Sunday, December 31, 2006

Its Warm that means its winter

Well so far winter in the UK has seen warm sunny days and up until today, not even a frost - in contrast Summer in Australia has seen very cold days and even snow. Snow in winter in Oz is abig deal but snow in summer is freaky. Most Xmas in Sydney it is hovering around the 90 degrees and people race to the beach as soon as lunch is over. Not any more. Friends called me to say they were sitting by the heaters.

Will someone tell George Bush to pull his finger out and start taking global warming seriously?????? Georgie, The Kyoto Agreement is not going to upset your funding buddies much more than a fried planet and starvation for most of the world and the daily killing of wildlife through destruction of habitat.
Remember,One Polar Bear bill doesn't make a environmental activist George.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

July - It must be Scotland!

Ok 2007 is just a few sleeps away. I have decided that I am not going to make any resolutions this year.....they always get broken and then I feel like I have broken my promise to myself.

2007 is going to be the year of doing great things and writing...really writing and not just talking about it.
This will be helped by the 4 fantastic writing holiday/workshops this year. That is four!!! One in France, one in Scotland, one in US and one in Australia.
If you have harboured a secret yearning to visit any of those places and havent got around to doing it because you didnt want to go on your own and none of your friends were interested in joining you because they wanted to go off and do an archeological dig in Egypt.
If you want to do more than just lie by a hotel swimming pool then you could join a group of interesting and life loving eccentric people and get down to your writing at the same time.

I will publish more information when the final itinerary is ready for each of the workshops. Just for starters, the workshop in Scotland will be held in the middle of summer and I am really excited about it because I really love the islands. There will be walking and talks from the local history gurus and of course, writing.

Now France, I have previously mentioned but as it is not until September the pressure is not on that yet and I won't bore you with any more carrying on about it.

When the weather gets cooler in Europe you can head south to Australia with an optional week in NZ. For testimonials email me...the people on the last Aussie trip loved it. They went to Sydney,The Blue Mountains, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.

So there's plenty of time to start saving your pennies and looking forward to 2007 writing adventures

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Burning the Clocks!

The Clocks have been burnt in Brighton celebrating again that we have managed to get to that point where we are moving from the dark long days of winter towards the light days of summer passing Spring along the way.Isnt it heartening that smack bang in the middle of the Xmas crazy season, at the height of the Xmas shopping, the town people forget about their spending? They get together to celebrate the Solstice and mark this turning point of the year

I just love it that at some soul level such a "pagan" festival still resonates with many of us whether we are Christian or Muslim or Spiritualists or whatever.

I guess despite all the glitz and the learning we are still all just simple creatures of the earth and we depend on the earth still turning and the sun still rising and the moon sending us a little crazy at times. Check out the site below and if you can get to Brighton next year check it out it is great fun and takes the "crazy" out of Xmas.

It also means that the Biography Workshop in San Diego is not far away and the Workshop in France is getting closer too.

More about that in the new year~~

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another Reason to Go to France

Just remember if the stuff and nonsense of the Festive Season is getting out of hand.....sit down and write!!! It's funny how a few words on the page can remind you that Christmas is not jsut about the shopping.

Merry Xmas!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

To eat, write or just relaaax? I can have the lot!

People ask me if I go on my workshops primarily to write or is it just an excuse for having a holiday. I always answer emphatically "No excuse needed"! If I was only concerned about writing then I could stay at home and look out of my window at the garden and write, write, write. The garden is beautiful and the weather in Australia is pleasant but the truth is I love travelling and I love writing and I love meeting new people so these workshops are my perfect idea of a holiday.

In organising these trips there is a more altruistic side to my perfect holiday plans. It is exciting to travel and I have found that when people are away from their day to day stucture they are much more open to being creative and writing from a more open place. And I love seeing people enjoy themselves - eating well, relaxing and just having fun with a group of likeminded people.

There is something warm about arriving at a new place and being greeted by a group of people who are as interested in writing as you are. From the very beginning of the holiday/workshop you belong. It is not unusual for all the members of the group to have travelled to the workshop alone, leaving family or partners behind. They are ready to particpate in the work and getting to know people.

The very act of writing and maybe reading it in a group is an act of bravery, not that anyone is expected to read their work out loud unless they want to. The funny thing is that it is often the most reluctant person on the first few days who wants to read EVERYTHING they write by the end of the 10 days. You also learn so much more about a person when they start to reveal themselves in their stories.

I am really hopeless at drawing or any visual work but we always include a few exercises that have some visual component over the holiday. Despite being really not that "advanced" (to put it lightly!) in the visuals I still love it. I get to use Colour and crayons and pencils and because I have no great expectations of creating a masterpiece I have a great time. The other thing is, than in the process of "looking" or "seeing" you begin to notice details that you might not have picked up before. All this helps the writing process.

The local area is always a wonderful opportunity to explore and develop our writing skills. I am anticipating that the south of France will not disappoint us at all with its wonderful countryside, people and architecture. I am really excited about this trip as you can tell.

Friday, December 15, 2006

France in September

This year we are going to rural south of France for two weeks of writing, eating and exploring.We have found a wonderful little place to hold our summer workshop.( Last year it was two weeks in Australia)
The group will be limited to ten again. I have found this is a good size. It means those who wish to bring their non-writing partners can do so and we can keep the afternoons free so that we can look around the area and enjoy the local sights and visit the markets etc. If the group decides to sightsee further afield we can organise that.
Those who are coming from Australia are actually taking another week and seeing Paris whilst they are over this side of the world.
We are going to do some general "getting back on the writing track workshop" and also this year we have decided to look at our descriptive writing and how that can enhance our work.
I can't wait. I havent been to this area for about ten years and I just love it. September is my favourite month in Europe.
If you are interested in joining us email me early as we already have 5 people who have put their hands up to go.

There's no snow in San Diego!

Getting through winter can be a hard slog! January seems to drag on an on and the days never seem to get longer. I have made it a habit to head for somewhere warm and do something creative every February. February is a good time for cheap air tickets too.
This February we have organised a creative workshop in San Diego County. Two days "filled to the gunnels" with activities, great meals, conversation and walks is just the ticket for me to shake of the winter cobwebs. The February 2007 workshop will focus on biography and we will explore ways of accessing and highlighting experiences and memories for your personal life story.
I try to keep our workshops to about ten people. This gives us all the chance to have a say and really connect with each other. After all whilst this is a serious workshop we still want to enjoy this short break in the warm.
If you want more information about our program of workshops or you feel you might like to join is in San Diego in February email me and I will get back to you. I am in the UK at the moment but I check my mail every day.
Now I am heading off to London with the hoards of other people who are spending way too much money on things people really dont want for Xmas.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Have pen and a passport

What first inspired me to email that obscure address in Taos New Mexico?
I don't recall that I was even planning a holiday or trip. It was a hard time for me and I can vaguely remember sitting at my desk in Sydney Australia wondering what kind of holiday I could have as a 50+ single woman that wasn't going to involve sitting on a coach doing "Senior" things.

The truth is I didn't feel "Senior". I don't know what "senior" is meant to be. It smacked of a much more sedate and conservative me than I was feeling or intended to feel at that particular time.
50+ means no kids to think about, 50 years of unlived dreams and not having to worry if your "bum looks big" in your new jeans. The unfocussed energy of earlier years was being replaced by a new sense of focus and courage and a yearning for new experiences. Maybe it was just a whim to look for a holiday that would push me to explore my talent and unknowingly give me the chance to meet a load of interesting people who were also looking to explore life through writing.

I had never heard of Taos. I thought New Mexico was in Mexico. In fact, apart from Washington DC I had never been east of Los Angeles.

Maybe there was an unspoken fear that time was running out and I might never get down to writing. It was time to stop the talk and start doing it.

My future holidays were NEVER going to be sitting by a hotel pool feeling old and alone. Whatever it was that took me to Taos, it was an inspired choice and became one of the best decisions I had made in years. As a result I met wonderful people and made some lasting friendships. I also found myself energetically pursuing my writing.

This experience was so incredibly positive I really wanted other aspiring writers and creative people to enjoy a similar experience. With my friend from San Diego we set out to plan an ongoing program of creative trips for writers and artists of all ages, Trips which would provide an opportunity for them to visit other countries with a few new friends and spend the mornings taking part in creative tasks.

This blog will remember some of the great moments of past tours and talk about the plans for future trips.

I hope you join us.