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From my writers' retreat in Provincetown

April 20, 2009

Twice a year the Westport Writers’ Workshop holds our 4-day writers’ retreat in Provincetown, Mass. at the tip of Cape Cod.   Here a group of 7 writers, along with Suzanne Hoover and myself as workshop leaders, fill the entire Inn at Cook Street, a cozy and luxurious bed-and-breakfast inn. Here we spend the days writing in glorious peace and silence.  Each evening we meet in the living room for a workshop where we share our day’s work. 

It is pure heaven.

I recall that I wrote a good portion of Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey right here.  In fact, at our retreat last June, I wrote what was perhaps the most difficult chapter of all to write, “Eating and Drinking.”  It was  particularly hard, in that chapter, to fully come clean about how out-of-control my eating behavior became while I was going through the miserable early months of my divorce.  It was so private, and so terribly embarassing. 

After completing a first draft, I showed it to my trusted friends Doreen Birdsell and Lisa Feistel, Inn at Cook Street owners.  Not only did Doreen and Lisa not recoil from me in horror at my shameful admission, they encouraged me to make the chapter part of the final manuscript, assuring me that doing so might help other people engaged in the same struggle.

This, of course, is what I teach writers every day, in my personal essay and memoir writing workshops.  I try to convince them that to honestly and candidly share your own experience, in a way that might be helpful to others going through similar struggles, is one of the most giving acts anyone can perform. 

It was easier said than done.  But something about being with a group of other writers taking their own courageous leaps at honesty, made the impossible task somehow possible.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 27, 2009 6:51 am

    Hello Ms. Bram, just wanted to let you know we received a copy of your memoir from your press agent and we did a review on Divorce Saloon. We also referenced it in a few other posts so feel free to stop by and check it out at http://www.divorcesaloon.com/book-review-happily-ever-after-divorce-by-jessica-bram

    We enjoyed your book immensely, btw! Bravo!

    Divorce Saloon Staff

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