Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reunion Results and Residency Requests

Once again, I have gone far too long with no entry in the blog. My apologies! To catch you up with the happenings, I did not lose ANY weight in time for the Class reunion. I actually gained 5 lbs and managed to take them back off in time, equaling a net loss of zero pounds. The best laid plans of mice and men and frustrated dieters everywhere!

The Class Reunion was great. We had a mixer on Friday night at Geneva-on-the-Lake at the Swiss Chalet. Most of the class had been there in their youth. I, however, never frequented the area, which my father considered a den of iniquity and the place where the wild kids hung out, ergo, off limits. We all had a blast trying to figure out who everyone was. Some people look very similar to their high school days, some you would never have guessed. The band playing was partially comprised of other St. John alumni.

We had not realized at the time this was scheduled, that it was the weekend for the annual Thunder on the Strip…completely overrun with bikers and biker babes! Serene quiet was not on the menu!
Saturday’s main event was held at Laurello’s Winery in the newly renovated banquet facility in the huge old barn. The atmosphere was wonderful. Everyone seemed to really enjoy being there. I was surprised at the amount of talking and mingling that went on…no evidence of old high school cliques. Everyone was truly happy to see everyone else. Kim Laurello and her staff provided wonderful food and excellent wine. They did a terrific job setting the place up. We had music playing from our high school days, but only loud enough to hear and enjoy without killing conversations. There were no lengthy speeches, no formal events, just everyone having a laid back, relaxed, good time. We had people come from as far away as California and Oregon. All in all, I would call the reunion a great success.

Work has been of bit of insane, and time is flying into the innards of fall. In a few weeks I’ll be leaving work and home and heading to a writer’s retreat on Middle Bass Island. Jim and Mom will hold down the fort while I’m gone for the weekend. I’m looking forward to this little time a way with great anticipation. Normally, when I run away for a writing weekend, I hole up in a hotel room somewhere and write. This time I will be one of seven writers getting together to work and share. It should be fun. We’ll all be staying at a house that used to be President Taft’s vacation cottage. Interestingly, the “cottage” appears to have seven bedrooms! I’ll definitely let you know how that weekend pans out.

I’m also looking into several options for 1 or 2-week residencies in writing for next summer. I sent my first application off on Saturday. I have novels to finish, and the occasional weekend doesn’t seem to quite cut it for fiction. So, I am determined to spend two weeks of solid time on writing next summer to see if I can’t finish up a novel or two. If a residency comes through, I’ll be reporting it here!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

It’s been a busy week since last I posted. Sorry for the lag. I don’t know if I’ve talked about this before. I’m a writer, but I pretty much stopped reading books about the time I decided to write them. The reasons for this were three-fold. First and foremost, I didn’t want to inadvertently write in someone else’s voice or style, nor did I want to have someone else’s words floating around in my head where they might find their way into my writing. Second, I was too busy writing to spend time reading. Third, when I read it is like an addiction. I start a book and I don’t put it down until I’m done. The only thing I can’t do while reading is drive. So for probably 15 years, I refrained from reading any other fiction.

Then I suddenly discovered the absolute joy of books on CD. This has been a mental date with Nirvana for me. I was missing the reading of books desperately, and I was completely out of touch with what was out there for a decade and a half. For the last five years or so, I’ve kept a constant flow of “spoken” books in my car. I actually hate to have someone in the car with me because I can’t listen to them and the books at the same time. I also keep a book on my MP3 player at all times so that I can listen while walking or biking. I don’t seem to have any problem listening to two different stories at the same time. I have “listened” to everything from Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons” to three different series by Clive Cussler, most of James Patterson, everything I can find by Kathy Reichs, Janet Evanovich, Jeffery Deaver, and on and on.

Prior to the last week, everything I’ve listened to has been fiction. With the release of the movie “Eat, Pray, Love,” I decided to get a copy at the library and listen to it. I have not seen the movie, but I can’t begin to imagine that the movie could do it justice. The author has verbalized in this one beautifully written and beautifully read text almost every question I have ever asked myself. Then she went out and found the answers to her questions, unlike most of us who are still asking and struggling.

So far I have listened to her through four months in Italy, and about three months in an ashram in India. Personally, I would love to visit Italy for a few months, but I cannot even imagine I would want to spend months in an ashram in India. The author is seeking God and enlightenment, while fighting what is necessary to find those things…the practice of looking into one’s self. It is fascinating to follow her progress as she discovers that God isn’t on some holy mountain, but within each of us to be called on as needed. If you haven’t yet had the chance to read “Eat, Pray, Love,” I would highly recommend that you do, whether visually or audibly on CD.

You might find that you are inspired by her search and her discoveries.