Last weekend I hosted 17 women in my home for a women’s writing workshop with author, Amy Ferris. If that name rings a bell it’s because you either already follow me on social media (my writer/sewist page is here) and know all about this, or you remember my post about the workshop I attended with her in March of this year in Los Angeles. Amy wrote Marrying George Clooney.
After attending that workshop in March, I messaged Amy about my hosting one in Mammoth Lakes and she agreed. This July seven local women and ten women from other parts of California and other states, descended on my home for two full days of writing and empowerment. The theme of the workshop was ‘Awakening to our Greatness.’ Amy is talented in this arena. She has an incredible skill of helping each woman who attends intuit what they need to move on in their lives. She helps people move past blocks in their writing, but also in their emotions; it’s an incredible thing to witness.
I prepared my house for weeks in advance. Knowing these guests were coming was the final push I needed to finish setting up our home. This August we will have lived in Mammoth for a full year and there have been a dozen or so things I’ve wanted to complete for a long time, like sewing a privacy curtain for C’s top bunk, printing out and hanging new photos for our photo wall downstairs, and buying outdoor furniture for all three of our decks.
The day before and the morning of, I channeled my inner Rich (my older brother who taught me everything I know about cooking and entertaining) and got the house ready. Friday afternoon Eric took the girls camping for the weekend so I had the house to myself to prepare. That afternoon my first house guest arrived, Kate Anthony.
She brought me the most amazing hostess gift, a T-rex cookie jar that I had been coveting but couldn’t bring myself to splurge on. She also immediately started helping me get the house ready for the workshop. Kate, thank you!
Amy Ferris arrived later that evening. She too was going to stay with me for the duration of the workshop. The three of us joined Alexia LaFortune, and her husband, Greg, for dinner in town (Alexia is the author of the memoir, Sex, Love, and Spirit). It was amazing to get to know all of them, to talk about their lives, and to share with them how Eric and I met, and more about the book I’m writing about Rebel Heart.
The two days of the workshop were magical. Each morning, Alexia opened for us and then Amy took over and we wrote and shared and tissue boxes were passed around repeatedly. We smiled, we grinned, and we laughed out loud. Sometimes we wept. At lunch during the second day, a local woman approached me,
“Are all of Amy’s workshops like this?”
I laughed, “Well, this is only my second one, but so far it's par for the course.”
Magic happens when Amy brings women together.
At the end, we all left buoyed up and inspired. I came to know new local women who became my friends, and I hope to create a women’s writing community with them here in Mammoth. I got to know Amy Ferris more too, which was a true honor. She has heard some of the pieces I’ve written for my Rebel Heart book and on the second morning, as she grabbed her coffee and headed down to her room to write her morning post (and If you don’t already follow Amy on Facebook you should follow her Post Coffee, Pre Wine page,) she looked me in the eye, unequivocally, and said, ‘Write . Your . Book . Charlotte.’
When Amy Ferris tells you to write your book. You do. I’m almost done with the first draft now.
And the last great bit of news? Amy is going to come back. We’re going to do more Mammoth workshops, yes ma’am. I cannot wait.
: R O L L C R E D I T S :
Thank you's go out to…
Eric Kaufman: for saying yes when I approached him about hosting the workshop. For immediately saying yes. For saying yes when I explained that it would only work if he took the girls camping and out of town for the weekend. Thank you. I love you.
Amy Ferris: for every bit and every ounce of what you do. For inspiring and empowering women. For awakening them to their greatness.
Maria VanLiew: my friend, for being the second woman to sign up. For coming all the way from Pennsylvania. For leading us in yoga. For being my amazing friend. For seeing me. For loving me.
Kate Anthony: Kate!!! You just rolled up your sleeves and started helping. You went shopping at Trader Joe’s for me. And the T-rex will forever loom large in our home, like your amazing presence. Thank you.
Alexia LaFortune: for telling me to remember to dream and to remember the dream if it came. That dream released me from what was holding me back. Your words and your mandalas and your magic did that. Thank you.
Linda Schreyer: for introducing me to Amy in the first place! For your Slipper Camps. For watching how you beautifully hosted Amy at a workshop in your own home.
Erin Heilman: for listening to me and then introducing me to women who may be interested in the workshop, one of whom came! For not even hesitating when I asked if I could borrow your gorgeous chairs so I had enough seating for everyone and for driving them over and picking them back up. Thank you, friend!
Rosanne Lampariello Cameron: for your friendship since before I even arrived in Mammoth. For loaning me the chairs I needed to seat all the guests, both at the workshop and during the lunches. And for dropping them off and picking them up too. Thank you!
Photos: photos in this blog post come from me, Jennifer Derrick Adams, Kathy Hurley, Maria VanLiew, and Rachelle Jacobsen.