I was at Writers Boot Camp at Wilkes Universtiy, Wilkes Barre PA for a week, returning home on June 23. It was intense as well as invigorating. The first session was the intro 3 credit graduate course, in the Creative Writing Masters Degree Program. I emailed the final project for the course today. Whew and Woo Hoo!!
I was ambivalent about starting such an endeavor at my age but with encourgement from my husband and family, I did it. We had to read several books about writing before and during the course. My favorite two were Dorethea Brande’s Becoming a Writer, written in 1934 and still perfectly pertinent, and Stephen King’s On Becoming a Writer. (Yes, that Stephen King!), too many people disregard him as not literary, but anyone who wrote such powerful stories as The Green Mile, Delores Claiborne, and The Shawshank Redemption deserves to be heard. He is a master of his art.
I met many new friends, even a lovely lady from Melbourne, Australia. I was impressed with the writing aptitude demonstrated by the students in our cohort group. A diverse and somewhat motley crew who became a tight unit of support for each other. One youung man helped me so much to learn their computer system that I called him my adopted grandson, I wouldn’t have made it without him!
The classes were taught by qualified sucessful authors. I met dozens of authors, playwrights, poets, screenplay writers, and publishers. They spoke openly of their writing work habits, schedules and spaces. No two were exactly alike but they all had one thing in common. They wrote and they wrote at least 5 days a week. some were almost militant about the need for closing the door, shutting out the world and writing for several hours everyday. While others had a more relaxed approach. They were all approachable and some were even friendly to the students. The next course will be taking up much of my time during the next six months. Enough about that.
My dad is serioulsly ill, I was late getting to school because I wanted to be with him when the doctor drained 4 pints of fluid from the pleural cavity around his lungs. His right lobe was still1/3 covered. But Dad was able to breathe a little easier. Lab tests revealed multiple cancer cells in the fluid. It is hard to face. Dad says no treatment, no invasive biopsy. He told the doctor,”Well, when you live this long, you have to know that somethin’s gonna get you sooner rather than later.” He’ll be 90 in August. He’s always been my rock. Tomorrow we meet with the lung specailist and he’ll decide how he wants to handle this.
We watched one good movie since my last blog, Of God and Men. A very powerful and unforgetable movie. It’s also French with subtitles.
Keep reading my friends. Later,
It’s a beautiful warm sunny day with no humidity. I love this weather. We finally have all the planting done for summer. I had blisters and callouses on my hands by the time we had mulched and planted our flowers, even though I did less than previous years. I watered all the plants this morning while walking Lucas, our helpful little pooch. It is lovely and definitely worth the required efforts.
But that is not the adventure, that’s just life and a nice life at that. I’ve long wanted to take more writing classes but didn’t want to commit the required time and money. Then my husband and I talked and talked about it. He encouraged me to apply and celebrated with me when I was accepted into the Low Residency Master’s Program at Wilkes University. That’s my adventure! I’m excited and apprehensive at the same time. I hope it will be a positive experience.
Tomorrow is the day…I’m almost ready. I still have to finish packing my clothes. Today I’ve actually organized my desk and cleaned it off for the first time in months. Believe me that feels good. I made several trips to the garbage can in the garage…I found catalouges with long forgotten clothing tabbed to order…that were never ordered. Saved myself a bundle there!
My father will be 90 years old in 6 weeks. He is having a surgical procedure in the morning, I will stop by the hospital and wait with other family members to make sure he’s out of recovery and okay before drivng to the University. My mother passed two years ago today…
I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t read a book in the last two weeks. But we did see two movies worth mentioning. Both from Netflicks. The best was a 2011 movie, We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon and Scarlet Johanason. Beautiful family movie with something for everyone. We loved it. Last night we watched, Duets, an older movie about Kareoke competition starring young Gwenyth Paltrow, Paul Giamatti and many more. it was funny, sad and silly but also had a deeper more serious level. Giamatti floored me with his singing and range of acting ability! I’d never seen him in anything but very serious roles before.
Before I finish packing, I will attend a Book Launch Reception at the library this afternoon for Kimberly Young’s debut novel, The Eighth Wonder. I read an early copy and loved it. She has written several successful nonfiction books on internet addiction. She’s a lovely person, we’re members of the same Book Club.
Another recent activity that took some of my reading time was an NRA Gun Safety Course. I learned so much. I had only shot a gun once before. And turns out I’m a pretty good shot. It is much harder than a person would suspect from only watching others do it in life or in the movies. I recommend the course to everyone.
Till next time, enjoy the summer and keep reading.
I’ve mentioned before…I love the change of seasons. As I look out my window on this rainy Sunday afternoon, I see bright green rolling hills, the wooded areas are lush and dark like a tropical forest. And I sigh contendedly. I love Pennsylvania and I love not having to water my gardens everyday. My meager attempts never make them flourish as vibrantly as when God waters them!
I finished reading the last book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, Mockingjay. It was incredilbly exciting. Somehow the author made each book better than the one before it. I was completelty blindsided by the ending and that rarely happens to me. Guess you can tell I loved the series!
I forgot to mention a few weeks ago I was able to fullfill one of the biggest dreams of my life…I traveled to Harrisburg with my husband and another couple, dear friends… bless them all for sharing my desire to see Garrison Keillor live on stage. It was not a sold out venue but it was a very large and attentive crowd. This man is a master story teller, he walked out on the stage in a dark pinstriped suit and white shirt wearing his red high top sneakers, with a coordinated red tie. Thick dark rimmed glasses and a shock of thick dark hair– I don’t think he spends the kind of money former presidential candidate John Edward did having his hair cut and styled! He proceeded to tell us stories about coming of age in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota. We laughed till we cried listening to his self depreciating stories on narrow escapes and those not quite escaped from…
After speaking two hours, perhaps telling these stories for the thousandth times and making it sound so spontaneous like he was telling us for the first time ever. Then he wound up his final story, thanking us for coming, bowing before walking off stage. A standing ovation brought him back for a final wave of good by. I have to say he is much more handsome in real life than I expected from photos I’ve seen of him and even from the movie he made a few years ago with LillyTomlin and Mery Streep, Prarie Home Comapnion. (It is very good if you haven’t seen it yet.)
After the show I had to walk several blocks to the parking lot …in a downpour. When I arrived back at the theater with the car, my husband had gotten his autograph for me! He signed it: ’Love and strawberries, Garrison Keillor. ‘ What a hoot! They sat in the car and insisted I join a very short line and meet my hero. He was so shy, couldn’t even make eye contact with his fans. A short elderly lady in front of me told him she never missed his radio shows and loved the stage show she’d just seen. He stared at the ground and almost mumbled, “Not much of a show, just an old man standing on the stage talking.” Oh, it was soo much more than that! A few minutes later we pulled out on the street and there walking beside us on the sidewalk was Mr. Keillor, our favorite genius, without an umberella, pulling his carry on luggage behind him as his red sneakers slushed through the puddles of fresh rain water.
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Till next time, keep reading!