Making Sense of Your Life
Writing Workshop in Italy, Puglia Italy
We all have incredible lives. As LGBTQ people, we have, in many ways, had more out-of-the-ordinary experiences than the average person. Most of us have walked roads rarely traveled, seen things outside of the mainstream, and, like everyone, we strive for meaning in our lives. Learning how to effectively put our experiences into words is a craft that is both inspiring and cathartic.
The goal of our workshop is to enable you to cast light onto your own memories and hone your ability to put your experiences into words. This is not about daily journaling. This is not about writing the next great bestseller or even sharing your stories with others. This is about remembering and articulating those experiences that helped define who you are today, and, in the process, bringing a greater sense of meaning and purpose to your own life.
What to expect:
Arrive Saturday afternoon and relax around the pool. On the first night, we will host a welcome dinner for our group.
Beginning on Sunday morning, the daily routine will start with a light continental breakfast, followed by the first workshop session of the day: a brief discussion of goals will be followed by a short meditation to focus participants’ minds and then an hour-long writing session. After writing, each person will read his/her writing exercise aloud to the group. Tom and Mike will offer writing tips and suggestions at the end of each participant’s reading. The session will usually last about two and-half hours.
Afterward, we will break for lunch and some relaxation, perhaps, a nap, a walk, or time by the hotel’s pool. Then, a second writing session will take us into the late afternoon. In the evenings, people will be free to join the group for dinners in nearby towns or head there on their own. From charming seaside destinations to nearby small villages, you’ll get a real sense of authentic Italian culture and enjoy delicious local specialities.
On Wednesday, we will take a break from writing, shepherding the group on an organized excursion to the surrounding area. At the end of that day, the group can expect a big dinner hosted by Tom and Mike. On the last night, Paul and Steven, owners of the villa, will host a gala dinner there for our group.
How to write: The goal of the week is not to produce a novel, but to exercise your writing skills, be inspired, pick up a few useful tips, and meet and bond with some amazing people. Some of you may worry that your writing isn’t up to snuff to participate in such a group. Don’t be concerned—the goal is to focus on your own memories and to discover your own stories about your past.
What to write about: This is a memoir workshop. Our aim is to uncover past memories and translate them into words. Not everything you write will need to be an “LGBTQ memory.” Simply write about your life and what made you who you are today. Share experiences from growing up, coming out, your relationships with others, And any special moments of note. just let your mind go and explore! Sometimes, you will finish with only a few lines; at other times, a longer passage will emerge.
Down-time: There is much to explore around Puglia. You will not be required to attend every session, but we encourage you to participate as much as possible. As mentioned, we will take one day off to explore the surrounding countryside and there will be four free evenings when you can pop into town on your own. There will also be bikes available for use if you would like to take a break and explore.
Coming solo or with a partner: Most of the rooms have queen-sized beds and a private bath. If you are traveling alone, there is an additional single supplement explained below. If you are traveling with your partner and they are not participating in the writing sessions, we ask that they not sit in on the daily afternoon and morning writing sessions.
Location: Paul Cappelli and Steven Crutchfield are old friends and ex-New Yorkers who moved to Puglia in 2015, renovating Villa Cappelli as a boutique hotel, as well as starting an olive oil business. Both are from the advertising world and very creative and we are hoping they will participate in the writing workshops. Click here for more information and photos of Villa Cappelli.
Villa Cappelli is located near the town of Terlizzi on the Appian Way about 15 miles north of Bari, 250 miles southeast of Rome, 150 miles from Naples—all with international airports. The airport code is BRI. We can arrange pickup at the airport or nearby train stations, like Barletta or Bari. There is also a commuter train that runs frequently right into Terlizzi and we can arrange pick up there as well.
Accommodations: The Villa contains eight bedrooms with eight queen-sized beds and one bedroom with two twin beds, all with private bathrooms.