artist retreat recap

This weekend I was lucky enough to have the chance to head out of town with Kestryl for an artist retreat!  We brought the dogs and a whole bunch of outlines and plans for the work we each individually wanted to focus on and headed upstate.  We spent the long weekend in an adorable cabin a little outside of New Paltz, New York.  I can now say for certain that there is nothing quite like laying in a hammock after swimming in a river to get the creative juices flowing!

For me the big focus of this retreat was to start working on plans for the layout of Roving Pack which I’ll be launching into June 1st when I get the book back from the final copyeditor! With that in mind I spent a good chunk of the weekend familiarizing myself with the ins and out sof InDesign software that I will be using.  The retreat was also a great opportunity to make headway on some practical work that I’ve been avoiding like turning the amazing cover art that KD Diamond created into a promotional postcard which two hours and a migrane later (that sort of work is not one of my strengths) looks awesome and is now at the printer along with my brand new business cards that are updated to include all three of my books.

Beyond the really practical work I did upstate on the postcards and some writing for an anthology I’m submitting to, I focused a lot on strategic thinking. In between forest hikes to a secluded swimming hole I was really focused at looking at the overal direction my work is going growing out of Kicked Out through everything Roving Pack represents and all that I hope Leather Ever After will become, and even beyond that into directions I imagine my future work going in. A lot of the thinking  I was doing this weekend  was about how my seemingly different works fits together and in actuality is extremely connected with the central core being about the creation of home and queer family.  It’s been exciting and inspiring  for me to see diverse directions that common theme can move into.

I did a lot of planning at the upstate retreat for the direction I’m taking this blog. Definitely stay tuned for a bunch of new posts coming in the coming weeks and months. I’m planning to talk in more detail about how as an author who believes in and continues to work with traditional publishers I still chose to launch my own press to publish Roving Pack, and share more intimate details of what that process looks like.  I received a lot of positive private feedback from folks who really connected on a personal level with the ‘lessons from Roving Pack: poly, leather, boundaries and whale legs’ blog that I posted last week and have several blog posts in the works that are much more vulnerable and talk in greater detail about the experience of living in a long-term 24/7 power exchange relationship, the ways in which Leather and sex are separate and how that influences the ways in which I write about queerness and specifically queer leather lives.

A huge part of how I understand myself and my place in the world is in connection to stories- especially first-person narratives and fiction based on a queerness I can relate to.  A huge part of why I write (both fiction and non-fiction) is about putting out into the world the kind of stories I wish I’d had when I was first exploring various identities. It’s about creating a home on the page for the worlds I love, and the kinds of queers – homeless teens, gutterpunks, kinky perverts etc. etc. that are/have been my family, in hopes that others will see themselves in my words and feel less alone. It was really exciting to have the space and time at the retreat to think about these core themes that run through all my work, and to brainstorm my plans for talking about my life and work more here on the blog. Stay tuned!!!