The Liberating Failure of Learning Something New

I got this hair-brained idea last summer that I wanted to learn a language. It all started when I went to Paris with my daughter, who happily chattered her way through Paris cafes and department stores, through the Uzes market negotiating for AOC goat cheese and brightly colored napkins, ordering the bits of duck we cooked on a grill at our table outdoors in the plaza in front of our glorious, sun-drenched apartment. There she was, petite and lanky and gorgeous, perfectly dressed and coiffed in that casual but perfect teenage way she has, ordering le chocolat chaud and canard-being told everywhere what a great accent she had-while I couldn't even ask where the bathroom was.

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Barbara Levitt: How to Be a Writer

Barbara Levitt is a member of the Friday morning feedback class and is working on two different projects. She writes, "I grew up in South Africa, and moved to California in 1981. I am currently working on a semi-autobiographical novel about my life in South Africa, and a book called What's Hot in Menopause? based on anthropological research about menopause in other cultures." This was her response to the prompt, "How to Be a Writer."

The best way to be a writer is to lower your butt and your standards, and write.  But before you do that, you have to be an observer.  Life is your material, but if you live too fully, you will not write.  You will ... [Continue Reading]

When I Stop My Momentum

"In the center of our speed, in the core of our forward movement, we are often confused and lonely. That is why we have turned so full-heartedly to the memoir form. We have an intuition it will save us. Writing is the act of reaching across the abyss of isolation to share and reflect. It's not a diet to become skinny, but a relaxation into the fat of our lives. Often, without realizing it, we are on a quest, a search for meaning. What does our time on this earth add up to?" --Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend From Far Away

When I stop my momentum...

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Blessing in Disguise

“Probably one of the first strokes of grace in my life was my father’s becoming totally paralyzed when I was eight years old, because it led me to becoming the kind of person I am now. Sometimes we understand grace only in retrospect. If someone were to ask me what grace is, I would probably respond, “It’s all grace.” --Bo Lozoff, “Getting Free”

Tell me about a blessing in disguise.

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