earlier post, I want to use Tuesdays as an at-home work day (catch up on lesson plans, grading, and correspondence) in order to give myself Thursdays to focus on spiritual renewal and creative endeavors. After reading Jennifer Louden's book, I became inspired to set aside a portion of each Thursday to relax with purpose in the form of a private retreat. Today is my first retreat.
But as is my typical MO - I have spent far too much thinking about the "perfect" first retreat: so many options and such a great desire to make every minute count. Apparently the Martha in me runs deep. But in thinking through the options I have come to discover (or rather admit) that I am an academic. I love to learn. And I am energized when I am researching a new subject. So it occurred to me that if this is truly what feeds my soul, why fight it?
The three subject areas that fuel this desire are travel - writing - and photography. And I am consumed by the idea that I can marry these three interests into one life long hobby. I find such pleasure in planning a trip - and sometimes I enjoy the anticipation more than the actual vacation. I have a burning desire to not only visit Europe, but to return to a few select locations multiple times. I want to experience being a true part of that culture and not just a one week visitor. I have several books on London (where I have been twice), Paris (where I have been three times), and Italy (where I have yet to visit). How delightful it would be to spend a few Thursdays as an armchair traveler to any of these destinations.
I am currently taking Dave Fox's online travel writing course, which will allow me to revisit my summer trip to Paris. I journaled about this trip on this blog, and I am now ready to take these "immediate" drafts and put them into more cohesive essays. I find that a few months' distance provides a new perspective and some hidden insights.
I am also tempted to register for Patti Digh's new online writing course: VerbTribe. Two years ago I read her book, Life is a Verb, and actually developed a few writing prompts that I shared on this blog. I like her writing style and her outlook on life. I like her sense of humor. I would imagine that she is a very kind and compassionate teacher who would encourage students rather than discourage them. I just don't know if I should add the class to this semester's schedule where I am supposed to rest and relax. Would that be another Martha move?
365 project is helping a little bit - and the Find Your Eye course is teaching me how to see the world up close and personal. I have also registered for the Slice of Life project that will begin in early February. Yes, I even pursue the creative subjects with an academic mindset - but I am learning to accept it. I recently found a book that I think I need to add to my personal library: Storytellers by Jerod Foster. How serendipitous is that? A book about photography that teaches me to view the picture as a narrative story? If that doesn't sound like the perfect marriage of writing and photography, I don't know what is.
So while it is nearly 9:00AM and I am still not exactly sure how I will spend this retreat Thursday, I do have a direction. And I am excited to see where the journey takes me.