Eight workshop sessions.  Thirteen alums.  One Faculty-Alumni dinner.  Four days of writing immersion (counting sleep).  Impromptu community gatherings at Taps Pub, at NCO House 334, in the Commons Café, and on the beach.  Poems and protest pieces and neo-myths and flash-fiction and characters and T.S. Eliot and Borges arising amid a supportive, friendly, welcoming, safe, and literary environment.

This was the 2017 Lighthouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat.

Somewhere toward the end of Day 2 the idea came up for each of us to do a 2-3 paragraph summary-reflection – to be shared during the closing session of our last day.  We think Milt Lum (’14) put it so well in his reflection; Milt has graciously agreed to share his reflection (below).

– Sarah Kishpaugh, Alison Bailey, and Theresa Barker, Co-Coordinators, LWC&R


LWC&R – Summary and Reflection


I stood with Rose [Sabangan] on the newly constructed platform overlooking Admiralty Inlet and Port Townsend Bay. We were at the third stop of our writing exercise: walking the campus, reflecting on the place and recording the emotions spawned from resurrected memories. That view of the water had been a calming influence on me during those insecure G1 days learning to trust the process, and where during subsequent residencies an escape to reflect. I’ve since looked out from that bluff often after my Goddard days, but that day next to Rose it was a special moment of bonding. A bond forged of having shared a common journey, a journey of learning, of becoming, of being a part of the Goddard family.

Walking with Theresa [Barker] to our next site, the Pub, I was reminded of all of the people I’ve met through my Goddard experience. People who have enriched my life immeasurably through their stories, their courage, and their insights. An introvert by nature, I would have insulated myself among my kind and never ventured beyond the confines of my comfortable existence.

What a privilege to be a part of such a community where coming together after years of separation is like returning to residency without the packets.

We need the Lighthouse because it is our oasis in this life-long journey of writing. As with any journey there comes a time when we will need to be refreshed. When the climb seems endless, when the block seems insurmountable, when everything else takes precedence, there will be that beacon from the Lighthouse leading us to where we will find repose, refreshment, and inspiration. It is where we validated our embarking upon that journey of writing and where we return to find the sustenance to continue.

Milt Lum, 2014 Goddard MFA in Creative Writing (Port Townsend, WA)

Photos courtesy of Rose Sabangan

Reflections from the Lighthouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat
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CWC is the alumni association of Goddard's MFAW Program. It holds the annual summer Clockhouse Writers' Conference & Retreat in Plainfield, Vermont, and the annual winter Lighthouse Conference & Retreat each winter. Its national literary journal CLOCKHOUSE is published in partnership with Goddard College and the MFAW Program. For more information, please visit www.clockhousewriters.com or contact CWC's lead steward, Lucy Turner.

One thought on “Reflections from the Lighthouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat

  • February 25, 2017 at 10:48 am

    This post gives me hope as I enter my G3 semester and look into the future. More and more familiar faces fill up the lighthouse retreat and I feel strongly that someday I’ll be one of them; a continuation of craft and connection.

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