Will Travel For Words: Creative Goddess Weekend by Karen Chase
I went to Lynchburg, Virginia to a charming boutique hotel that was originally a shoe factory in search of inspiration. I went, not alone.
For about ten years I’ve designed websites with Christina, a web developer in North Carolina. I’ve also known and worked with Niki, a designer turned programmer in Southwest Virginia, and more recently worked with Leslie, a designer here in Richmond. I’d personally met them all, they’ve all done business together, but none of them had met in person before. With our careers intersecting, we picked the central location of Lynchburg, and gathered together for what we called a Creative Goddess Weekend.
It could have easily gone poorly. We are four independent women ranging in age from early thirties to…uhm, no longer thirty. We are all either freelancers or introverts (or both), and crave our quiet working time. We could have shared or said very little. It could have been awkward. And Lynchburg on a cold winter day offered little to do if it was.
What happened instead was a tumbling out of all the personal and career-oriented thoughts we’d ever wanted to share that the phone or distance had prevented through the years. What happened over just two days was the ability to see the positive energy, the worries, the fears, and the dreams finally shared face-to-face, expression-to-expression. We were so entranced by being together, that we only ventured out of the hotel to eat lunch and dinner, go for coffee and to walk through what I think is one of the best historic cemeteries in the country (as it began to snow).
The writer in me learned from these women what I hope to create for my characters–real life moments that shape them into who they will become. Sometimes we have to work the night shift until we get to where we can work in bed all day if we want to. Sometimes the most energetic ones are only a whirlwind on the outside, but inside they meditate quietly. Love isn’t always at first sight, and it can take up to three times for you to truly see someone. Creativity and knowledge come to those open to, and engaging in, new experiences.
In one weekend I found three women in this world who sense how badly I want to write. I know there are three positive forces I can turn to when the words won’t come, to help me find the silver lining. I know now, that even though I travel for words, sometimes it’s not the places I go, but with whom I go that matters most. It was the company I kept in that shoe factory hotel that gave our winter weekend a soul. And they warmed mine.
The Creative Goddess Book List
Smart ladies? Yes. Nerds, too. Whenever someone mentioned a book that had resonated with them, or shaped them, we made a note. The result is below, and somehow even some of the titles are the perfect way to describe us.
A Sparrow Falls
The Tea Rose
A Pale View of Hills
What Happy People Know
The Life of Pi (should be Pie)
The Art of Happiness
Miracle of Mindfulness
The Power of Introverts
Remains of the Day
The World Without Us
Never Let Me Go
Karen A. Chase is a regular contributor to Shelf Pleasure, sharing journeys near and far in the pursuit of stories and novels in her monthly feature, Will Travel for Words. She is the author of Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log, and is currently working on an historical novel set during the American Revolution.
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