Writer’s Retreat With Dorian Haarhoff



Ah what a time…. what a time…. and the spirits of the place working along side us
All four of you moved me with your words.


It was so much more than the four days together – heart people and work, touching sacred Spaces.


Still filled with words, memories and gratitude


Word words wonderful words we laughed, we cried
we stumbled and fumbled dear patient Dorian how
could you resist your harem? Leshiba indeed a place for the soul…


Write, write, write. Spill the words onto a page and they will find their own story.


Story dice, Oh cards, collages, zen bells, visualizations and Dorian’s stories. We had to dig past our trained responses and we had to let go and just write. Dorian taught us that writing is a craft and once the words are there, we can play with them and turn them into something that speaks to a reader or a listener. We learnt to let go of our fears. We write for ourselves and when we do that, we find our own true voices.

Kiki’s words

Mountain top, wind and silence
allow me to listen

Wide open people, goodness in their hearts
allow me to feel

Cleverly thrown dice, producing pictures
allow me to think

Listening, feeling, thinking and willing
create words woven –
create beauty!

Gratitude and Grace is with
Leshiba’s mountains, souls and creations.


Dorian, our mentor, placed a heap of pictures down on the table. Select three said he, and write a story attached to the pictures you have chosen.

After everyone had finished I chose three; one was a house on a lake, peace, serenity.
The second one was a bed with a luxurious duvet, green leaves in the pattern, the bed was in a forest of trees. All I imagined you could hear was the rustling of the leaves.
The third picture was of three casks; one marked barley, the second hops the third water. I wrote; the grass is greener, is it?

Was I inspired? Did these pictures provoke me? Was I filled with a desire to leave my own ‘santum’ and find another? Peace and beauty, a cloudless sky, a thatched roof, a sense of stillness, far, far from the madding crowd. Water, water filling my soul with music.

I would shut my eyes and dream away the days. Dream of what has been. Dream of the joys, pleasures, maybe just maybe, the pain. If there was no pain, how would I recognise the pleasures?
The burning question is: would the words come in such an idyllic place if I brought my bed into the forest nearby, my luxurious bed with a duvet that matched the leaves? Heavenly bliss. How easy it would be to gather the leaves like stories, green with pulsating desire, fruitful, veined, eager, prolific, pouring down on to the bed, filling my head, my soul, with memories of those who made my story, of those who left, those who are still here.

Questions? Are you still here? What do you do? Do you remember?

“Do you remember an inn Miranda, do you remember an inn?”

Some memories are so vivid, alive as if it were yesterday and some I evoke by taking the mixture of barley, hops, water, to bring me the “spirit” that warms the “cockles of my heart” sweet, delightful cliché. Life after all is a series of clichés.

Sometimes you climb back into the bed, the bed in the forest, and you let the day pass, oblivious to everything, just acknowledging that you are alive, breathing in the leaves that tell the stories. The trees majestic, towering all around you, the water tranquil, so blue, the amazing pictures that tell you there is a God, look, listen, and know that all this has been created for your pleasure, for you to smile, and be at peace.

Nothing matters. One last sip, I can leave. Please don’t forget the lipstick, I will need adornment to meet all those who have already left.

Sybil Barnett
November 24th 2013.

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