Carmen Palmer offered a session on May 21.

Carmen Palmer first participated in an AWA workshop in a cozy Brooklyn brownstone in the early 2000’s and has since earned an MFA in Writing and served as an AWA leader in Puerto Rico and the U.S. She believes that AWA workshops can be fun and therapeutic and will always create a positive flow in one’s creative life.


A Special Cake

by Susan McChesney

It was to be a special cake for her birthday- special in that it was NOT THE USUAL. She’d always asked for a cake with strawberries, but oh no, this year she wants one with fresh figs.  FIGS! Can you imagine where I’m going to find figs here in the north? Of all things.

And then she said, “Gran, maybe you can switch out the cream cheese frosting for a goat cheese frosting. Goat cheese and figs are SO good together!” Now, can you imagine where I’m going to find goat cheese? Nowhere, that’s where. I’m not even going to look for it. Well, maybe I’ll look one place might have it. Goat cheese in a cake frosting, whoever heard of such a thing.

I made my way to the little farmstand down the road and asked about figs, laughing a little like it was a joke, and what do you know, Mabel said, “Sure, I have to go pick them though.”

I couldn’t even speak, my mouth hanging open in disbelief. “Mabel, you have figs GROWING?”

“Sure, come on, I’ll show you,” and she led the way around back where, sure ‘nuf there was a big old potted plant, heavy with purple and pink blushed fruit weighing down the branches almost to the ground below.

Who ever knew she was growing real live figs right there behind that farmstand.

Mabel was delicately pinching off the ripest fruit and dropping them into her yellow apron, gathered up to catch them, and I noticed they were some pretty little things, the purple and pink against that apron yellow.

“Mabel, she wants her cake made with them figs- now how’m I gonna do that, do you know?”

“Just use the figs like you would any fruit,” Mabel said, “they’ll make a fine cake.” and she smiled broadly, transferring each fig carefully into a paper bag for me to carry home.


by Deepam Wadds

What is to become of that tall, dark red brick house at 108 Withrow? With no more joyous clapping sailing through the open window when Roger executes a graceful volley. If I call 1-416-469-XXXX will I hear her warm whisky voice as clearly as I hear it now, remembering her, invoking her? She is always close.

Strangers will lug their boxes, their treasures, their framed still-lifes and abstracts – the colours chosen to match their couches – to replace the wild greens, deep reds, and golds that covered her walls. They’ll tear up the carpet stained from bits of chicken and fish offered as treats to Fernando and Oliver – those twin fuzzballs who grew to lanky old grumps. Underneath the carpet, a wood floor that supported the choreography of my friend for decades. Whose feet will move across that floor now?

I have a copy of her will, my dear dancing friend, where one by one she laid out who would benefit from her being gone. The planet, for one. Water, for another. The arts. Her giving goes on long after she is gone.

But how is it that she is not gone? That I am certain should I press those numbers, she would answer and exclaim, “I have a poem for you.” Or that I could drive along that tree-lined street bursting with lilacs this month of her birth to pull in beside her Corolla. I still have the key.

Thank you for joining us to Write Around the World!

For the rest of the summer, watch our blog! We are sharing writing from AWA’s yearly marathon fundraiser, which happened this year all-online throughout the month of May.

We offer this series in appreciation for the incredible community of writers and workshop leaders that sustain us. If you’re inspired and would like to be part of the fundraiser, please donate!

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