The reading retreat.

The reading retreat.

The reading retreat.

April 6, 2020
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Writing retreats, I’ve done. Alone. Together.
A day, two, three.

But never an official reading retreat.

One could argue I’ve been doing reading retreats ever since I learned how to read, because, to quote my mom, once I did I never stopped. Countless weekends I’ve spent immersed in great novels; laying away many a night, reading, totally engrossed in a story, making me experience life as a Viking slave, an Egyptian princess, a Vietnamese poet, a cave-woman, or explore the vast skies astride a flying dragon in some magical universe, similar and yet so different to my own.

But thanks to a The Creative’s Workshop-colleague writing about wanting to take time to read, I suggested she do a reading retreat, and all of a sudden, we had a date, going from idea to fruition in the space of three days. 90 minutes, over Zoom, all in all, four people, even though two sort of played a relay-game with each other, with one leaving as another entered the room. The Zoom-room.

…to be, without the intent to talk I said when we checked in prior to one reader leaving for another meetup. I’ve done many a type of meeting online, but never, truly, one where the intention was not to talk, but to be, and to read.

And I loved it.

As we shared half-time my co-creator was reminded of a quote by Lynda Barry, who has said about art-making that it’s this thing that we do alone together.

And I loved it. Alone. Together.
It felt so good. You know, like sitting in a room with a best friend, in total silence, and absolute companionship, doing whatever one pleases, but together? That’s what it felt like.

A gift.
One I want more of.

Would you like to join me sometime?


  1. Sara Modig April 6, 2020 20:37

    Doing alone together. Sounds absolutely delightful. And one good thing for me that this strange new situation has put all of us in, is that I’ve really taken up my reading again. Drinking words, sentences, ideas and insights as a desert wanderer reaching the oasis…

    • Helena Roth April 7, 2020 19:09

      “Drinking words, sentences, ideas and insights as a desert wanderer reaching the oasis…”
      The basis of a blog post, a poem, or even a book, just that single sentence. Absolutely beautiful!

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  3. Charlotte Cronquist April 8, 2020 10:11

    In these times I read so little, and parts of me would like to plunge into a novel… to meet som other world, du be there for a while. And I also love the idea of being alone together, that is also what I sort of practice these days – but not with a book in my hand.
    And by the way, I just love the book you read…

    • Helena Roth April 8, 2020 12:38

      That is one of the reasons why I love reading, as it allows me the opportunity to meet other worlds.

      And yes. it is a great book, one where I have a hard time not marking every single paragraph as AMAZING… 🙂 Definitely a book I will revisit many a times!


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