The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum & Educational Center recently held a Writing Retreat for Military Veterans. This weekend retreat was funded through a partnership with the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Over the course of the weekend, nine talented writers came together to hone their skills and to form a community in Northeast Arkansas at the site where Ernest Hemingway penned much of his iconic war novel A Farewell to Arms.
Dr. Rob Lamm of Arkansas State University served as mentor for the retreat. Lamm, a mentor at other retreats at HPMEC, said, “These are very special people–veterans from many branches of service who share a love of literature. Ernest Hemingway would have been impressed by their writing talents. Even more, he would admire their courage as some chose to revisit the drama and trauma of their experiences by writing memoirs, fiction, and poetry.” Lamm continued, “Courage was the unstated yet ever-present theme of the Retreat. Some writers recalled battles that we associate with war. Others wrote of battles for social acceptance and struggles with personal demons.”
Writers began each day with exercises to get them started, often looking at samples of Hemingway’s writing as models for their own. They enjoyed lunch together at the Educational Center and ended the afternoon with a group meeting to reflect, share, and discuss the processes used by each writer. Between formal meetings, the writers had time to work individually, often in the same rooms where Hemingway wrote. The format allowed writers time to focus on their own creative interests, to receive feedback on their work, and to form relationships with other writers.
Writers’ Retreats for general audiences are held twice annually at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott. The next retreat is scheduled for Nov. 7-11, 2016, with Andrea Hollander of Portland, OR, serving as mentor. Click here for more information.