Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Weekend Writing Getaway

I spent the Martin Luther King holiday weekend at the Poetry and Prose Getaway, my third endeavor into the realm of intensive workshops sponsored by Murphy Writing of Stockton University, a provocative, thought-provoking, exhausting, educational experience worth the investment in time and money.

The Seaview Hotel and Golf Club (no one played golf in freezing temperatures. In January. Golf not included in getaway package. But the golf shop was open.) is half an hour from home. Hub dropped me off at the entrance to the resort and drove off. I eagerly hauled my suitcase up the steps and checked in. You may wonder – why didn’t I commute? Three reasons, weak as they may be: January weather conditions can be brutal. I had a roommate to share room expenses. And I wanted the full immersion experience.

Participants sign up for a three-day workshop. Three hours in the morning, a lunch break, another three-hour afternoon session, one three-hour session day three. But I don’t want to give the impression it was all work. A Friday evening reception (the variety of foods satisfying most dietary preferences), happy hours, an early morning yoga class, surprisingly good cuisine. And an indoor pool, although I don't know if anyone took the plunge.

Photographers recorded the weekend – not every event, but a sampling – including the Sunday evening dinner, the banquet hall resplendent in dark blue sateen-like tablecloths, a cash bar (what’s a lovely dinner without wine?), a birthday cake celebrating the 25th year of the Getaway, and a drone. A picture-taking drone.

Here is a video thanks to my iPhone. Not a professional film, but you get the idea. The drone circled the hall snapping pictures.

The getaway ended on a somber note, a tribute to Martin Luther King. We listened to the speech Dr. King gave the night before he died. And the speech Robert Kennedy gave the following evening in Indianapolis disclosing Dr. King’s death. I end this post with excerpts from Kennedy’s speech. It is a sad commentary on our times that 49 years after the death of Martin Luther King, Charlottesville starkly demonstrated that violence and division continue to poison our country.

What we need in the United States is not division;
what we need in the United States is not hatred;
what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness,
but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another,
and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country,
whether they be white or whether they be black…
Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago:
to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.
Let us dedicate ourselves to that,
and say a prayer for our country and for our people.
            -Robert Kennedy