On Hairpin Turns. Potholes. And Vistas. A Week in the Life.
We’re all on a path, and we’ve all got roads to travel.
I get it.
But, some weeks more than others, those roads are full of hairpin turns, bumps, potholes… And some of the most glorious vistas you’ve ever seen.
This was one of those weeks for me.
Here’s what happened.
Studied ancient rock graffiti in the hills above Lake Garda. A worshipper here, a symbol of eternal life there, and swords in between.
Danced, and laughed, and drank gin fizzes, and laughed some more, and danced again, with a room full of wine lovers and new friends and totally fun restaurant people from Puglia. Who can COOK.
Walked along the Lake with two new friends at 2 am on a cold morning.
Experienced a “tortellini vertical,” five courses and riffs and iterations of the same basic recipe.
Tucked deeper and deeper into my inadequate coat as we walked the streets of Garda and faced the stiffest (stiffest) winds off the Lake. It was like the wind blew, insistently, a new breath of understanding into my mind.
Joined an intimate launch party in New York, for an organization that supports women’s rights initiatives in some of the world’s most contentious regions. Jessica Neuwirth and Gloria Steinem were co-founders of the group, and they were both magnificently… there.
Interviewed a woman from Afghanistan who directs a protection shelter for women in transition, while their legal cases are being resolved: domestic violence, rape, kidnapping, sex trafficking, gang rapes, child marriages, divorce.
Interviewed a woman from Syria who organizes a chorus (so that women’s voices can be raised in something other than cries of war), a program in salons called I’ll Cut Your Hair and You Tell Me Your Story, and soccer games played by women of different political parties.
Interviewed a woman who was the first female Minister of Defense in South Africa. Circumstances gave us a very uncomfortable space, with just one chair and a small table. So she sat in the chair, I set my laptop on the table, and folded my legs underneath me. My yogi friends would recognize it as Thunderbolt pose.
Struck up a conversation with another guest at the launch party who told me about the trend of “narrative non-profits,” that is, initiatives founded with the purpose of teaching people how to communicate their stories. One is called By Kids. Another is Lit World. Another is Narrative 4 (“fearless hope for radical advocacy,” is the note I made next to that one). The Ground Truth Project.
Registered for a conference in Rome next month, about the role of women in the church, organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.
Planned a wine tasting party at our home for 50 or so guests from the Belgian American society of Atlanta.
Sorted the details on paper of an upcoming trip to Iceland.
Sorted the details in my head of an upcoming trip to Beirut.
Saw, quite clearly, how my writing can be of service.