Writers Camp is where Peauxdunque repairs at the beginning of every year, to reflect on the past year and recharge for the coming one. Usually an overnight to a place appropriately called Hopedale, 2013 saw us take a whole weekend instead. Gathering from all points Peauxdunquian, eating at a place (appropriately) called Dreamland on the way up, taking roads northward pointing, dwindling steadily in lanes and traffic until it was dark, twenty degrees, on a one-lane, moss-covered track at the bottom of a holler, next to a brook, icy water over rocks, and the GPS saying, “You’ve come as close to your destination as you can travel by car. You must now exit the car and walk.” Up a rise that felt like a mountain but surely wasn’t, until all the travelers were together. Susan Kagan, who had secured the hilltop retreat from a good soul; Emily Choate over from Nashville; J.Ed. Marston over from Chattanooga-way; Janis Turk flown all the way up from San Antonio; and Denise Moore, Terri Stoor, Maurice Ruffin, and Tad Bartlett the long drive up from New Orleans. At a place not near any other places, nameless, now called, appropriately, Peauxdunque, Tennessee.
Late into the night, twice, a whole day in the middle, and a far-too-short morning on the end, plus the long hours of driving up and back, there was solid talk about writing and reading and words. There were plans discussed, theses, novels, stories, essays. We took time to be silent and to write, to wander the hillside over fresh snow and under old stars. Below is a slideshow of some photos from our time, taken by Terri, Maurice, Emily, and Tad. We invite all to share; but I particularly invite Peauxdunquians to come back and view them and remember the times in Tennessee over the next year, when you’re feeling momentarily adrift. One more year, then we’ll do it all again.