Leanne Nelson offered sessions on May 13, 21 and 25.
Leanne has been a Credentialed Adult Education Instructor since 2002. She is an AWA trained workshop leader in the Amherst Writer’s method and has taken craft workshops with Natalie Goldberg, Sue Moon, Sands Hall, Janet Fitch, and Amy Tan. Her award winning work has appeared in a number of the American Poetry Anthology collections, Diablo Valley College’s Literary Anthology “Agape”, Albert Flynn DeSilver’s Writing Into Truth Community “Insight is 2020” anthology and Kids Magazine. She has read three times on KWMR West Marin’s “Heart’s Desire” Program, and has been featured on the Op Ed page of the Contra Costa Times several times. In a past life as a City Planner in addition to writing staff reports and legislation she wrote numerous articles primarily on the subject of recycling, green and hazardous waste in City Newsletters.
She led three writing workshops for Write Around the World 2022. Participants explored travel writing, telling their – or their character’s – story, and writing as a spiritual practice.
Details of My Beloveds by Lindsey-Loon Ricker
What adds delight to my life?
The flicker of the tip of my little sister’s nose, spanked with freckles like she walked through a handful of cinnamon dust. It flickers from the hidden little vein throbbing under her skin, invisible but for the tiny undulations of her winking twinkling nose.
I am delighted by my boyfriend’s eyes, great green yellow globes with blurred teal boundaries. They are a full spectrum of green— tiny stripes of color like the corrugated bottom of a mushroom. His eyes are like swamp water from an enchanted forest. Water held in a mason jar, held up to the light. Color made stained glass. Molecules of light strained through a net of nonsense, leaving only hyper-logic with a dash of sarcasm. Then that filtered light shaken hard with gratitude, loyalty, and though he will not admit it, a secret splash of whimsy. His are director’s eyes. He is a writer who also paints with people, who moves stories across a screen. His are cameraman’s eyes. Daily he pulls focus and operates and scrutinizes the screen.
And when he looks at me I do not know what he sees, because he is a man of few words. But when I hand him my story to hear his thoughts—a story I wrote, and care about, and am a touch tender towards— his eyes scan the page throughly. He hands it back to me. He says simply: “It should be a book.” And I ask: “Do you like it?” And he says: “Yes. Thus the book comment.”
Cheese Puffs: A Birthday Feast by Lindsey-Loon Ricker
My earliest memory is of cheese puffs. I am haunted by junk food. In the wild vortex of life before I could read before I had a full stable of words to parade, back in the formless chaos of early youth, I had cheese puffs. It was my birthday. I know it was before nursery school, so I was less than 4. I want to say I was 2 but maybe I was 3. I remember walking into the Eastgate apartment building and stopping in the little shop they had on the ground floor. My mother told me I could get whatever I wanted, anything. Dinner was usually cut fruits or vegetables, I was never allowed soda or candy.
I went wild. I wasn’t familiar with the gameshows or sweepstakes where you had a minute or two to fill your cart with goodies, but that’s how I acted anyways. Materialistic greed can be intuitive. I remember the shiny plastic wrappers, the many packages of chips. But above all, I remember the glowing orange of the cheese puffs, the crowning glory of my celebration. They were the angelic trumpets, they harkened the joy of my birthday. We ascended the apartment elevator to the rooftop. There was a playroom for children inside. Suddenly I was surrounded by strangers. My mother stood beside me. My hand was folded warmly into her hand, but she was hugging a bag of groceries with her other arm. Half my body was exposed to strangers. I wanted to hide in her skirt.
We put down the food, spread it out, the sunlight streamed in the windows and glistened across the plastic. She took the giant puff of air and burst it, orange crumbs poofed out. And the children descended. They came to the food table like a rapidly swirling drain of humanity. They were pushing in close to me. I didn’t know who they were. Some of them were enormous—they were probably 5. They were practically professional football players. They were going to eat me if I stood in the way of them and my food. I remember little hands smeared with marker slashes and dirty nails reaching past me, diving into the cheese puffs. Not the cheese puffs! Didn’t they know this was my day? I thought I was getting the bag to myself, to enjoy, to savor, to commune, to meditatively ingest. I didn’t realize I was being invited to witness a sacrifice.
When I got old enough to hold full conversations, I made it clear to my mom that I control the guest list for my birthday celebrations. And I never had cheese puffs at a party again. I don’t eat them at all anymore, unless its with red wine.
A Historical Event during the Pandemic by Sinead MacDevit
The only time I met someone of over a hundred years of age was on 5th March 2022.
The only time I met anybody who gave eighty years dedicated to the convent life. The
only time I experienced an Alabaster jubilee was celebrated by Sister Rosarii. In fact,
the only time I ever experienced a nun’s jubilee. At the same time, my aunt Eithne,
celebrated her seventieth jubilee, known as her Platinum jubilee. I managed to
purchase a card revealing seventy years. So historic now that less ladies seem to be
joining the convent in Ireland. And last but not least, Sister Anne celebrated her
sixtieth jubilee known as her Diamond jubilee. So needless to say, I took a
photograph of the cards as well as the three Jubilarians. What a historical day
celebrating the journeys of the three ladies who dedicated their lives to the Our Lady’s
of Apostles’ community and left such a legacy in Nigeria and Ghana as well as Ireland.
Hats off to our centenarian for surviving the pandemic and living for the day to
celebrate her big jubilee. God willing, may we have more to follow.
In this Painting by Sinead MacDevit
In Moran’s Pearl of Venice, I am here.
In the gondola that glides, I glide.
Though the sky is blue, I shiver not with cold
but the swell and the tremble of the mandolin.
Breath is paused before I reach the Bridge of Sighs.
I sigh not with despair but with the air of Recuerdos.
Thank you for joining us for 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.
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