>It’s May Day, traditionally a day of new beginnings and celebrations. Fires were extinguished and kindled anew. Herds went to summer pastures.

Me, I’m off to recharge and refresh on the Oregon Coast. Do you picture me lounging on the beach, sipping a mojito? Hah. I’ll be working my butt off. I’ll be lucky to get in a couple of walks.

I’m going to a writers workshop run by the incomparable team of Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. They have a whole series of them. I have taken a number of these workshops, including the Master Class, which I credit for keeping me in the game and teaching me to take my job (writing fiction) seriously. I highly recommend the Master Class for writers who are beyond the beginner level. There will be one this fall, and that will probably be the last.

This trip will be a change of pace, a change of place, and a chance to reconnect with writer friends I mostly only see online. It will be rejuvenating as well as educational. As others on this list have pointed out, the occasional retreat is good for stirring the creative juices (add crushed mint and ice). Being in the company of other professional writers reminds us that many of the challenges we face, we share with our colleagues.

There will be a lot of hard work, a lot of laughs, and probably a good deal of pizza. And at least one walk on the beach, I hope.

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