On my last day on Kaua'i I woke up to sunshine and took that opportunity to take some photos of the view I had of Princeville from the Sealodge. I had to pack up though, and make my way to Hanalei for the second day of workshopping.
There was no opening prayer. Instead we did some freewriting and talked, for an hour, about what we wanted to focus more on during our last day together. I took this opportunity to get to it, so I started writing. I wanted to spend this last day free of all kuleana (Hawaiian for obligation). But as I am realizing, writing is just another aspect of kuleana.
After discussion, we broke up for lunch. A wonderful chef came to the house and prepared our meal from the vegetables in her garden: kale minestrone soup, homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and an italian salad with tangerine slices. I took my lunch to to the bay, and took a 15 minute nap. Then it was back to writing--this time in small groups. W shared our work with the groups in workshop-fashion, then we returned to the large circle where I read a poem and was on my way.
What I find interesting about this retreat is that it's secret. The Kaua'i writers aren't interested in making the other islands aware of their yearly gathering. Even the stories were secret, as most of the attendees felt their stories were either too personal or too rooted in tradition to tell the world. Even when asked about publishing their pieces they said "Maybe a little booklet for 'just us.'"These women treat audience differently than I do. I want to everyone everywhere to read poetry, but in some ways I feel like the Kaua'i writers. I don't write for the people that don't know me. Sometimes I don't even write for the people that know me.
I returned to the airport with about 8 pages of new drafts for poems. I'm thankful and grateful for the writers who let me in so willingly to their circle. It was nice to write outside academia, with the ocean replacing paperwork and emails, but most of all it was nice to write with people. I miss sitting in the same room with other writers, not saying a word, and just working. Writing is not only an individual act, it's communal.