Sea Ranch—Our Annual Writing Retreat

Here again at beautiful Sea Ranch, near Mendocino in Northern California, writing, reading, walking on the bluffs, hanging with the sea lions and sharing work with my sweet sisters from AROHO.

We met six years ago at the biannual women's writing workshop at A Room of Her Own Foundation in New Mexico, and have traveled from all over the country (Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and various parts of California, to be together once a year since.

This year I have been madly working on finishing the final revision of my memoir, and it's almost there (cheers and clapping). It has been a wonderful and relaxing week, as well, and I have relished the time I've had to walk with friends, read, and contemplate this beautiful stretch of coastline. Nature abounds. See for yourself...

Sea lions rookery—how many can you count?

Sea lions rookery—how many can you count?

The view from our house.

The view from our house.

Native grasses.

Native grasses.

Yellow lupine.

Yellow lupine.

The Stunning Beauty of Sea Ranch

Up at Sea Ranch again, on writing retreat with my AROHO sisters, eight women I met at the 2011 Room of Her Own Foundation's retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. This is our fifth year of coming together to write and commune, our fourth at Sea Ranch, on the far Northern California coast just south of Mendocino. It is a stunningly beautiful stretch of sea coast, with magnificent cliffs and thundering ocean and abundant wildlife. We've seen many groups of deer (bucks and does with lots of spotted babies), foxes and jackrabbits. Bulbous sea lions lolling on the rocks. Pelicans skimming over the bluffs. The deer are protected here, so they have no fear, and graze contentedly throughout the Sea Ranch. You can almost get close enough to touch them.

The tiny burg of Gualala (wa LA la) has a lovely little market, and a gas station and a couple of restaurants. And a bookstore! Which we will be appearing at this afternoon to talk about writing retreats and writing. The Four-Eyed Frog bookstore was recently purchased by a group of community people to keep it open. There's a lovely lesson there about the importance of books to community.

Here are some photos I've taken this week and in years past. May your day be filled with the peace of nature.

Writing on the Stunning Northern California Coast

Near the Sea Ranch Lodge

Near the Sea Ranch Lodge

I've just returned from a week up at Sea Ranch, north of San Francisco on the rugged Mendocino coast. It's stunningly beautiful there, and a balm for the soul. For the past three years a group of women writer friends and I have decamped together for a writing retreat, and two of those years have been at Sea Ranch.

It was once a sprawling working ranch, but was developed in the sixties with homes on vast plots with weathered siding and surrounded by natural grasses. The ranch stretches for about 13 miles along the coast, with homes scattered from the coastal bluffs and up to the hills across Highway 1. We stayed in two houses near each other, and walked on the beach and hiked through the tree-studded property. We wrote and talked and read each others' work. It was just what the doctor ordered, and I came home refreshed and relaxed and ready to tackle all the work I had left behind.

I also dropped my daughter off at her friend's tiny studio in Oakland. The two of them have plans to work and pursue their music and art, with a brief break to go to Burning Man in August. It is the first time she has struck out on her own when I have felt that she is prepared and ready to create a new life. I am very proud of her. For those of you who know about her blind kitty, little Maya-Roo is with her and Anna in their tiny place. So far all is well and they are happy. And so am I.

Deer outside our front windows. They visited us every day. This couple had two babies with them.

Deer outside our front windows. They visited us every day. This couple had two babies with them.

We had several days of fog, but mostly it was sunny and warm.

We had several days of fog, but mostly it was sunny and warm.