Sunday, March 22, 2009


The Bandon Writers, two males, many women meet weekly to share their writing and receive feedback. From the left, sitting, Martha, Lilly, Ava and Oliver. In the back row, from the left, Ginney, Mary, Mike, who is bending to match Joyce, and I, the one standing, with the blue sweater. Holding his fingers up, is Oliver Lange; he and Joyce are my anchors in this journey. Both of them are octogenarian, old enough to be my parents. They are active with community projects, art, and writing.

I joined the group a couple of years ago, when I began writing my memoir. Oliver Lange, not his real name, is the group's titular head, the only published novelist in the group. If you google his name you'll discover he has written a dozen best sellers, some made into movies, too. If Oliver likes what I write, I glow and sputter and grow taller. If he doesn't, I retreat in the corner, and pray.

We all need friends and mentors, people who will show us the way, help us along the journey. I'm lucky, and grateful to many more people who respond to this blog, interpret my words, and leave thoughtful remarks. We are all pilgrims, sharing our stories on the way to Canterbury, understanding that what connects us is our human experience in this moment in history. Some of us will express our sentiments through poetry, or jokes, or dreams. Revealing pain and hope, we share our lives, we honor each other's voyages.

My best friend Joyce and I take long walks and have over a century of stories in three continents to share with each other and with the group.
Every one of us needs to be heard.

We don't know who'll be missing at tomorrow's meeting. At this time in our lives we don't want to postpone talking about the important things.
We are not young; our days are numbered, measured by the stories we tell, the connections we have made.


Natalie said...

What a beautiful post, Rosaria.
I bet Oliver would be most pleased with it. The feeling of "community and belonging" was communicated to me and made me smile.

Enjoy! xx♥

Lori ann said...

Yes, I agree, a beautiful post Rosaria, I hope it's ok I call you by your name, instead of Lakeviewer?
I love the idea of a mentor and I love that you continue to learn and grow with this group of friends. You are right, our days are numbered, whatever stage of life we're at. But I don't think you are old, just wise. ♥(natalie taught me to do the heart, nice heh?)
x lori

p.s. You had asked where I went to school? It was in Torrance, we lived at Torrance Beach. Are you familiar with that area, the South Bay?

Amy said...

Quite nice! I like the way you put your thoughts down, and I agree with Lori. Life has taught me that our days are numbered no matter what age we are! Here's hoping you have many many happy healthy days ahead of you.

momcat said...

Thanks to the blogosphere, we don't have to postpone anything that we want to say. And the internet is a great leveller. I am following older people and people my kids age and I am constantly amazed at the maturity and wisdom of the writing that I come across. There is something to be gained from every writer that we come across.

Lola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lola said...

(I deleted the previous comment, too many spelling errors, maestra.)

Delightful post, Rosaria. I agree on everything you say, from friends being anchors, to the mentor concept, and I feel I'm part of those you mention in blogland, responding with love to your inspiring prose. We are indeed pilgrims on our way to a fantastical Canterbury. I like to think of us as Boccaccio figures too, though. Il Decamerone is the sexy version of the Chaucer Tales' concept.

I have a phrase for you, you can teach it to Joyce. It is an idiomatic Italian expression used among folks who known each other for as long and deeply as you two have, to define that friendship. You have known each other so long that you have "mangiato insieme 7kg di sale," intended as in seasoning meals with small pinches, over the years.
Bello, no?

janis said...

How lovely! You know how I feel about friendships! I am glad to hear you are so blessed. I can't imagine going day to day without mine.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

I am reading an authobiographical book called 'Rowing Without Oars' that a friend gave me, by Ulla-Carin Lindquist. A sad read in many ways as she's young and dying, but it's about not postponing things and the intensity of joy when time is short.

I loved your post.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Great photo of you & your writer's group. Oliver looks like he's the life of the party! Rosaria, your smile is wonderful.

I'm living in a new area and have made golfing friends, but no folks who are writers or who even have a blog. So it falls to my friends like you who speak to me daily. Funny how small the world has become through blogging.

Where does your group meet? It looks like a library, no?

karen said...

How wonderful! I loved the pic of the group, and the notes on everybody. Hope you don't have to go and hide in the corner too often, but I'm sure not! I agree with Lori's comment about days being matter what stage of life we are at. My mum is your age, and she's young at heart, as are you! x

French Fancy said...

What a lovely photo of friendly smiling faces. It's great you have such a thriving social circle - I think chatting and laughing keeps people young.

Good luck with your writing projects - from your blog I can see that you have a wonderful writing technique

Helen said...

Yes, old people need to be heard. It's the reason I picked up and moved cross country to OR ... four generations of us! I felt like a pioneer. Since then, 2005, I've lost my mother but was blessed to have taken care of her during her last five years. My grandchildren needed to know my generation and they needed to know my mother, alzheimer's and all. It makes all of us better. I loved your comment about hiding and praying if Mr. Oliver didn't appreciate your efforts ... very funny and I'm sure true. I am in Bend.

Tessa said...

I so enjoyed that visit, (may I also call you Rosaria?, and meeting your group of creative friends. How wonderful it is that you share, inspire and write together. A confedracy of like minds - perfect.

I've missed my like-minded friends so badly since I left Africa, but here in the blogosphere, I'm finding new ones every day and it brings the sparkle of creativity right back where it belongs!

Anonymous said...

I am glad that you get such satisfaction from yur writers group. It can only inspire you.

willow said...

What a wonderful, friendly looking group of writing buddies! Oliver sounds like a great mentor.

Renee said...

Wonderful, thanks for letting us in. You look beautiful.



lakeviewer said...

Natalie-Check out Oliver Lange's books. Some are scary and very adult. The man, however, is a lamb.

Lori ann-You can call me Rosaria, or...I learned to use a pen name in my writers' group, a way to protect the person one can become.

Amy-getting injured makes us appreciate healthy days so much more. Now that I am beginning to get my arm moving again, I swear I will be more consistent with my exercise routines. I promise!

Momcat-Every one adds to the experience. And how wonderful how we can talk across the ages.

Lola-I'm feeling that you and I are beginning to add up our pounds of salt, too. So, when are you coming my way, to visit the greater Northwest?

Janis-When I was a working mom, I had so little time to spend with friends. I'm now blessed and appreciative.

Reasons-We don't know how much time we have. Let's now waste a minute longer.

Cheryl, you were missed during your trip to Louisiana. Renee worried too. Glad you're back to us.

Karen- YOur mom is both your age and her age; we are just accumulating all our earlier selves. What we love most of all, is to share all these things with our childre, giving them stories and wisdoms and admice to live a good life.

French Fancy- I learn something from each thing I read, not techniques necessarily, but the spirit of sharing, of connecting with life and with passions. If I hadn't stopped at your blog, I would not have revisited my Eiffel
Tower's picture. Each blog opens another window to our souls.

Helen-We are physically closer than anybody else commenting today. You must get to the coast sometime. Give me a jingle.

Tessa, I'm beginning to understand your voyage. You left Africa, but Africa is in your soul,in the food you eat, the smells you associate with home. You will never forget it and you will always hunger to reunite. I left Italy fifty years ago; it still hurts to think about it; it hurts to feel this much loss. I understand that feeling.

Moanie- unlike the blog friends, the writers are brutally honest; they know that we get one chance to make a good first impression. They will react as our worst critic; honestly, clearly, holding a magnifying glass in front of us. Most people have difficulty with this. The ten-twelve people who come weekly to share, are serious.

Willow- without Oliver, without a critical friend, we would be doing the same thing week after week. He pushes us.

Renee- Everyone is already wishing you early birthday wishes. Not me. You get my wish precisely when it needs to arrive. No sooner. Thank you for stopping by and giving me a compliment. Who doesn't appreciate compliments?

Woman in a Window said...

"Every one of us needs to be heard."

I hear you and appreciate when you are so kind as to hear me.

Tessa said...

When I read your reply to my comment, lakeviewer, I burst into tears. I know, I know – a ridiculous reaction and more likely than not, they were tears of self-pity. But maybe – and I hope this is nearer the truth – they were tears of recognition. Your words held such resonance, and made sense of something I’ve not yet been able to fathom in a cerebral way. That ache for Africa is constant, yes, and you’ve made sense of it all for me. Thank you.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I like your friends, Rosaria - The energy shines out of their photos... To write that two are octogenarians, is incredible - and like you, I aspire to be like them - An inspiration, just as you are, every day you pick up the pen, or tap the keyboard...

Kikit said...

One of the reasons why I love reading posts of the 'wise' and 'experienced' is the wisdom unfolded in every word and sentence they choose. You and the other group members may not be young but I'm sure you have the talent to touch people's lives through your posts. :)

By the way, I don't always comment but I always read. :)

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