I was so excited a few years ago to be invited to lead my first course at Sharon Black and Alex Duncan’s stunning retreat centre in the wild Cevennes mountains of southern France. 2017 is now the 5th year of that course, ‘Writing the Bright Moment’.
Remote and lush, the mountains are home to sheep and goats with bells, cheesemakers and beekeepers, the Cevennol ‘oignon doux’, wild mushrooms, wild herbs and sweet chestnut trees (the main source of flour here in the past), eagles, boar and bee-eaters. Close by is one of the main attractions of the week*: a waterfall pool, clear and deep – a perfect opportunity for skiving off, and stripping off, too. *Another is the wonderful organic vegetarian food.
Writing the Bright Moment 2017
Gardoussel, Cévennes, southern France
Saturday 26 August – Saturday 2 September 2017
Fully catered and with single-room accommodation for 7 nights £795
(£100 discount if you’re willing to share).
JULY 2017: VERY SAD TO SAY WE’VE HAD TO CANCEL THIS & THE FOLLOWING WEEK. Seems Brits are avoiding the Eurozone this year with the fall of the £ after Brexit. Back in 2018!
IF YOU BOOK THIS & THE FOLLOWING WEEK’S UNTUTORED RETREAT, THERE’S £100 DISCOUNT OFF THE COMBINED TOTAL. Booking now open.
In late August, I offer WRITING THE BRIGHT MOMENT in the stunning Cévennes mountains of southern France, at this very beautiful location.
This is a retreat week to quicken the heart, fire the imagination and enliven the senses. Through lively discussion, stimulating writing tasks for the imagination, shared silence and slow walking as well as words and readings, poetry and story, time outdoors, mindfulness exercises and creative prompts we’ll find new ways of being in and writing from each moment – effortlessly.
Expect a friendly group, a deepening of your sense of connectedness (with yourself and your imagination, with others, and with the land), a great deal of sometimes surprising writing (prose & poetry), a slowing down, some play, a lot of laughter, and an opening of your imagination and your heart. And warmth – seasonal and human.
This retreat will focus on developing our writing at the same time as deepening our sense of relationship to the world around us, in this moment – the only one we ever have.
There’ll be time, too, to simply be in the natural world, and, if you’d like, to immerse yourself in the waterfall pool – or seek out a hammock. Throughout, there will be gentle prompts to relax into the present moment and its joys and gifts.
Most years, there’s an opportunity for music, dance and/or dynamic meditation, if that appeals to you. Some people also choose to stay on for the second work-in-progress week to deepen their writing practice.
Price includes all course tuition (£300), accommodation and delicious vegetarian meals with an Ayurvedic focus (£495) and wine. Single rooms will be provided to all participants depending on availability unless otherwise requested. BOOK
You can read about it here.
If you would prefer a catered but untutored week of solo writing in the company of others, with afternoon feedback sessions and optional one-to-one mentoring with a very experienced tutor, click here.
UK poet and author Roselle Angwin leads the Fire in the Head creative and reflective writing programme, and The Wild Ways ecosoul project, a path of reconnection with self, other, story and land. She’s passionate about wild places and the natural world, as well as the relationships and meeting points between inner and outer geographies. Roselle trained in Transpersonal Psychology and holds a counselling qualification. She has been described as ‘a poet of the bright moment whose own sources of creative inspiration are her native Westcountry, the Scottish islands, and a highly individual blend of Celtic myth and metaphysics, psychology, shamanic and Buddhist thinking’. She leads courses and retreats on Dartmoor, in Cornwall, the Isle of Iona and abroad. Her own poetry, fiction and non-fiction is widely published, and has won awards.
FEEDBACK on WRITING THE BRIGHT MOMENT:
‘I have been twice to Roselle’s retreat, and have already come to look forward to my week with her as the still point in my year, a truly wonderful week out of my life during which I can be certain that, with her kind and skillful guidance, I will remember why it is that I write.’ (Vicky Field)
‘The week I’ve just spent at Gardoussel with Roselle was transformational. Being in the mysterious mountains of the Cévennes with such an inspirational facilitator was a life enhancing experience and had a powerful and positive effect on my writing.’ (Kate McGuinness)
‘It isn’t easy to put into words what a haven of peace, quietude and relaxation Gardoussel is. Having never attended a creative writing course before this was a revelation for me and I wrote more in a week with Roselle than I have in my life so far. Her techniques, encouragement and critiques set my creative juices flowing and gave me tools to continue my writing when I get home.’ (Kerryn Alt)
‘Roselle’s deep and thoughtful humanity, her affinity with nature, her skilled handling of material and participants, her inspirational writing and readings created a deeply healing and creative space.’ (Chloe Balcomb)
‘I went to Gardoussel to kick-start the writing of my book and pick up a few tips along the way. The week was marvellous and truly inspirational, in so many different ways. The exercises in poetry writing fired up my neurons and this improved my prose writing as well. Highlights were the delicious, healthy food, the atmospheric fire pit in the evening, the fun, laughter and the sharing of poetry and prose.’ (Anja de Jager)
‘I’ve had the most amazing week – an alchemic success of guided mindfulness sessions, clever writing exercises, an experienced teacher and an extremely trusting group of wise women participants.’ (NB this is not just a retreat for women writers, but that year it happened to be an all-women group.) ‘It’s been a time of deep transformation, learning, growth, vulnerability and healing. Personal and skill development that I could not have imagined when I signed up.’
‘Still glowing from an incredibly rich week. Roselle’s zen-based, gentle approach; her encouragement and her resourcefulness was the perfect mix for someone like me who felt quite unsure about my writing when I arrived. I left feeling empowered and surprisingly proud of my own voice. I particularly enjoyed the way Roselle constantly involved the environment both in terms of landscape, nature and place but also in terms of the other participants in the group as resource and inspiration...’ (Petra Hilgers)
EXTERNAL ATTENDEES (if necessary, if venue fills fast):
Our local village of St Andre de Valborgne is just over 1km away, a gentle 20 mins walk along a quiet B-road. (A lift by car is also possible for anyone preferring not to walk). Accommodation is available at the following places (NB these are 2014 prices, just to give you an idea; please check with Abri and Sharon what the current arrangements are):
Auberge de la Vallee: http://www.restaurant-auberge-vallee-borgne.com
47€ single room – 57€ double/twin room – breakfast 6€
Hotel Bourgade: http://www.restaurant-bourgade.fr
rooms from 61€ – breakfast 7,50€
Cocon des Cevennes b&b: http://cocondescevennes.blogspot.fr
rooms at 75€ (2 people) including breakfast
If anyone has trouble booking, Sharon (see Contact) is happy to help.
Although we are not set up for camping (we have no bespoke camping facilities for example), as an exception we have decided to offer a ‘wild camping’ option on this retreat only. Pitch your own tent anywhere on our land (we have 45 acres of meadow and woodland) – taking your chances as most of it is not 100% flat – or on a flat grassy terrace we will clear for the purpose – and share rustic bathroom facilities (bath with shower head, wash basin: but the water’s hot!) with our resident cook and massage therapist Frances who lives in a yurt. For the loo, you’ll need to walk down to the main building to use the ‘public’ Gardoussel toilet – or pee in the woods, the choice is yours. This option costs £500 / week.
You can read about it here.