|Original site of Shakespeare & Company/Photo by Maureen Hammond|
But, as they say, life happens when you're planning something else.
In April, I traveled to my hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin and gave the workshop at Andrea's, a gift shop/cafe that has been on that spot for the past 100 years (fudge ripple ice cream was invented there). During that workshop, I even joined in with participants and wrote my own personal essay in class and read it aloud -- along with everyone else. A first for me.
On that trip to Wisconsin, however, I also had scheduled a workshop at the Senior Center in Shorewood (http://shorewood.patch.com/articles/capturing-a-slice-of-life-with-pen-and-paper), located, appropriately, right across the street from where my mother had lived. My mother's late-in-life writing career was the inspiration for my workshops in the first place. LaVerne Hammond wrote her first column for the St. Petersburg Times at age 86 and wrote monthly until her death at age 92. The columns are gathered in a volume entitled "Post Scripts: A Writing Life After 80."
But that second workshop in Shorewood never took place. While in Wisconsin, I landed in the hospital with a heart ailment. I had to cancel the Shorewood class and also the summer workshop at Shakespeare & Company in Paris. How do you say bummer in French?
But late bloomers, of course, are not easily discouraged. I still took the trip to France (although a much abbreviated one than planned and one where I relied greatly on the kindness of strangers, friends and relatives to see that I didn't overly exert my heart). And I even managed to write a travel memoir about my stay in Paris for the Washington Post travel section http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/a-midnight-in-paris-tour-takes-you-back-to-the-paris-of-the-20s/2011/07/18/gIQAcDEHhI_story.html Being in Paris, it turns out, did wonders for my heart.
search for Paris of the Twenties, inspired by
Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris." But like Gil
Pender, the movie's wannabe novelist who
magically is transported back to his favorite era,
I discovered that the best time to be in Paris is now.
In my article, I conjure up my own quirky Paris,
something that everyone who visits the City of
Lights inevitably does -- whether he or she writes it down or not.
So what's next for me and my ever-growing-stronger heart? Next April, I am planning to reschedule the class at Shakespeare and Company in Paris to encourage others to write of their own moveable feasts. That month, I also will be holding a weekend writing workshop at the Chateau des Sablons, a beautifully restored 18th century castle in the Loire Valley http://www.historicrentals.com/bourgueil/.
|France awaits you/Photo by Maureen Hammond|