Homeward Bound

It’s the end of a long, wonderful trip. It actually feels like I’ve been in Italy a lot longer than I have. What an amazing group we had the honor to travel with. It was an honor to create this retreat with Graseilah Coolidge and Karyn Bristol and Virginia and Rodolfo, our wonderful hosts who …

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The Last Full Day at the Villa

I’m going to miss these meals—today is our last full day at the Villa. We transfer back to Florence tomorrow. 10 of us will be doing an in-depth tour of Florence for four days. Everyone else flies home or goes on to other destinations tomorrow. This is the very beginning of olives-the flowers are coming …

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Doorway Man

Yesterday, because we had an all-day outing to Lucca, we didn’t have time for our usual sit-down writing class, so I gave my students a travel assignment: “While you’re in Lucca, look for a story. Find a moment in your day that you can write about. It can be something you experienced, an interaction you …

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Every Day at the Villa

Every day at lunch and dinner, my co-leader Graseilah Coolidge rings a fork on a glass to get everyone’s attention, stands and describes what we’re eating for each course of our three course meal. Here she is introducing the second course of our lunch today. Turn up your volume.

Writing Prompt at the Villa

We did one of my favorite writing prompts in class this morning, based on this poem: Imperfectionby Elizabeth Carlson I am falling in love with my imperfectionsThe way I never get the sink really clean,forget to check my oil,lose my car in parking lots,miss appointments I have written down,am just a little late. I am …

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A Thread of Purpose

“I don’t need to create my life. I only need to follow the thread that’s already there.” —Unknown Tell me about a positive thread in your life that has always been there. Even if you couldn’t see it at the time—but only in retrospect—tell me about one thread that has woven through your life and …

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Doors of Lucca

We spent the day in the walled city of Lucca today, an all day outing from our home base at the Villa. I spent the first couple of hours on a rented bike on top of the city’s walls, a 4.2 kilometer loop, then opted out of the group tour and wandered off on my …

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More than Just Food

If you’ve been following my Tuscany Virtual Vacation blog for the last week, you might think all we do day after day is eat phenomenal food, look at remarkable beauty, and have amazing outings. But actually, we spend several hours in writing class every morning. Here’s one of the writing exercises I gave my students …

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