write: doe bay.

first of all, a belated hello, how are you? coming at you from me. i know it’s been awhile since i’ve posted here – well, since we have posted here (this is Jord’s blog, too!) – and that’s for many, many reasons, most of which are uninteresting. however, i’m here today to tell you all about my experience at write: doe bay in april.

in short: it was transformative for sure, but i’m still unsure of the hows and whys surrounding said transformation. in fact, i’ve been avoiding writing this post since i returned home, precisely because i don’t think that i can do the experience justice. it was hard, y’all, in so many ways, but i would say that i’m glad, overall, that i went.

Write-Doe-Bay-Group

the long version, composed in a list, because i could go on forever:

  1. it is quite the trek to get to doe bay. in other words: you gotta be committed. i flew from our small little regional airport to Denver, and then caught another plane to Seattle. then, my lovely and kind fellow doe bay goers picked me up at the airport, and we traveled another 2-ish hours to the ferry terminal at Anacortes, which was headed to Orcas Island. the ferry ride took another 1.5 hours, and then we took a taxi for 40 minutes to get to the doe bay resort. y’all, by the time we arrived at the resort, i had been traveling for like 15 hours straight, counting the time change. in short, when thinking about the time i spent traveling and the motion sickness that i was (unfortunately) battling throughout the day’s travels, it was INSANE. i passed out almost immediately upon arriving in my room and didn’t stir for three straight hours. it was heavenly.
  2. the people at write: doe bay made the trek worthwhile. i met such wonderfully kind, genuine people with stories to tell and compassionate listening ears, ready to hear mine.
  3. the ferry + the Sound + other scenery = love. it was just beautiful. Orcas Island may have felt like the end of the earth in terms of how long it took to get there, but once i was there, i felt my shoulders relax as i breathed in the air of the water and the nature. i’m more of a city girl, so this experience certainly pulled me out of my element (and i wouldn’t say that we were cozied up in luxurious accommodations, but it got the job done). but: a little cabin that’s surrounded by natural beauty wasn’t a bad place to call home for a few days.
  4. a minor detail, but it must be mentioned: the food at write: doe bay was unbelievable. so, so delicious. i didn’t eat everything (yay travel sickness), but what i did eat was AMAZING. i tried halibut for the first time, and it was dreamy. there was endless oatmeal in the morning (made in a crock pot!), which is my happy place, and salads, fresh fruit and veggies…it was just insanely delicious.

Sara-Write-Doe-Bay

and now, my take-aways from the event:

  1. oh, the stories. if write: doe bay taught me anything, it’s that the world hasn’t even begun to hear all of the stories that need to be told. while i remain unsure as to what my story is, and how to tell it, i met some amazing men and women who’ve just got it. it was inspiring and overwhelming and emotionally draining and enlightening and energizing all at the same time. also, a related note: musicians = master storytellers. {check out Daniel Blue here – he led part of our workshop and performed for us, and he’s insanely kind and so, so cool}
  2. bravery feels good. i shared my words with others, and they responded so kindly. i’ll never forget Nici’s hand squeezing my foot as i tearily shared a piece i’d written on motherhood, a raw and just-composed piece that honestly articulated my feelings about my life, my circumstances, my blessings and my fears. i’ll never forget the reassurance of nearly everyone in the room, as they validated my fears and then worked to wipe them away. it was a beautiful moment that i still feel undeserving of.
  3. so does telling people what their words do to you/for you. i met three authors/bloggers who have so touched me and have meaningfully shaped the way that i mother, and i felt (and continue to feel) indebted to them and like i can’t offer anything of value or substance to them as thanks or payback for what they’ve given me. i tried, though – i tried to tell these individuals just how their words have changed me. but, just in case – to Kelle, Claire and Nici – thank you.
  4. this blogging thing is complicated, and i think that my relationship with it has changed. before attending write: doe bay, i so admired the writing, the words, and the following that Kelle, Claire and Nici amassed as they publish post after post. now, looking back on write: doe bay, i’ve learned that what started as a personal blog for Kelle became so much more of that after she published Nella’s birth story. in short, i learned that Kelle’s blog is, in essence, her brand, and that there are beauties and frustrations associated with that, and that these beauties and frustrations must be weighed in equal measure. in short, i learned that sometimes, some days, blogging as a business, as a job, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but that on other days, at other times – it can truly be exactly what it’s thought to be: a beautiful portrait of life at a given moment. and for me, while i used to think how cool it would be to have my blog go *viral* – i don’t want that to happen…like, at all. so, to keep blogging? i love the snippets of life that this blog shares, so my gut says yes…but forever? i couldn’t tell you. complicated, huh?
  5. i’m no good at traveling alone. as someone who hates enclosed spaces and has always demanded the front seat when traveling by car so as to prevent needless vomiting, i had zero comforts on this trip without my husband’s hand to hold or my son’s giggles and demands distracting me. in short, i shouldn’t travel alone – i need someone with me to tell me that it’s going to be okay, that this motion sickness, too, shall pass. but, what’s really blowing my mind, even now, as i look back on almost a month away from this experience, is that my fellow travelers really did fill that void for me. they were so kind, so accommodating, so understanding. and their hugs didn’t hurt, either. so, to all of you doe bay’ers, from attendees to staff – thank you. thanks for taking this girl under your wing and giving her a good hug, a glass of water, a vomit bag, a never-ending supply of fruit to smell, and a wealth of advice.
  6. i really missed my kiddo. well, i missed my husband, too, but for this being the first time that i’ve been away from L for more than one night at a time, i really missed him. i missed his giggles and his cries and his cuddles and his incessant demands to “watch Elmo.” i missed the way his almost-two-year-old body folds so closely into mine when we snuggle. i missed his soft snores, his mile-a-minute words, his requests to read book after book after (annoying, repetitive, who-would-write-this) book. and when he tackled me in the airport, i nearly collapsed into tears as i held him in my arms and kissed his cheeks, his neck, his forehead. it will be quite some time before i leave this kid again, i know it – this time away changed me for sure.

to see pictures of the unbelievable event, click here; all pictures (including the ones above) are by the incomparable jesse michener.

have you ever done something – gone somewhere, said something, wished for something – that was so unlike you, but that changed you? do tell.

About Sara

sara considers herself young, except when she thinks about how many more children she wants to have {two or three more, for a total of three or four}. she works in education, but she'd be most proud to tell you that she is diligently working on simplifying her life in 2014, thanks to Emily Ley's #simplifiedplanner and Lara Casey's #powersheets. she loves watching guilty pleasure television {holla, Bachelor/Bachelorette fans!}, writing, planning out decor for her first home, and chasing L around, trying to keep him out of trouble.
  • http://lifeandloveactually.blogspot.com/ valery

    (I am way behind on reading ;)
    I love LOVE that you attended even with all that travel and sickness! It (a writing retreat in a picturesque setting with idols!) sounds divine. I can’t imagine what the travel would be like from the East Coast.
    I completellyyyyyy get your second #4… like, word for word :) I struggle so badly with blogging, especially since I’ve been so erratic at it lately. I realllyyy want to be able to keep it up for documenting childhood(s) but I have been looking at other ways too (apps, mostly) that would give me the same outlet. But 75% of it for me has been the connection I have with people I have met through it (like you!) Would I still get that simply through Twitter/IG? Sigh.
    Thanks for sharing your experience!!
    xo