A couple of activities were pure writerly research: the trip to the gun club, for example, to test out the idea of "twin .45s dispensing their grim justice," was particularly illuminating. Between shooting for crap with your off hand, and being acutely aware of how much .45s ride up on you, I'm officially declaring gun-fu a super power, with all of the rights and priviledges implied therein. I'm taking it off the table for the range of what 'normal' people can do. For the record, bracing our shooting hand and taking aim yielded far more accurate results. Go figure.
Also on the menu was some time spent behind the stick of a WWII warbird combat flight simulator. This was a hoot and a thrill, from start to finish. I'm a big fan of that stuff, and so it was a relief to find that I could outfly Willingham and Williams when I needed to. I'll let the other guys chime in with their thoughts, but the incessant round of conversation was invaluable to me (and, I think, to everyone else, too) as we re-affirmed what we liked, what we wanted to write, and the idea that we could, in fact, write it.
And, if that's not enough, I made a friend. This is Oney, the dog of the folks I stayed with for part of the retreat. We got along famously. I petted him. He let me. Sometimes the simplest relationships are the best ones. Thanks, Mike and Stacy, for letting me borrow your dog. He's a keeper.
Okay, that's enough of that. As per usual, I've come back from the retreat with a stack of notes, things to work on in the next three months, and some pitches to polish. Thanks for the tough love, fellows. I appreciate the support, more than you can know.