Last October, Lexi hosted our first Write & Play retreat in Prescott, Arizona. Nicknamed “Everybody’s Hometown,” “The Mile-High City,” and “Arizona’s Christmas City,” Prescott is known for its comfortable climate, natural beauty, tree-lined town square, clean air, and small-town charm. Surrounded by National Forests, Prescott’s hiking and biking opportunities are plentiful and close to town. Lodging and food costs are very reasonable.
Here’s what Andi, a poet from Massachusetts, had to say after her four-day Write & Play in Prescott retreat. Andi was working on essays and memoir.
Let’s start with location: Prescott, Arizona is the real deal – an old western cowboy town whose pioneer spirit and rustic nature (not to mention famous Christmas lights!) have attracted writers for decades. It’s steeped in western folklore: think Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. It’s the wild west in the 21st century, equal parts untamed and cultured. Which means that after you mosey past the old frontier saloon you can work on your latest draft over a locally-sourced, micro-roasted café latte. In a coffeehouse overlooking a body of water called Granite Creek. The main drag downtown is called Whiskey Row: seriously, what are you waiting for?
All the ambiance in the world though, doesn’t mean a lot on a writing retreat without a great guide (teacher, leader, etc.). Personally, I look for an insightful, intelligent writer who knows pretty much every one of my hesitations, fears, excuses, writerly joys and heartaches because she’s experienced them herself.
Wisdom is hard-won in the writing world: you know this. Do you want someone with credentials? Yes, ok, Melanie has those in spades. Many people do. What she offers that not many others do is this: keen insight, intuition, compassion, hard truths, empathy, new ways of seeing your work, and of opening possibilities. What this retreat offers is Melanie’s own brand of wisdom – and it works.
A Lexi retreat isn’t about lolling on a beach while your journal gets margarita stains, or strolling Italian vineyards with a hopeful pocket notebook (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). It’s not about hobnobbing, networking, or schmoozing. It’s about giving yourself a focused few days or week or however much time you crave where the focus is you & your writing. And about giving yourself a generous, talented guide.
These are the reasons you go, the reasons you read and sit still and listen. From afar, such a time can appear to be a luxury, especially in these tumultuous times, when the world can feel like it’s unraveling before our eyes, and there is so much work to do. And yet, you’re a writer. This is your work. It’s time to get started. –Andi Werblin
Andi Werblin is the author of two books of poems, Lullaby for One Fist (Wesleyan University Press) and Sunday with the Sound Turned Off (Lost Horse Press). She works as a freelance creative director in the Boston area. Orange is her favorite color.