Wednesday, November 7, 2012

to write or not to write....

this is the question.

I attended a writing class tonight with the English in Toulouse group.
It is a wonderful little font of information and connection if you find your self in Toulouse for a bit.
Narelle is a warm gentle soul, inviting and helpful, who orchestrates the gatherings.
If you want to practice speaking English or want to connect with other English speaking people, there are opportunities weekly on Tuesday afternoon and Friday evening. How great is that.

Back to the writing group. 
Six came together, and with a couple of different exercises,
we were writing and sharing our stories.
Such an interesting mix of women, perspectives and imagination.

"Write drunk, edit sober..." Ernest Hemingway

We ordered drinks and discussed the benefit of drinking for budding writers.
I sat next to Ann. She writes a blog about her adventures in Toulouse.
She wrote the funniest blog post about kissing in the workplace which was just what my French husband was experiencing in the first few weeks here.
It was a timely & insightful read.

For me attending tonight was bigger than just going to a writing class.
It was about being brave and having the confidence to go to a place i had not been before,  meet with people i don't know and do an activity that exposes some creative vulnerabilities.

Oprah Winfrey quote by Marloes de Vries

I am not a writer. 
I keep a blog. 
But it is mainly for me and my 3friends who read it 
and now my extended family who are interested in this big adventure.

We were given a selection of maybe 10words and i tried to put them all in the story.
This is what i wrote in 10mins:

The cactus pie was a favourite of her grandmothers. The recipe included chilli, enough to warm your cheeks but not blow your socks off.
Her grandfather always added extra chilli. They lived in a canyon where it never snowed. Now that she was grown with a family of her own she lived in snow three quarters of the year. The trampoline was only used in the summer. She made cactus pie all year long.  In winter it was filled with zucchini and in summer they drank beer with it. 
Her grandparents were gone, but she sent cards to her mother with the children playing in the snow. They never tired of the cold. She felt it bitterly, as she was not from here. With the cat on the windowsill, she drank her tea and watched the children play. She decided ”I will make cactus pie tonight.”  Her husband walks in the door with a bucket of fresh fish. Maybe fish pie instead. 

Stepping out of my comfort zone is the whole purpose of this trip.
Stretch, grow, explore, play, find freedom in time and space 
and overcome ordinary challenges that at home would be simple.
When we take risks (even relatively safe ones) we open up to exciting possibilities.
Tonight was a wonderful chance for me to meet some lovely women, 
chat about some interesting things and challenge my creative muscles.
I have missed the connection to women, my matriarchy of a family and great friends. 

Through English In Toulouse i have made a new friend.
This friendship has been a surprising gift.
We have been together only a handful of times and yet it is like we have known each other a lot longer.
Ever had that?
A kindred like in Anne of Green Gables. 
Ann Shirley and Diana Barry who just enjoy each others company. 

Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. 
It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

sparkle when you meet a kindred
& twirl into your own writing group


Paulita said...

This sounds like a great experience. Friends, drinking and writing sound like the best mix ever. What can you lose by writing?

Amy75 said...

Great to have met you last night. I really enjoyed our chat and reading your story. I think we should come up with a recipe for cactus pie. Bon retour! Amy

Jappy said...

What a great story, done in 10 minuets. So happy you got into this English group in Toulouse. Every time I think Toulouse, I think of Mary Moody, you should write a book Dana.
Love, Jappy

Teena said...

my heart just melted when i read your little story ... i felt your warmth and familiarity ... lets have fish pie real soon ... miss ya

Teena said...


love your brave heart especially

Narelle Lewis said...

Thank you for those kind words, Dana. :-) I've only just made the time to read this, and now I wish I'd read it much sooner!

I will miss you and your infectious bubbly-ness when you leave Toulouse, but I am glad that I have had the chance to meet and get to you and happy to hear that I helped you in some small way during your time in La Ville Rose. :-)

See you tonight for another session of creativity!

Narelle Lewis said...

Oops! I missed a word!
*change to meet and get to _know_ you