July 10, 2014
I apologize for four months of missing posts.
I began this blog over two years ago primarily as followup support and encouragement for writers who’ve attended my workshops and retreats. And it offered me a continuation of my teaching career (or soapbox) where sharing great writing and ideas about craft were natural.
A few days after my last post, my father passed away, just two months shy of his 100th birthday. People say, “Look how much time you spent with your father, what a great long life he lived.” And he did. Yet now I’m realizing that the length of time I knew him, nearly seventy years, also served to create so much more to mourn.
So that’s how it started–my disinclination to write blog posts, as well as the inability to find the solitude to write anything. The cliche, “If not now, when?” lately startles me with its urgency. Now I’m getting my house ready to rent out so I can spend 2015 mostly abroad, just writing. I already know I can write more effectively away from home than within all its distractions.
I might return with a good start on my emerging project, its fragments currently trailing over all my devices—dictations on Notes on my phone, thoughts recorded in Pages on my tablet, hand-written in my notebook, and documented more properly in Word on my computer. I hope to make sense of some ideas that have been flashing in and out of my mind during the past ten years or so as I’ve driven south to see my parents and later to care for my father, each time returning north to my home in the Bay Area . The constancy and diversity of that drive in every season affords long expanses of time to think, wonder and record observations, the highway a physical thread of discovery meandering north to south and back.
I know for sure I’ll be in Lake Como next fall–September 20–26, 2015–for my next Italy, in Other Words Memoir Writing Retreat. When I arrived in Varenna last month to scout the location, my first time in the area, it didn’t seem like the Italy I knew–not like Abruzzo, Rome or Tuscany, not like the Italy’s south at all. It seemed overly refined and insular, very large and nearly miniature. Yet it took only minutes to appreciate the stunning vistas as we climbed “a bit higher to paradise” up from the lake through a tiny town filled with gardens, iron railings, and palms, the lake emanating a lush silence. A few days longer and I realized how physically invigorating it was as well and left Varenna with a palpable sense of well being.
Alas, George Clooney was nowhere to be seen (notably not in the coffee shop where I’d imagined our encounter).