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#Breckenflash: Four Days in the Rockies with the Flash Fiction Crew

On August 10-14, 2018, we (Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman) officially launched Flash Fiction Retreats with #Breckenflash! Otherwise known as Rendezvous in the Rockies. Otherwise known as Mining for your Flash Fiction Gold. We were joined by an amazing group of writers, had perfect Colorado weather, and even some unexpected visitors!

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From left to right (top): Holly Lyn Walrath, Leslie Archibald, Chris Bowen, Jayne Martin, Pavlos Stravropoulos, Kathy Fish, Paul Beckman, Anne Weisgerber. From left to right (bottom), Jan Saenz, Annie Q. Syed, Nancy Stohlman, Chelsea Voulgares Not pictured: April Bradley, Sally Reno
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Photo by Paul Beckman

Kathy Fish: Whoosh! Just now coming down from our glorious time in Breckenridge! I’m so grateful for everyone who joined us for our maiden voyage retreat in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I went in with few expectations and high hopes. I wanted each and every one of our participants to feel looked after and included. I wanted each of them to leave our retreat feeling inspired. I think they did.

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Beautiful Breckenridge Photo by Paul Beckman

Many thanks to Chris for keeping us well-fed throughout, with delicious meals and snacks. My favorite part of the retreat was our Salon Night, where everyone got a chance to read/perform their beautiful work in the stunning great room of the McWilliams House we stayed in. There were champagne toasts, terrific readings, and music provided by Nick Busheff. I myself felt so energized by working with everyone in the group: Anne, Sally, April, Paul, Chris, Pavlos, Annie, Holly, Chelsea, Jayne, Leslie, and Jan. Everyone was so engaged and wrote their hearts out. And I especially loved working one-on-one with each participant (as Nancy did as well). All in all, a wonderful time of great camaraderie and creativity in one of the prettiest places on earth. 

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Our good omen visitor welcomes us to Breckenridge Photo by April Bradley
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Paul Beckman and Kathy Fish among the aspens
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Our magical visitor Photo by Chris Bowen

Nancy Stohlman: Our maiden retreat in Breckenridge was so much fun! Our mountain lodge was quirky and very Colorado—wooden beams and wooden floors, rooms with names like “The Gold Pan” and “The John Wayne”, and a giant teddy bear that was bigger than a person! We had amazing views of the Rockies, an aspen tree canopy out front, and an abundance of little nooks inside for a writer to squirrel away with their writing. It was important for Kathy and I to strike a balance between structure and unstructured time for creative play—we wanted people to feel rested after retreating with us as well as inspired: that delicate balance between the scheduled instruction and the “timeless time” where we can get quiet and commune with our creative voices.

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Annie Q. Syed with giant teddy bear

The evenings were full of laughter, stars (and the Perseid meteor shower!) and good mountain air sleep. The days were filled with plenty of nourishing food and camaraderie among so many different kinds of people—a stimulating blend of community and writing with many individual goals but all the same goal—to deeply commune with our work—whether in process or brand new. One participant said, “Even though I just met you all I feel like I’m with family.”

Yes, I felt that, too.

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Salon night! From left to right: Chris Bowen, April Bradley, Paul Weisgerber, Anne Weisgerber, Jan Saenz, Jayne Martin, Pavlos Stravropoulos, Chelsea Voulgares, Leslie Archibald, Holly Lyn Walrath Photo by Paul Beckman
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Now that’s a lot of pasta! Nancy Stohlman with participant and chef Chris Bowen

Deepest thanks to all our retreat participants who made the experience so special for us: Jayne Martin, Chris Bowen, Jan Saenz, Sally Reno, April Bradley, Leslie Archibald, Anne Weisgerber, Paul Beckman, Chelsea Voulgares, Pavlos Stravropoulos, Holly Lyn Walrath and Annie Q. Syed. We miss you already!

And YES! We DO have plans for a 2019 Colorado retreat so stay tuned! In the meantime join us in Costa Rica January 19-25, 2019, or Italy from May 17-25, 2019. We’d love to retreat with you!

Love, Nancy and Kathy

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Nancy Stohlman and Kathy Fish: Salon Night Photo by Paul Beckman

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