Writing Retreat Aftershocks

Standard

(the main room at faith’s lodge courtesy of faithslodge.org)

Ah! The luxury of a writing retreat! February’s retreat was a biggie: Kate Hopper’s Motherhood and Words retreat at Faith’s Lodge.

I could give you the background on the Lodge (it’s a bereavement center for families who have lost a child.)

I could give you the backstory on how I first heard of it (from my high school friend Kara Thom.)

Or how Kara and I reconnected after our 20-year high school reunion (because I discovered I was pregnant with twins and Kara is a Super Twin Mama of the highest degree).

Or how through Kara I met my dear friend Mary.

I could tell you how I write in Mary’s living room every Wednesday and how much of my stuff is born there.

Or how Mary is one of the editors of our writing group’s book Mamas Write due out in April. (Actually I should be telling you a lot about this—you know, the whole “platform-building thing.”

I could tell you how remarkable it is to write with a group of women who write and share and belt it out.

Or I could just sum up the whole weekend with a fancy emoticon.

<3

You know, ‘cause what’s better than going to a writing retreat where you crack open your soul and scribble the stuff that leaks out and then coming home to write in symbols?

Guess it means I need another writing retreat.  🙂

Giselle in Three Acts of Life

Standard

“And then the Willis make him dance

(thank you wikipedia)

until he’s really tired and then they throw him in the lake.”

This was Chiara explaining the story of Giselle to four young boys under the age of four.

I was sixteen the first time I saw Giselle. American Ballet Theatre had come to San Francisco and Eddie Ellison (whom I was so sure had stolen my Walkman but to whom I said nothing because Eddie Ellison was really hot) snuck us into the Opera House and we watched from the standing-room-only area. Baryshnikov and Alessandra Ferri were dancing the leads. I was so star-struck by Alessandra Ferri that I waited at the artists’ entrance and got my first-ever autograph. Duncan Cooper snuck into the dressing rooms and stole what he claimed was Baryshnikov’s shoe.

The second time I saw Giselle, I was in it. As Giselle’s double in the second Act. The night before I’d boarded an overnight train that left Verona at midnight and arrived in Graz, Austria at 8 in the morning. I made my way from the train station to the ballet studio, took company class and afterwards the director said, “What are you doing today?”

Uh, going to Vienna to see what their ballet company is like?

“Because we need a dancer with brown hair for tonight’s performance of Giselle.”

So I stayed for rehearsal, “danced” in the performance, (which really meant being strung up in a harness and being floated across the stage), stayed in a B&B paid for the ballet company. I stayed a week (included one return trip to Verona to get fresh clothes, also paid for by the company), and sat in on a boatload of boring Act I rehearsals. I actually still have a small Austrian pension since ballet dancers are government employees.

The third time I saw Giselle was today sitting next to Chiara in the balcony of the San Francisco Opera House.