HPMEC Hosts Special Veterans Retreat

Thursday, August 6, 2015
Mentor Rob Lamm poses with the group of veterans who took part in the writer's retreat at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott. Included are, from left: Front-Jerry Davis of Hot Springs Village, Rob Lamm of Jonesboro, Pamela Kay of Brookland, April Mancias of Marmaduke and Alex Vernon of Little Rock. Back-Rochelle Bohannon of North Little Rock, Norris Norman of Paragould, Fred Worfe of Sherwood, Matthew Windsor of Conway, Jerrod Ward of Blytheville, Carmie Henry of Little Rock, Ron Miller of Jonesboro, Rich Carvell of Jonesboro and Nate Jordon of Harrison.(courtesy photo)

Over the course of its history in Piggott, the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center has hosted a variety of special events and workshops. The most recent was held in late July, as HPMEC hosted a writing retreat for military veterans.

This particular weekend retreat was funded through a partnership with the Arkansas Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. It offered the chance for 13 talented writers to come together at the historic museum, and hone their skills, at the site where Ernest Hemingway penned much of his iconic war novel, A Farewell to Arms.

Serving as mentor for this retreat was Dr. Rob Lamm, of Arkansas State University, who has served as mentor for several other of the retreats held at the museum. He noted the most recent effort was special. "This was our first retreat attended exclusively by veterans," he offered. "All of the writers had works in progress in progress, so some chose to continue those works. Many wrote about their experiences in the service--boot camp, deployments such as Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, and missions almost anywhere in the world. Others were interested in other creative genres."

When asked what he took away from the special retreat he added, "I learned about experiences unique to those who have served their country, and sometimes risked their lives doing so. I shared the synergy of the group as we inspired each other to write better and more."

During the retreat the writers began each day with exercises to get them started, often looking at samples of Hemingway's writing as model for their own. The participants also had the chance to enjoy lunch together at the Educational Center, and ended each afternoon with a group meeting to reflect, share and discuss the processes used by each writer.

"Between the formal meetings, the writers had time to work individually, often in the same rooms where Hemingway wrote," noted Museum Director Adam Long. "This format allowed the writers time to focus on their own creative interests, to receive feedback on their work, and to form relationships with the other writers."

Writer's retreats for the general public are held twice a year at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott. The next retreat is scheduled for Nov. 2 to 6, with Pat Carr, of Fayetteville, serving as the mentor.

"This was the museum's first retreat specifically for military veterans," Long added. "Though, we are looking into the possibility of having another one in the future."

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center is an ASU Heritage Site, located at 1021 West Cherry Street in Piggott.

Those wanting additional information on the writer's retreats, or the museum in general, may contact Long at 870 598-3487 or by email at adamlong@astate.edu

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