May, 2019 – We have returned from Italy and are carefully savoring the memories of our week(s) in Italy while reflecting, writing, and sharing our life stories with fellow attendees; now dear friends. Words must be carefully chosen to capture the very special nature of this enchanting experience.
Beginning with each participants arrival, whether it was with family, friend, or solo, each person was spellbound as the car or train wound its way through the countryside. The mountainous surroundings draped gloriously with wakening vineyards and small villages, welcomed all to take in the tranquility of the location. As each guest settled in to their apartment, they each anxiously donned walking shoes to stroll the one main cobblestone street and visit each of the village shops. Taking in their gracious hospitality and sampling each store’s offerings soon set the tone and routine for the week. Two daily stops at the local cafe to greet Roberta, provided the bookends to each day. Freshly pressed espresso in the morning and a glass of asti to “ching, ching” in the evening were essential. Immediate grocery necessities were well satisfied at the small corner grocery store where Dennis did his best to understand our English, or interpret our meager Italian phrases. Specialty cheeses of stracchino or parmesan were a must as well as restocking our crisp flatbread and beverage supply. Fresh meats were readily available at the butcher shop and fresh flowers at the flower shop. One was always reminded of the quaint location by the hourly chiming of the bells as they rang across the rolling hillsides and echoed back to bounce off of the village’s stone buildings.
Just outside of town, down the country road and around tight corners was Graziella’s family owned winery. She graciously provided all guests with a history of winemaking, the land, her family, and the community. All this was shared as we circled around her sturdy wooden table and sipped the wide range of specialty wines produced just outside the small door in the rolling fields about us. Each wine sample was partnered with savory morsels fresh from the oven prepared by her sister. Graziella spoke softly and passionately, eager to share her lifelong endeavor and the contentment she had found in mastering the art of winemaking. These were truly the best wines I tasted in all of Italy.
This set the stage for our memoir writing classes. Each morning we gathered in the taverna of a local Villa around a generous table comfortably furnished with cushioned chairs and soft lighting. We explored themes that triggered memories, emotions, laughter, and tears. Skills were teased into refinement, and the daily warm-ups allowed everyone to quickly focus. Each sharing session amazed and awed the listeners as story after story was read. Each story, from every unique individual adorned the reader’s life journey and understanding by fellow classmates. Often speechless, each listener smiled and softly gasped at the skill woven into each story. It was simply and purely moving to each person gathered.
As the week drew to a close, echoes of “next time” were heard as each departed in their own direction to continue the travel adventure before returning home.
This story shall continue and more chapters be written as more writers take up the invitation to participate in a Destination Memoir Adventure.
March 18, 2019 – Two weeks until the first group departs for Italy! So much excitement, planning, and creative thought have brought us to today. Our hosts, Anne and Denise are eager to welcome each of the two groups to LaGiostra, their private villa just outside of Morsasco, Italy. Each of the guests will be graciously accommodated in apartments located under the shadow of the Morsasco castle. The apartments are available through a local agriturismo proprietor. Time spent in motivational, reflective, and sharing experiences will trigger the material for each participant to reflect and write on their life adventures. Daily workshop time will be divided between group activities and individual time to write and reflect on a theme. Other parts of the day will be enjoyed with a cooking class, market exploration, countryside sightseeing, chorale music, and long chats with locals while enjoying the flavor of Northwestern Italy. We will certainly have another wonderful life adventure to include in our memoirs.
October 20, 2018 – We are well underway. The adventure of anticipation, planning, and preparation for an Italian Memoir opportunity has begun. Fourteen individuals are currently registered for the 2 one-week memoir workshops. Virginia and I are ecstatic! Most of us are checking flights, looking at booking those tickets or have booked already. Aside from anticipating the memoir writing extravaganza that will occur, individuals are each making plans to connect with family and/or friends before of after the workshops. Some are becoming more familiar with the language, exploring the cuisine that awaits, checking out must see locations, and learning how to order coffee. See this great article for proper terminology: 12 Ways to Order Coffee in an Italian Café
Updates will continue on this page as we savor this upcoming adventure while trying to keep our feet on the ground until April.
August 31, 2018 A quaint villa, La Giostra, resting against the outskirts of Morsasco Italy, will be the setting for a Spring 2019, 5-day memoir writing workshop that I will be facilitating. The historical and picturesque village of Morsasco is nestled in the Hills of the Piemonte (Piedmont) region of North Western Italy. Known for slow food, fine wine, and castles with Italian Renaissance architecture, this country-like setting, and serenity of life make this an ideal location to release your writing spirit and rejuvenate your soul.
We all know and have experienced the benefits of writing on our life’s adventures. Whether these adventures were joyful, terrifying, educational, instructive, exhilarating, or just plain memorable, taking the time to record these stories preserves them for future reflection by you or your loved ones. As with the TYE Memoir Writing class you have taken, the added benefit of this workshop, aside from location, location, location, is that we will be conducting the workshop in a group setting with the luxury of a full week to focus. Distractions will be left at home! In this trusted and confidential environment, you will have instructional and motivational memoir activities, time to write, and time to share with the group (maximum of 6). This is a win, win, win opportunity.
The dates for this 5-day workshop will be April 8 – 12, 2019, OR April 15 – 20, 2019 (the second week will be added only if the first week fills).
Doesn’t this sound absolutely wonderful? An informational gathering will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 1:00 pm, at my home. At this informational session, my co-host, Virginia Walker and I, will outline your memoir writing experience in more detail, I have the memoir workshop details and Virginia has the location and accommodation details. What I can tell you now is that the memoir part of this experience will be rich, engaging, and allow you time and thought to continue your writing journey each and every day. I also know the location is one of the world’s most culturally rich and beautiful settings imaginable.
Since this is not a “tour” package per say, your travel arrangements and activities outside of workshop time are your own to plan. Of course, the group may indeed make plans to explore together during the week.
Please let me know if you are interested in this wonderful opportunity and seriously consider joining us at the informational session. We will try to answer all questions. Plans are being made well in advance to allow for several pre-trip gatherings to become acquainted, create individual writing goals, and plan for the adventure.