Writing – and living – boldly!
The theme of Guanajuato Writing Retreat 2023 is writing and living boldly. Each day we will focus on a different aspect of what this means, explored individually and as a group. Activities and excursions will offer new experiences and inspiration to bring to our writing. Program participants can download the Itinerary PDF, which includes more details.
Daily Schedule Format
6:30am-9:00am: Breakfast (make your own)
7:00am: (Optional) Self-guided yoga and meditation on the terrace
10:00am-12:00pm: Guided self-exploration workshop
12:00pm-2:00pm: Lunch break
2:00pm-4:00pm: Writing on your own
You’ll have plenty of time to ease into your days at Guanajuato Writing Retreat and take a siesta or explore the town in the afternoons. After dinner, we can share our experiences and our writing, or simply enjoy the night’s view from the terrace.
Daily Itinerary Snapshot
Sunday – Arrival day
¡Bienvenido and welcome! Today we’ll settle in at Florecer Casitas, and enjoy dinner together. We will get acquainted and begin creating our sense of community for this week of inspiration, adventure and self-exploration. Thank you for coming and sharing your time and creative journey with all of us.
Monday Topic: Bold beginnings
We begin the workshop with the topic of – bold beginnings. Today we will begin to explore boldness and courage – on the page and in our lives. What is boldness? What is courage? Must we wait until we have no fear? Must we plunge ahead if the risks outweigh the possible benefits? What have we begun that was too risky; what have we not begun, perhaps because of fear or a sense of others’ disapproval. What are the new horizons to which we are being called – personally and in our writing – and what it would take for us to make a bold new beginning? Our activity for today is a tour of the Guanajuato’s historical city center, adding the perspective of a place and people shaped by courage that has been tested by foreign conquests, a difficulty mining industry, among other things.
Tuesday Topic: Shifts in Perspective
It only takes a shift in perspective to perceive things differently. Sometimes, our perspective shifts without our knowledge; other times we intentionally alter the lens through which we view ourselves, our relationships, or our creative work. Today we will explore how we’ve come to shift our perceptions in the past, and what opens up for us when we do it intentionally now. Today’s excursion is local: we will watch the sun set from the statue of Él Pípila, an iconic monument overlooking the city. We will have time to write, take photos, and bring awareness to our internal shifts as we watch the light change before our eyes. Then it’s off to dinner at a place that’s sure to shift some perspectives.
Wednesday Topic: Forces greater than ourselves
Often, courage to do what is needed, and to be our truest selves, comes when we feel connected to something greater than ourselves. Whether we are captivated by community, nature, the planets and solar system, or beliefs about forces, energies, religion or spirituality, we are impacted by our knowledge of, and encounters with, that which is beyond individual human lives. Today we will explore the ways in which we feel connected and disconnected from these sources, and how that shows up in our creative and personal lives. We take our morning exploration outdoors – with a morning hike to La Bufa, in the hillside, where we will have time to write in an exquisite chapel-in-the-rocks.
Thursday Topic: Nourishing ourselves
Courage and boldness rest atop ongoing self-care and nourishment. Today’s exploration is on the many ways we nourish ourselves, and the ways we sometimes don’t –going without certain things that could replenish and refuel, or giving in and getting lost to the point of distraction or numbing. Our activity for today is a cooking class, where we will learn some typical local dishes we can recreate once we’re home, followed by the nourishment of a well-prepared meal shared in good company.
Friday Topic: Time
One of the most exciting components of a bold life, and bold writing, is the sense of immediacy. Of living and writing about the only thing we have right now: the present moment. Our mortality becomes a force that wakes us up, rustles us out of our tendency to slumber or sleepwalk through hours, days or even years. Time is a social construct, measured and conceptualized differently by different cultures in different eras. We will take an all-day excursion to Cañada de la Virgin, the closest pyramid to Guanajuato, and the Museo Astronomía Prehispánica (Museum of Prehispanic Astronomy). We will learn of the Mesoamerican lunar and solar tracking systems, at the pyramid site and in a private workshop with Dra. Rosanna Quiroz Ennis, who has spent over a decade studying the relationship of the sun, moon, planets and stars to the construction of the pyramid complex. We will enjoy a delicious home-made lunch showcasing prehispanic cooking methods and ingredients that have come into full harvest just this lunar month. This extraordinary day will allow us to consider how we will choose to measure our time, and what we do with it.
Saturday Topic: Courageous endings
This is our last full day together. One of the boldest acts we can take is a good goodbye – knowing when and how to take our leave. We will explore the theme of endings – those that have impacted us the most, and the ways we may constrict in the face of new endings. What is it like when we stay too long, or leave too early, and how do we become grateful for the mournings and goodbyes for all that has enriched us, so we walk through the gate to our next horizon feeling ready to begin again? Today’s activity will be a shared final dinner, after which we will host the Guanajuato Writing Retreat reading. We will invite local Guanajuato writers to the Casitas, with an evening of open-mic style readings.
Sunday Departure day
This is the day we take leave of each other, and of this experience. In gratitude for all we have given to and received from each other, may our time together serve as motivation to accept and enter the creative endeavors that beckon. Thank you for what you have offered into our mix. Your presence has added something indescribable to each of us.
Thank you – until we meet again! ¡Gracias por todo – hasta luego!
Photography by Bonnie Wolkenstein, Ph.D. All rights reserved.