A writing retreat from Bangor to Peaks Island

Okay, okay, so this blog is supposed to be about my new life and the goings on in downtown Bangor. However, this past weekend—and this blog post—took a slight detour to Peaks Island. BUT the reason for my small journey began in the Queen City.

On Thursday afternoon, I sat staring at my computer screen, waiting to feel inspired by my writing.  In probably the only productive decision to log onto Facebook I have ever made, I saw a post by the Norumbega Collective. The post informed the public of a nonfiction workshop held by Maine writer, Mira Ptacin on Peaks Island.

I learned of the Norumbega Collective a few weeks ago and have been intrigued ever since. Located in Bangor, this group is committed to promoting the arts in the greater Bangor area through literary and performance events. I have since reached out and am excited to volunteer and connect to this group of nearby writers and artists in the future.

The two-hour drive down 295 and finding the Peaks Island ferry was straight-forward and easy. And yet, traveling by myself reiterated my independence. Once I purchased my ticket, I boarded the ferry, zipping my jacket up all the way and squinting through an unexpected sprinkling of flurries until I found a seat. I didn’t have to answer to anyone. I got lost looking at a lighthouse among a cluster of islands.

Once on Peaks, I was greeted by a friendly group and a gracious instructor. We piled into her car and drove on a road that weaved its way against the coastline. Passing by dirt roads dotted with houses, I was comforted by the familiarity of island life.

The workshop was held in a small yoga studio nestled on a hill overlooking the ocean. The flurries had stopped, the sun pierced through an icy sky and the wind whipped up white caps in a deep-blue ocean.

I sat on a honey-colored wood floor with my shoes off, sitting on a yoga mat with my back against the baseboard heat—not too far off from how I write at home.

Everyone introduced themselves. We worked on brief prompts Mira gave us. It’s amazing how a group of strangers that just wants to share—to hear and be heard—can be the easiest group of people to open up to.

One prompt Mira gave us was to write our entire memoir in six words.

Initially, this felt daunting. And then, within seconds of looking out the window to the constant, rhythmic and inevitable give and take of the waves, I thought of my own blog, my own version of a “mini memoir,” and what it is I currently write about once a week.

I quickly scribbled down “pushed to leave, pulled to stay.”



Rebecca Reisman

About Rebecca Reisman

My name is Rebecca Reisman. I am an aspiring writer. While I love being a Mainer, it can be challenging as a twenty-something year old to find incentives to stay in a state with a declining population and fewer opportunities. But I love it here. That’s what this blog is about; exploring and connecting to my new community in downtown Bangor while finding a way to settle down in my beloved home state.