Writer in the attic or writers en masse? Whichever is your personal preference for writing, Marilyn Smith is able and willing to put you in your place…your Writeful Place, to be exact.
After over twenty years in hospitality, and a passion for books that is firmly grounded in hard-earned qualifications, Marilyn has decided that her role in life is to provide welcoming and inspiring surroundings for budding writers.
Marilyn found time in her busy schedule to join Gwen Jenner, Liz Garnett and myself on the Girls Do Coffee show on www.ex-patradio.com yesterday to share with us her motivation for setting up the writers’ retreats that go under the name of Your Writeful Place.
It’s clear that the choice of environment is key as far as Marilyn is concerned and she has certainly not let down her followers thus far….an Alpine chalet close to Chamonix, a rural retreat near the Cumbrian Lakes…it’s all a long way from the starving writer in some freezing garret trying to warm the ink in his pen!
Marilyn calls herself a facilitator but her warm character and her sensitivity regarding the varying needs of writers places her way beyond that. She recognizes that writers (strange breed that we are) can seek out fellow-feeling and the need to be part of a group but that we may also crave a private space where we can allow our creativity to develop. In finding the right surroundings, she likes to check that there are not only meeting spaces but a variety of ‘nooks and crannies’ to permit this to happen.
The Cumbrian retreat is planned for 24th to 26th June this year and details can be found on Marilyn’s website, www.yourwritefulplace.com Marilyn is already planning another retreat for September and is scanning the Normandy area for a property that matches her exacting demands, so if France beckons, watch the website for further details.
No excuses for writers at home though as Marilyn has organised a short story competition which ends on the 31st May, so take a look at the website and have pens or keyboards at the ready.
Liz, Gwen and I, and Ex-Pat Radio director Dave Hailwood, were very happy to welcome Marilyn onto the Girls Do Coffee show. She has a great sense of fun and clearly loves to share stories, her own or those of others. What comes across most strongly is her respect for the writers’ craft and her desire to create the ideal environment where, if everything is in its rightful place, a little writing magic can begin.
Deborah Alexander – www.reflective-writing-group.org