Deb Blackmore is a long-time member of Laura's Friday morning feedback group, currently on hiatus as she sails around the world. She writes humor, poetry and a novel in fits and starts. She wrote this in response to Laura's prompt to create a recipe. This is an old family favorite – a deeply satisfying dish that’s enough to serve a crowd. It’s full to the brim with simmering resentments, sly sarcasm, back biting and betrayals -- all covered in a crispy fat-laden crust that will make everyone feel guilty for enjoying it with such gusto. First, pre-heat your oven to roaring hot. It should nearly singe your eyebrows off when you open it to take a peek. This pie is best half-baked, blackened around the ... [Continue Reading]
Michael Dorenzo is a member of the Wednesday morning writing practice group and has attended many of Laura's classes and retreats over the year. She wrote this piece in response to the prompt, "Write Your Own Personal Ten Commandments." 1. Thou shalt not scream at thy mother even when it seems like an appropriate response to her telling you every detail of her day: each conversation she had with her love interest, what she ate, did not eat, did, felt, every moment, over and over. Every day. More than once. 2. Thou shalt have dogs. Big beautiful companions with shiny coats to sleep with-Furry, loving, smiling ancient jackal grins, stinky, dangerous creatures. Thou shalt love them. 3. Thou shalt be kind to strangers and be open to their pain, their joy, your moment with them and ... [Continue Reading]
Julie Sheehan lives in Livermore and has attended many of Laura's writing retreats. She wrote this piece during Laura's weekend retreat at Esalen in Big Sur. The prompt was, "Tell Me About The Sounds of Your Childhood." Henry was a mean Mother Fucker. I can't even remember how he came to us. Growing up on a farm, animals were always coming and going. Stray dogs showed up and we'd feed them. They'd have puppies and we'd feed them. We started with one cat and didn't get her spayed. At one point in time we had twenty-seven cats, all of which were inbred and crazy. Buttlick was my favorite. An orange cat with darker stripes who did nothing but lay in the sun on the deck all day licking his butt. He had the life. Sometimes I'd hear a gunshot over breakfast and I knew we'd be ... [Continue Reading]
Tery Gargiulo is a member of the Wednesday morning writing practice group. She wrote this piece in response to an exercise that encouraged each writer to focus on concrete sensory detail.
I led the students through a long visualization of their childhood kitchen, asking them to look in the cupboards and in the fridge, to peer inside the pantry and to study the oven. I asked them to use all their senses--to smell, to hear, to taste, to notice the light in the room, to remember the specific foods that were there, to recall meal times and how food was prepared. To remember what was said in this room. How they felt in this room as a child. This visualization went on for twenty minutes before we wrote and the ... [Continue Reading]