critique partnersI guess I’m a little behind times. I have not been across the world, or in Paris. In fact, I have not been outside of the United States, but I do have memories.

We own an old home with detours, unknown stairs, almost like a dungeon without the danger. My writing retreat started before anyone in our group thought about a get-together. I’ve been going to the basement for a long time. This gave me space and quiet for all my writing. Yet, I missed other writers and input.

When the two friends showed up without an invite, I thought this was an omen for all of us. These ladies didn’t give an explanation of where they came from, but just showed up when we needed them.

Strange? Not at all. We are writers and can conjure up our characters anytime we want. Sometimes they are what we need and other times what we least expect. I felt  comfortable with these “real” characters in our circle and knew we had a lot to learn.

Everyone came on the stated date, except the two friends. We missed them, but had no idea where to look or call. So, I took our group down the stairs to my basement. I did hear a few intakes of breaths, but this happens on the trip down. “This, my writer friends, is my writing retreat.”

“My husband decided I should have a quiet space to write and not hear all the complaints from him or our kids. He supported me. Look around and you will not see pictures or events from foreign lands, but all these pictures are from our trips to the Colorado mountains. We made these a part of our family trips.” Everyone stared at the enormous black and white photos. Her whole family surrounded the space in breathtaking shots.

“I’m not certain where the two ladies came from, but I hope they return. I have created a cave-like of appearance with the Colorado Rockies in full view. Now, when we begin to read, maybe we will have more questions. I like the idea of reading and responding. I want to get your viewpoints and then make up my own mind if they fit. We’ve known each other for a long time, and maybe these other friends can give us so new feedback, when they return.”

Two hours passed with new thoughts, ideas, and great questions. “Now for the snacks. Please enjoy some mountain trout on crackers, cold salmon and some Absolute in a glass with ice from a mountain stream. Enjoy.”

“Hey, ladies of our imagination and new insights, any suggestions for my turn next week?”

“Surprise us.”

May all of you have expectations and your writing improve with unknown happenings.