Big Stump

Never let it be said that I back down from a challenge.

Well, at least most of them.

Some of them…?

Ok, one or two times every several years, someone challenges me to do something, so I guess just let it never be said that when the mood strikes me, I won’t back down from a challenge as long as it’s not too terribly inconvenient, and it’s not a leap year, and/or it’s been a minimum of 18 months since someone last threw down the gauntlet. Or something.


This past weekend was one of the definite highlights of my year so far, no doubt about it. I spent two whole days and three nights with my very newest friends (and a few of my old ones too!) at the Magic In The Mess writing retreat in Waldport. Let’s just say there was a beach, there was chocolate, there was a giant, amazing house right on that beach with balconies and a hot tub, there was delicious home-cooked food for every meal and copious amounts of wine.


Lovely and awesome writerly women!

And oh yeah, we wrote some stuff too.

But I digress, just a little.

At one point during the weekend, I took a walk on the beach with Tamara and Janelle, who came all the way from Northern California. We had our wineglasses and were feeling quite jovial and talking about everything from our work lives to our home lives to how much we were enjoying ourselves and everything in between. Eventually, we came upon what is apparently known as “Big Stump.”


Tamara and Janelle in The Stump

Now, you can’t see it very well in this picture, but it literally is a giant, hollowed-out Redwood stump that is right smack in the middle of the beach. There is a little sign tacked up on on the inside with a website you can go to and read about it. It actually has a pretty interesting history. My picture here doesn’t really do it justice (although it does make Tamara and Janelle look fabulous even if Tamara has her eyes closed – sorry, Tamara!)

On the placard, it implores its readers not to burn anything inside it, or on it, but of course only about 6 inches from the sign is a big swath of charcoaled wood, and we spent a few minutes grousing about the asshat people that clearly just wanted to be big fat jerks.

And of course, here is the obligatory selfie we took standing inside, although you can’t see the stump. You will just have to take my word for it that this is where we took it:


You totally can’t tell that I’m the one holding the phone. Not. At. All.

So! Thus completes the actual challenge part of this post – my work is done here.

Except that I do really and truly want to say that everyone I met over the weekend was absolutely wonderful. We all shared a lot, including some stuff that was kind of hard to share – very personal, gritty stuff. But all that simply served to bring us into a well-knit cohesive group that was at ease with each other and just really happy for the break from our ordinary lives to share an extraordinary weekend just laughing, writing, and drinking vino.

And writing. Yes, we all really did some of that.



      1. Jules, What a wonderful experience! Cheers to you and your new (and old) friends! I will actually raise my wine glass to all of you when I get home from work. LOL
        Love, MoM

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