Please enjoy some of the monstrous illustrations from my brother Todd Powelson.
Have a safe and spooky Halloween!
- Tara 🙂
A few weeks ago I attended a writers retreat with dozens of fabulous, talented women. I asked the organizer what I could do to help. She twiddled her thumbs, trying to think of something, because she’s very organized and had everything under control.
“Decorate and come up with a theme,” she said.
Interesting, because the cabin is set in a stunning backdrop and needs no added decor.
But I knew the theme I wanted the moment she asked for one.
If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you might know that I love to travel and collect globes.
One of my favorite quotes is from one of my favorite authors.
“Not all those who
So that was my theme.
Authors travel. We travel in time machines, through worm holes, throughout history, even to unchartered fantastical worlds. Our writing takes us to places where no others venture to go. But are we wandering . . . lost? Are we a crazy lot of people with our heads in the clouds?
In my humble opinion, we are the ones who keep the world sane. We restore balance to a world that sometimes seems hopeless. Man, I love to read. Books have changed my life many, many times. But I love to write more. I hope to write something someday that changes someone for the better. Authors write to educate, entertain, or uplift. I hope to do all three at some point in my life.
I write because so many times I don’t know what to say. I write to sort out political injustices or religious grievances. I write to explore relationships and to kill off the villains in my personal life.
I write so that I can travel to all the places I wish to go, both in reality and in imagination.
I came up with an activity idea for the writers retreat. I bought a world map and attached it to a large piece of cardboard, then hung it on the wall with a bunch of push pins. I made a sign that said,
“Where in the World does your writing take you?”
I loved to see where everyone traveled to when they write. If it was fantasy, I had them pin where they were basing the culture or landscape off of in our world.
It sparked many conversations between these authors that in many cases, didn’t know one another. “Oh! I wonder who else is writing a novel set in Hawaii.” “Look, someone is writing a novel set in Nepal. I’ve always wanted to go there!” “I wonder why that pin is in the middle of the ocean. Maybe it’s set on a boat or the city Atlantis. I’m going to go ask around and find out.” Conversations like those made me smile.
Here are a few other things I did for the writers retreat. These could also be altered for a birthday party or a farewell party for someone moving away.
I made about thirty of these wooden plaques. Yes, I love writers that much!
It was a lot of work, but I wanted them to have something to take home. I collect maps and atlases, so I cut a bunch of maps down to size, sent them to the printer, and had them print the Tolkien quote on top. I shredded the paper edges, mod-podged them on pre-cut wood, then stained everything. If you want more information on how to make these, you can ask in the comment section. But it was very much like my process of my tree painting, shown here.
I also love plants and brought a whole bunch of orchids and hydrangeas with me. These were for give-a-ways and drawings. I lined the pots with plastic to collect water, wrapped the pots and liners in map fabric, then tied with a piece of twine. My favorite part was that I printed a whole bunch of inspiring quotes on scraps of atlas, stuck them on skewers, and put them in the plants. All of them related to the theme and were easy to find because Pinterest is my favorite site ever! Here is my quote board on Pinterest.
I also made atlas wreaths.
And atlas banners.
Here we are staying up past 2:00 am playing games. So much fun!
But the most important part was the treat table. I mean, writers need fuel. Right?
My treat contribution were those atlas pages, which I shaped into cones, and then filled with candy. So easy and transportable to all those nooks and crannies that we authors like to find and write in!
Well, there you have it. Now you know how writers party.