Posts Tagged ‘Playa Herradura’

Writing on Tico Time: Memories of a Costa Rica Retreat

by Allyson Latta

Sunset at Playa Herradura

I’m sitting at Juanita’s, a rustic beach-front restaurant, sipping a foamy piña colada as the departing sun drifts shades of pink over the Pacific. We arrived early to watch the sunset and for just one drink, and it was quiet then, but with the Latin-rhythmed Costa Rican music pumping from the speakers and the aroma of garlic-sizzled sea bass wafting out to the street, other patrons have been enticed and the place is filling up. Several tables draped in bold orange clothes are pushed together for our group, and looking down the line at the smiling faces of exuberantly chatting writers, I think, not for the first time, how remarkable it is that we’ve found our way to this place.

Many of us met only a week ago. And when these women and men first stepped down from the airport shuttle in front of Namaste Gardens — a small yoga retreat in Playa Herradura on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast — they were all slightly rumpled and sheened, visibly tired from travel, unsure of what to expect, and a tad shy with me and one another. One whispered to me as I showed her to her room, “I don’t want to be here,” which startled me, until I realized what she meant. She was worried about fitting in, about whether she belonged here with “real” writers.

But as a writing instructor of mine once said, and I took this to heart, “If you are writing, you’re a writer.” And everyone who’d come to Namaste Gardens Writing & Yoga Retreat was here to write. They were also here to experience a bit of Costa Rica: the rich sunsets, lively music, beaches and cuisine.

Oh yes, and “Tico time,” an extremely relaxed view of clocks and schedules subscribed to by Ticos (informal for Costa Ricans) that, depending on the circumstances, can delight travellers or drive them crazy. Trust me: delighting in it is the best way to go.

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Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

10 Writing Tips from Author William Deverell (on a Costa Rica Morning)

 

Award-winning Canadian novelist William Deverell was a featured speaker at my Namaste Gardens Writing & Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica last month. Against a backdrop of lush foliage, cascading flowers and startling blue pool, and with the occasional curious tropical bird or butterfly pausing to watch, he shared with retreat participants and visiting writers from the capital city of San Jose his thoughts on “A Writer’s Life.” Here are 10 tips gleaned from his presentation.

1. Write what you dream of writing — not what others want you to write.

Though he aspired to be a writer even as a teen — he read us a few angst-ridden journal entries to prove it — and worked for many years as a journalist and later a lawyer, he was thirty-nine years old before he finally took a sabbatical plunge into novel writing. He describes the writer’s block he suffered, even during the early days of his sabbatical, as “pathological.”

He eventually recognized that he’d been hampered by his father’s high literary standards, fearing he’d disappoint if he didn’t write a “serious novel.” His father was a journalist and a reader of classics who suffered from unfulfilled literary aspirations. Bill says his own fear of failure began in his teens, prevented him from writing for decades, and even “drove him” to the law. (“I never wanted to be a lawyer,” he says.)

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Thursday, February 9th, 2012