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Starting our paddle in Swepsonville.

Last Saturday I held my first-ever floating writer retreat on the Haw River here in North Carolina. We paddled from Swepsonville to Saxapahaw. Along the way we spied osprey, hawks, herons, cranes, turtles – and mistletoe!

writer retreat

We started the day with a stretch of paddling, then gathered our kayaks close for a floating lunch picnic. After we got our snack on I set a timer for 15-minutes and everyone was free to write about whatever they pleased. Then we shared our work. It was interesting to see how little elements we all came across that morning surfaced in our writing. The hawk took up residence in my poem, and someone else tied the river into the progression of time.

haw river

The view during one of our writing sessions (and basically all day).

Our group drifted and paddled along for awhile, and then we stopped for another 15-minute writing sprint and read our work aloud again.

writing prompt

Dawn deep in writing thoughts.

The day wrapped up at Saxapahaw Lake about five hours after we started. For a fall day, it felt like summer – sunny and 80s! Don’t feel bad if you missed this. The decision to have another Pen and Paddle was unanimous – I’ll announce another in the spring!