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Saturday, January 22, 2011

One Year to a Writing Life

Charlie sent me books for Christmas - an unbroken tradition that goes back as long as I can remember. Despite the fact that we aren't together any more, despite our second divorce in 2008, he still knows me better than anyone else on the planet. And he knows that books make me happy. He said it was hard this year, having no idea which books I already have, which ones I've already read.

The box from Charlie arrived shortly before Christmas. I ripped open the packaging and squealed with pleasure when I saw that he'd sent me "One Year to a Writing Life" by Susan Tiberghien. How did he know? I'd already noted the 19th of January on the calendar - the date when Susan Tiberghien would be at the American Library in Paris to talk about her book. I hadn't bought the book yet, but intended to. Here is Susan (on the left) during her presentation at the American Library.

"One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft" offers both inspiration and instruction with examples and exercises touching on writing that ranges from journal writing and personal essays, to fiction, poetic prose, and memoir. The book has an excellent bibliography as well as dozens of practical suggestions for the aspiring writer.

I was especially attracted to book because, in addition to the exercises in the book, I found Susan's personal story inspiring as well. An American woman married to a Frenchman, she didn't start writing until the age of 50 - after raising six children in France, Italy, and Switzerland. Her first book was published at 60. So there's hope for those of us who got a late start!

I also signed up for Susan's workshop at Shakespeare and Co. on Saturday afternoon. The afternoon was well spent - not only because of the writing exercises, but also because I met other women who are interested in creating an ongoing writing group here in Paris. Susan proved to be a warm and generous teacher. Here she is (on the right) answering a question during a break

And with her husband of 50+ years, Pierre

You can see from her website that Susan has a full schedule of teaching and speaking events. I hope to travel to Geneva to participate in future sessions of her Geneva Writer's Group. In the meantime, I have work to do if I want to consider myself a writer!

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