photo by Angi Dilkes
Don't let the posh setting of Chateau des Bardons fool you. This group of women are venerable artists, albeit with diverse styles and voices, but with a singular drive to create written work that resonates.
And how it resonated. A personal narrative born from the pain of a broken heart and needles marking the flesh. A brilliant essay exposing how seeking good-girl status destroys the body. A story weaving complex theories of physics with Irish dialectic cadence and sense of humor telling the story of young woman with a grave illness. Rose petals thrown for a first draft's last line written. A revision of a novel that tells a complex family story exploring what happens when parents face a secret they kept from their only living daughter.
And there was more. Poetry. Paper scrolls that stretched across the room to show an author's thought process. Brainstorming on how to crack the opaque French literary publishing world. A piece about a tarot card reader, written "live" during an actual tarot card reading, then read out loud the next night: brilliant, provocative.
Shared knowledge about submitting to literary magazines, ways to connect after leaving, the best playlists on Spotify to evoke certain moods. An a cappella concert on the stone steps of the chateau. And of course, "taking the air."
We leave with stronger work and renewed spirits. We will return if we can, and stay in touch and accountable when we can't gather in person. Thanks to everyone who brought their ideas, opinions, and love for the art of writing.
Until L'ATELIER France 2019 . . . Happy writing!