The Importance of Setting

In The Retreat on August 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

The setting of a story can play such an important part in the overall meaning that it becomes a character itself. 

Elaine and her home, Bentley and Beemmer, the redwoods, the food, and Russell at the end, they all played such powerful parts in the overall meaning of our retreat that they take a staring role. I stand before them in a clapping, rousing, thunderous ovation now and forever.


It was Elaine’s mentoring and guidance and superb organizational skills and joyous, generous nature that made the retreat flow and feel so effortless.

But there’s more, for me personally so much more…

Elaine changed my life upon meeting her at Capitola Bookstore during the final two in a series of three plot workshops. She listed some of the writing workshop leaders she had studied with, all of whom I hold in high esteem, and told me she was learning things with me she hadn’t heard from the others.

My heart soared for two reasons.

#1: One of the workshop leaders she named is the famed Robert McKee. I first learned about him upon seeing the movie Adaptation starring Nicholas Cage playing twins — one brother a literary writer, the other a hack writer. The hack writer  convinces his literary brother to attend McKee’s workshop. Since the moment I saw McKee (an actor) on stage during the on-screen workshop, my dream has been to do that. Be on a big stage sharing my passion for plot.

For Elaine to put me in the same company as Robert McGee gave me the sensation of sliding all the way across the entire checker board in one move and being kinged!

For Elaine to have found unique value in my work humbles me to my core.

Everything internally has shifted for me after that. A new peace fills me. I feel as if I have arrived and I can be me…

I’ll forever love you, Elaine. 

Aw, how come whenever it comes to anything to do with the retreat, I end up with tears in my eyes and a thick throat and a full heart…

Love to each of you.

Oh, and I expect you’re each getting back to writing now… Correct???

posted by Martha


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