Poet, Playwright, Workshop Facilitator
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Welcome to daily nature photo and creative writing blog, #NewThisDay

Welcome to my daily nature photo blog

Writing from My Photo Stream ~ Kelly DuMar

 

#NewThisDay Writing From My Photo Stream

 The American Church of Paris, Quay D'Orsay

The American Church of Paris, Quay D'Orsay

Window open to the sounds of street, traffic beginning, a failure to rise. Waking, momentarily, every so often, but body, pinned to bed from exhaustion, there is no chance of getting up. Until it's after 10:00 am and the hot bright sun is steaming the day. Sleep is recovery, jet lag, late night. I have work to do today. A writing workshop I offered to do while here, and I'm looking forward to it, as soon as I can get my limbs, my hips to move.

I knew from a previous visit to the American Church in Paris there is always something interesting, many interesting things going on there. My husband and I have often attended English speaking 12-step meetings there. Before leaving the US, I found the contact for the writing group there and offered a workshop. Received an immediate reply - yes! The contact woman said, however, it would need to be scheduled on a day they don't normally meet, and that she'd be in Africa, but she set the date, time, and room and said I should just be there. So, I agreed to offer my Your Pictures As Poetry - Writing From Your Photo Stream workshop. 

She didn't give me other information, such as how many would be there, and as this time approached I began to wonder if anyone would actually show up. But, I decided to just trust the process and show up for whatever happened. Easy enough. Our flat is only a seven minute walk from the American Church on the Quay D'Orsay, across the street from the Seine. I walked in the hot sunshine of an exceptionally warm Paris Saturday afternoon, accepting that writers might choose to spend the day outdoors in a park.

 Sycamore, at the entrance to the American Church

Sycamore, at the entrance to the American Church

 Doorway, American Church

Doorway, American Church

She didn't give me other information, such as how many would be there, and as this time approached I began to wonder if anyone would actually show up. But, I decided to just trust the process and show up for whatever happened. Easy enough. Our flat is only a seven minute walk from the American Church on the Quay D'Orsay, across the street from the Seine. I walked in the hot sunshine of an exceptionally warm Paris Saturday afternoon, accepting that writers might choose to spend the day outdoors in a park.

 Courtyard, American Church

Courtyard, American Church

I entered through the half-opened gate, and found reception. She said, in English, but with Parisian irritation, there was no reservation for the writers in the room I'd been told to use. Hmmm. I just insisted I knew what I was talking about. Reluctantly, she led me down the stairs to the basement room, a classroom, with casement windows to the street. She scolded me for not making a reservation, and I thanked her, set up my projector, made myself at home. Waited. Waited for the writers to arrive. When the teacher is ready, the students finally appear. Two lovely women, writers, ex-pats, American. We spent the two-hour workshop exactly as I had planned - it was rich, and deep and satisfying. I always like to start by reading a poem together aloud. Today I had chosen a lovely haibun by Aimee Nezhukumatahil:

To everything, there is a season of parrots. Instead of feathers, we searched the sky for meteors on our last night. Salamanders use the stars to find their way home. Who knew they could see that far, fix the tiny beads of their eyes on distant arrangements of lights so as to return to wet and wild nests? Our heads tilt up and up and we are careful to never look at each other. You were born on a day of peaches splitting from so much rain and the slick smell of fresh tar and asphalt pushed over a cracked parking lot. . .
— Excerpt from "Summer Haibun," Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Both women wrote from personal photos - one in poetry, one in flash fiction, and I appreciated, and believe they did as well, the chance to share deeply about their process and spend time on revising their raw material into viable, interesting, and beautiful first drafts. Very promising. As the workshop neared completion I really hoped they would stay in contact as their writing developed; I hope to see the final results. And then one of the writers gave me a gift - she told me about a choral concert in the church this evening - and, fortunately, my daughters and husband agreed it would be wonderful to attend. And we went to a cafe on the right bank for dinner just before the concert, and as we sat down in the busy cafe, the other writer from the workshop, seated at the table next to us with her husband said hello!

The music was transporting, the acoustics heavenly. We sat for an hour in reverie. Here is an audio clip, so you can be transported for a few moments too.

 American Church of Paris Chapel

American Church of Paris Chapel

After the concert, dessert in a favorite cafe a few blocks away on the corner of a busy square. Profiterole. And a walk home to the flat by the light of the Eiffel Tower. Goodnight.

 Eiffel Tower, tonight   

Eiffel Tower, tonight

 

All photos and text ©Kelly DuMar, unless otherwise attributed

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