30 – BREAKFAST

10:30am – 1 pm – WORKSHOP 2 – Structuring for success. Scene lists, suspense and more

1 pm – LUNCH followed by FEEDBACK GROUPS OR INDIVIDUAL WRITING TIME

6:00 pm – Gentle stretches and deep relaxation 

Deeply relaxed!

6:30pm – DINNER

7:15– 8:30 pm – DANCING

SUNDAY 13 DECEMBER

7am – 8:30am –YOGA

8:30 – BREAKFAST

10:30 – 12:30 – WORKSHOP 3 –Publishing pathways, pitching and proposals, bios, your writing CV – collage

12:30 – LUNCH

2 pm DEPARTURES

All times not indicated are for supervised or solitary writing time and/or individual feedback sessions with Edwina or in your small groups, and/or exploring, massages and sleeping!

FEEDBACK DETAILS – email Edwina your first 10 pages plus your synopsis at least 2 weeks prior to retreat

Come along and join the fun, make new writing buddies and renew your love of writing and life. 

We always have a wonderful time!

Happy Retreaters 🙂

Contact me with any questions or if you’d like more info about this or other retreats. More retreats coming in 2021!

Lots of love

Edwina

The Magic of Magnetic Island

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Oh yes, it really is that beautiful! I arrived home last night from a wonderful extended stay on Magnetic Island, just off the coast from Townsville in North Queensland. Wish you could have been there too! Traditional home of the Wulgurukaba People and a true piece of paradise.

We had so much fun on retreat. A fabulous group of writers, from absolute beginners to those with books under their belts. Now freshly-minted mermaids!img_3710.jpg

It all started with drinks on the verandah with tame blue-winged kookaburras eating out of our hands. Those beaks were a bit scary!

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Champagne still in hand, workshops started and writing dreams began to take shape.

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Then dinner up at the Amaroo restaurant with all the gang : )

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Mornings were filled with yoga and dance with our resident dancing queen Lalita Lakshmi!

Then we got stuck into the business at hand – writing! With two writing workshops covering all the basics and focusing in on character development to shape plot we were plenty busy enough. We got lots of writing done and had masses of information to absorb, so we needed our princess naps in the afternoon.

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Some  retreaters took advantage of the extended break and explored the beautiful island and had a walk and a swim.

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Dinner on Saturday night was at Bikini Tree Restaurant where my friends Jen and Dan had prepared a delicious and plentiful Indian feast.

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Even though we were stuffed to the gills (as mermaids get very hungry!) we managed to rouse ourselves for my personal highlight of the retreat  — candle dancing on the beach! The photo is blurry but you get the general idea of the fun of it. Lalita led us all in a joyful and playful celebration of life. I’m definitely keeping Lalita and dancing as part of the retreats.

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Sunday and more yoga and dancing and deep relaxation, some goal setting and another favourite part of the retreats, collage! Some collages were fun, some surprising, and others full of wonderful wishes that I hope all come true.

After farewelling all the lovely retreaters, my friend Vahida and I stayed on at Magnetic for another week, working on our own projects. Then Vahida left too, and I worked on in paradise editing a book for a friend of mine who lives on the island. Took the manuscript to the beach and worked on the sand : ) Yes! It’s not a bad life.

So now I’m home and back in the saddle, ready for more.

Life Writing Workshop this weekend at the CYA Conference Everything is a Genre Day. For the weekend (or day) ticket you get as many fabulous workshops as you can handle.

The following weekend I’m presenting Building Your Career as a Writer, at the QLD Writers Centre. You can come along in person or particpate online as the session is streamed. I call this workshop – Many Fingers Many Pies, because it’s all about how to make money writing or doing things related to writing. We all have bills to pay, but it’s very nice to pay them by doing what we love.

And on Saturday 20 July I’m at Sunnybank Hill Library for a FREE WORKSHOP on the basics of creative writing. Would love to see you there. Come along and say hi : )

While I was away I also received feedback on my feature film screenplay from a Los Angeles script editor, so I’ll be busily redrafting over the next few months. Cross fingers it makes it to the big screen.

Coming soon is the launch of Bjelke Blues, a book of stories about life in Queensland under Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, that I’ve been collecting and editing for AndAlso Books. Super excited about that. It’s heading to the printers very soon. As soon as I have the cover I’ll be showing it off. Launch is booked for Friday August 23. More on that later,

Next retreat is set for November 8 – 10 at Burleigh Heads. I’m designing it as dual purpose.

A planning and writing retreat to super boost people doing NANOWRIMO.

And for those women with a finished manuscript (or almost finished) already done, a feedback and redrafting weekend, with personalised feedback from me on the first 10 pages and your synopsis and also feedback from a small group of your peers. That way you get to talk about the book you’re working on with people who understand just how much work you’ve done and how precious your project is.

If you’d like more information about the Burleigh Retreat, would like to secure your spot, or just sign up for newsletters to keep you up to date with the retreats or to receive my hints, tips and opportunities GET IN TOUCH.

Hope to see some of you soon at one of the workshops.

Happy Writing till then!

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Lots of love,

Edwina xx

 

YOGA AND WRITING -THE PERFECT PARTNERS

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WHY YOGA AND WRITING TOGETHER?

People often ask why I combine yoga and writing at my retreats.

Yoga and writing are my twin passions. Making me choose between them is akin to forcing a mother to choose between her children –Sophie’s Choice style. Both yoga and writing are part of my daily life and have been for a very long time. Together they have helped me to heal my past and continue to keep me joyfully sane. They also make my writing richer and deeper.

From early childhood I’ve loved writing stories and I’ve been keeping a journal since my teens. Like most people though, I had that innate creativity squashed out of me by formal schooling. But I kept writing my diaries even if, during my most alcohol and drug addicted days, it was simply a way to remember what I’d done the day before.

Yoga came into my life in my early twenties. While I was travelling in Cambodia, a friend gave me a sheet of paper with the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series printed on it and every morning taught a few of us the sequence. That’s now over 25 years ago and I still get up and do my practice almost every single day. Having taught yoga for many years, I know how difficult it is to get students to commit to a daily practice, so I can only thank my addictive personality for keeping me on the mat. Addiction tamed is discipline 🙂 Don’t worry the yoga we do on retreat is much gentler!

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The motto of Ashtanga yoga is “Do your practice and all is coming” and I know now that this works for writing and other creative arts as well. Do your practice, do it regularly, keep focused, and all indeed will come, even if goals such as publication often take longer than we would like. The discipline of a daily yoga practice helped me to develop the discipline of a daily writing practice. Regular practice is how things happen. As one of my other favourite quotes says, “Persistence is the key!”

TOGETHER YOGA AND WRITING HAVE MANY BENEFITS.

On the practical side – writing is a sedentary profession and being stuck in front of a screen for hours is not the best for our health. Combining your daily writing practice with daily exercise is essential for maintaining your vitality. You can only function at a high level intellectually and imaginatively if you’re in good health. Yoga stretches out spines that have been hunched over keyboards, straightens necks that have been craning forward looking at screens, and gets hearts that have been lulled into sloth sitting for too long, pumping freely again.

 

Best of all, yoga helps shift emotions that have been stuck in your body. The postures have been designed to cleanse the body, not just of tension, but of deeper traumas held in our cells. Yoga brings to the surface bottled up feelings and life stories, which you can then release through writing. Not only that, by getting in touch with your bodily sensations through yoga, you’re better able to evoke emotion by expressing the visceral sensations associated with those emotions when you write.

WRITING IS A MEDITATIVE PRACTICE

Writing on a regular basis is a meditative practice, especially when you write stories from your life. Most of us have stories from our pasts that replay over and over again in our minds. Getting them onto the page and creating stories, something beautiful from the pain, frees them from our minds and makes room for new thoughts and new ways of being. Yoga brings the stories to the light, writing them down gets them out of your head and onto the page so you don’t have to keep reliving/retelling/rethinking those same old patterns. Together yoga and writing are the perfect tools for helping you heal your life and create something worthwhile in the process.

All creative arts help us to express the great mystery of human experience. For me the easiest way is with words, for others its drawing or dance or sculpture. Whichever artform you prefer is the place to start.

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And of course, it’s not all just about healing our pasts, it’s about embracing the present as well. Yoga teaches us to live fully in the moment, to breathe deeply and relish each breath, to flow with life. When we’re fully immersed in writing a story or a poem or a screenplay we have moments where we are totally apart from ourselves, at one with the flow of our stories, the flow of creativity. Time doesn’t exist, thought doesn’t exist, we don’t exist – only the story.

That for me is pure joy.

So that’s why I combine yoga and writing on my retreats. Because the very best stories come from our hearts and that universal flow of creation we all share. The best way I know to tap into that flow is through yoga.

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Come along to a retreat and try the combination for yourself. See what stories your body is longing to tell. Rewrite your past and write yourself a bright and sparkling future.

How do you tap into that flow? Do you have any rituals that get you writing? I’d love to hear what works for you.

Lots of love
Edwina xx

YAHOO! YIPPEE! RELAX AND WRITE 3!

mermaids swimming

This Spring, forget the housework – SPRING CLEAN YOURSELF!!

Come and join our merry band of mermaids and scribes at the next Relax and Write Retreat from Friday 31st August until Monday 3rd September 2018 at beautiful Camp Koinonia by the sea at Evans Head Northern NSW.

Bookings are now open for Relax and Write 3 with early bird prices in effect until the 31st July. Places are filling fast so make sure you put your hand up soon by contacting Helena at helenapastor2@gmail.com for more info and a booking form.

The program includes a fun mix of yoga in the mornings,

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and informative and inspiring creative writing workshops throughout the day.

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With lots of time for relaxing, swimming, walking, meditating, chatting and little lie downs 🙂

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PROGRAM FOR RELAX AND WRITE 3

FRIDAY
Arrival from 2 p.m. Check-in
5:30 p.m. Welcome, drinks and nibbles, intro
6:30 p.m. Deep relaxation and introductory
writing exercises
7:30 p.m. Dinner

SATURDAY
7:30 – 9 am Gentle morning yoga and breathing
exercises with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 p.m. Writing Your Way into a Story – Helena
FREE TIME FOR LUNCH AND
BEACH ACTIVITIES
3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Using yoga and drama techniques for
developing your characters – Edwina
7pm Dinner
OPEN MIC NIGHT If you’re up to it, 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 – 12:30p.m. Structuring for Suspense – Edwina
EXCURSION TO CHINAMANS
BEACH FOR PICNIC LUNCH AND
FREEWRITING
4pm – 6 pm Writing Dialogue – Helena
7pm Dinner

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

COST

We’ve done our best to keep prices for the retreat reasonable – we know women often don’t have much cash to spend on themselves. We also know they really need some time out to nurture themselves and their writing.

$470 for single room in ensuite cabin
$430 for twin share in ensuite cabin

EARLY BIRD $440/$400 if booked and deposit of $150 received before 31st July 2018

The cost includes:
• 3 x yoga sessions
• 6 x writing workshops.
• 3 x nights accommodation
• 3 x healthy vegetarian dinners

If you have any ideas for workshops you ‘d like to see included, please let us know.

For more information and to book please contact Helena

We’d love to have you come along and join the fun. We always have a wonderful time 🙂

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Helena and Edwina

REVIEWS!

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

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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.

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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

 

 

ANNOUNCING RELAX AND WRITE MARCH 2018!!

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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
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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.”

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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.

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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