Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Writing Barn

Last weekend I ventured south to Austin, TX (with the lovely Bettina Restrepo as my traveling partner) to attend Sara Zarr's Advanced Writing Workshop on Emotional Pacing at the Writing Barn. What an amazing experience! Thought I'd share some photos (click to enlarge) . . .

The Writing Barn is situated in a large, wooded plot in south Austin. When we arrived for the mixer Friday night there was a magical atmosphere to the place. Cool and misty with a herd of deer wandering about -- like something out of a fairy tale. (Sadly, the herd eluded my camera.)

Here I am mixing it up with Samantha Mabry and Sue MacLeod. (You can see more photos from that night--all taken by Sam Bond of Sam Bond Photography--on the Writing Barn Facebook page.)

Saturday morning started with a lecture on Emotional Pacing from Sara Zarr. (One little tidbit from Sara's lecture as written in my notes: "It helps to have some understanding of human psychology, for this can deepen the story. Co-dependent No More is a great craft book!" Who knew? I'm definitely getting a copy.)

Sam Bond's photo of Sara Zarr truly captures her sassy charm, don't you think? I already had an author crush on Sara--I adore her books--but now I know how warm and funny and REAL she is in person. Yay!

After lunch we gathered for the afternoon workshop. Oy. This is where I confess that I've never truly workshopped a piece of writing before. I have critique partners, of course, and we get excellent work done, but we've all known each other for years and are comfortable giving feedback. I'd never done this with people I hadn't met before. Each piece was allowed 30 minutes for discussion, starting with positive feedback and then transitioning to concerns and suggestions for improvement. Intense! And incredibly illuminating. (The workshop continued all day Sunday.)

Our esteemed hostess, Bethany Hegedus, took this photo. We are standing on the site of a future building that will house eight people for a writing retreat. As Christina Mandelski said, "If you build it, they will come!"

I'm certainly planning a return to the Writing Barn. Thank you, Bethany and Sara!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April is for tea with friends (including our pal Jane)

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at Dragonmoon Tea Company with friends Brandi, Michelle (who was visiting from Tennessee), and Ange. This was our third year of taking tea together in Tulsa. May the tradition go on and on!

Click here for a closer look at the tea tray: scrumptious scones, sandwiches and sweets!

This month's tea recommendation: During our visit I enjoyed more than one cup of Organic Irish Breakfast from the Metropolitan Tea Company. (Follow the link to order from the charmingly named Tweed & Hickory Loose Teas.)

Michelle and I also enjoyed tea during our marathon of Jane Austen adaptations (inspired by our obsession with the Lizzie Bennet Diaries). We watched Pride and Prejudice '95, Emma '09, and Persuasion '07*. Can you identify the film we're watching in the above photo? :)

Cedric always joined us for tea, but he preferred Michelle's company to mine. As a keen lapstalker, he knows a cuddly warm napping spot when he sees it!

*Speaking of Persuasion, I would love to indulge in a fantasy casting of a new, let's say, three-part BBC adaptation, but perhaps that's best for another post? I'll still take suggestions in the comments below. Persuasion really should be given the screentime it's due, don't you think? I'm raring for a re-read.

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring comes to campus

Here in central Oklahoma it often feels like we go straight from summer to a very brief winter before spring comes 'round again. When the thermometer hits 80 in March, I panic -- 100+ temps can't be too far off, right?

And yet . . . on days like Saturday, I have to admit that spring is our prettiest season.

Some proof:

Spring is also nice because it's when my dear friend Michelle comes to visit. Huzzah!

P.S. I experienced several years of looooong winters in Milwaukee (with blizzards in May!), and I hope these photos bring hope to those who live in colder climes. Warm days are coming!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]