I have never been a person who has cared about money, or perhaps more accurately, I have never cared about having an excess of money. My financial goals were basically to be able to pay the bills, put the kids through college, and have some sort of retirement fund. I never really cared about trips to Europe, or lots of jewelry, expensive cars, etc. I mean, if you can afford those things, that’s great; but if you can’t that’s great too. They really just don’t matter. I have never had a single instance in my life where I suddenly longed for money to do something or buy something extravagant. Until about a week ago…
I was reading Elizabeth Berg’s blog. Okay, first of all, if you don’t know who Elizabeth Berg is, she is an amazing writer who writes beautiful novels about real women facing real issues. If you are a woman, and you have not read one of her books, stop reading this silly blog, go to Amazon, and buy one now! In fact, here is a link to three of my favorites, Joy School and Range of Motion and Say When (the last written from a man’s point of view) but it doesn’t matter which Elizabeth Berg novel you buy, just go buy one. Here is another link to her Author’s Page on Amazon where you can see all of her books. In fact, (and I cannot believe I am going to write this!), if I knew that you could only buy one book and you were thinking about buying my first novel, Life is But a Dream: On the Lake (Grace Adams Series)
, or one of her books, I would tell you to buy one of her books. Because she is a better writer. And you will love her. And you will then want to buy all of her books. And how fun will that be! In fact, if anyone reads this and discovers Elizabeth Berg through this blog, email me and tell me how much you love her. I would love to know that I introduced her work to you!
Okay, back to my story… Anyway, I am reading Elizabeth’s blog and I learn that she is going to be doing a writer’s workshop in Positano, Italy during June 11 to 17, 2011 – Saturday to Friday . The name of it is Amalfi Coast Writer’s Worshop With Elizabeth Berg: Scribing, Chef’s Kitchen & Writers Walk.
This will be a combination cooking/writing class held at a cooking school where Berg recently attended classes for cooking. She wrote about the experience for National Geographic Traveler and you can find the article online article here Amalfi Coast: A Moveable Feast .
Here is a description of the June workshop from the website:
Discuss and learn how to make your page come alive with Elizabeth Berg in outrageously beautiful Positano. While you are there, enjoy not only a marvelous stay at a seaside villa property hotel and the sumptuous cooking classes featured in her popular National Geographic Traveler cover story, but also enjoy a writing workshop. By focusing on character, place, and dialogue, you will learn what constitutes interesting detail. You will also learn how to select those things that will advance and help shape a story. You will return home with a finished piece of work, either a short story or a narrative essay based on your stay in Positano.
The workshop will be structured in this way:
- Every morning, the participants will meet with Elizabeth for half an hour over breakfast in order to have questions answered, and to discuss the assignment of the day.
- Meet Elizabeth each morning for a short briefing, and also four times during the week for Elizabeth’s 3-hour Writer’s Studio.
- Participants will have free time to prepare their finished (up to ten pages) story to be read aloud to Elizabeth and the group on Thursday night.
This workshop will teach you about what techniques work best for you as a writer. You will also have a chance to see how others respond to your work, through kind but honest critiquing. Best of all you will be given tools that you can continue to use at home.
Your accommodations are at a villa-style hotel located in the center of Positano overlooking the sea. This exquisite property, was the set location of Frances Mayes Under the Tuscan Sun, offers private balconies for each bedroom facing the sea. Surrounded by flowered pergola, greenery and a common terrace that spans Positano, you will surely be inspired to write. Cool ceramic tiles line each large bedroom, with a private bathroom and shower in each room. Additional amenities include: hairdryer and air conditioning. Breakfast is served each morning, and daily maid service is provided for your convenience.
Okay, as if the idea of hanging out with Elizabeth and chatting about writing wasn’t enough, I read that John Steinbeck (who just happens to be my other favorite writer) lived in Positano in 1953 and wrote, “Positano bites deep, it’s a dream place, that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”
I read those words and that was it for me. I started crying (I know – pathetic) and said to my husband, “Is there any way I could do this?” Which, of course, I already knew the answer to. We just cannot afford this now. Maybe we will never be able to afford something this wonderfully selfish and extravagant. So, I went into the bathroom, cried a little and felt sorry for myself, and then began thinking of ways I can market my book and my writing. After all, Elizabeth worked her way there. Her writing, mere beautiful words on paper, earned her that week in Positano. Just as John’s writing had earned him his. So, enough feeling sorry for myself and back to writing.
But, if the reservations aren’t already taken (limited, so hurry), maybe YOU can go. If you do, email me via the contact form on this website and tell me about it. Just don’t tell me how you and Elizabeth are now buddies and you have plans to do lunch back in the states. That would just be mean.
If Elizabeth Berg teaches this workshop in Positano again (and why wouldn’t she?), maybe I will see you there next year, or the year after that, or maybe the year after that….
And now back to work.
Cheryl Shireman is the bestselling author of several novels, including Broken Resolutions, the Life is But a Dream series, and the Cooper Moon series. She is also the author of ten books for toddlers including the eight Let’s Learn About series focusing on different animals and I Love You When: For Girls and I Love You When: For Boys.