May you stay forever young, Mike is singing here at Wildacres Retreat, where we have been entertained tonight by a host of local and not so local entertainers led by Mike House who is the manager or director of this special place high on a mountain isolated from the world.
I came her last year for the Fall Gathering and found a solace that I needed to decide what to do with the rest of my life. I was welcomed into a safe and comfortable environment where I could have as much solitude as I needed and as much social interaction as I wanted.
This spring I have come back and have found that same feeling. It was like coming home after an absence. Familiar smiling faces greeted me and once again I could relax and rest.
Artists gather here to work in clay, paint in oils, water color and mixed media, create nature prints, write and make quilts. No instruction goes on during the Gathering. We come and bring our own projects that we work on when we want and how we want.
Carol and Karen are painters. Dorothy is a potter. Juliann is also a potter, but there are musicians here. Jules is a familiar face. He spent many years on the road with James Brown's group. Now he lives in South Carolina and writes poetry. A young couple play violins as if they were born to play together. A bagpipe player is among the guests this spring.
Some of the songs provoked audience participation, and on one song a woman singer and guiterist, jumped up and began buck dancing or clogging.
Each night a reading was held. I read poetry and a short memoir.
I was extremely happy for the kind reception of my work. More than that, I was moved by the comments made by other artists who said they liked the honesty in my work. A good writer must not be afraid to bleed on the page.
I don't know where I read that but I believe it is true.