Monday, October 20, 2008


Most people might expect five women coming together at a ranch for five to six days to develop a sensible plan of action, especially when it comes to kitchen duty. The plan would include grocery, cooking and cleaning lists. The lists would be specific and name each retreater's tasks for the week. These same people would probably suggest posting the list in a prominent location such as the refrigerator.

Thank goodness sometimes virtues abound by not being sensible, because that is not the way we go about kitchen duty at all. The only lists that exist at the annual writing retreat are the grocery lists we create impromptu. Yet somehow stomachs are nourished, dishes get washed, and floors are swept.

From that first retreat on, a rhythm developed in the kitchen so naturally it was as if one of us started to hum and the rest of soon followed with the same tune buzzing on our lips.

Lola said, "I'll cook pasta and veggies on Sunday."

Then I said, "I'll make chicken scampi on Monday."

Not a picky eater exists among us. Well perhaps one, but she is so polite about it, we forgive her.

When Lola asks, "Does everyone like asparagus and broccoli," Kathi, Jeanette, and I say, "Yes."

Rebecca answers, "I love asparagus." She simply prefers to state her dislikes by emphasizing her preferences.

For dinner, we settle at the kitchen table which appears as if one end will collapse any moment. We talk about food, family, words. We share information about upcoming books, stories we wish would sell, school visits, and conferences. We are different writers from different places, but when we gather around the table for our meals, I can't help but think how I have more in common with these four women than anyone else on the planet.

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