A Garden of Women Writing in Tuscany

Burnt red tile rooftops in Florence, Italian voices wafting up from the overcrowded streets, and bathroom bidets remind me that I’m far from home.


Me and the big guy

No longer at the Tuscany Villa where we six women bonded — hailing from Washington State, Hawaii, Arizona, New York, New Mexico, LA, and New Orleans — we’re now in bustling  Florence. A flurry of roses, poppies, olive or cherry trees aren’t visible from my hotel window, I can tell you that.

But each of you is a distinctive blossom (I’m too tired to cleverly figure out which).

How can I adequately thank Sheila Bender for helping me to see the forest through the trees, and for her generous spirit? Probably by continuing to write my life. I have such admiration for her skillful gardening.

Lee — a daughter of Sicily — deems me an iris. With her quips, one-liners, and hearty laugh she would be a great stand-up comic. Whether or not she creates pandemonium with children’s stories, she’s committed to the best words.

Nancy — previously devoted to writing children’s nonfiction, she’s been brave to switch to poetry in the past five years, and to plant herself in our villa garden — despite her helicopter children’s protests.

Julie — a rose is a rose is a rose. Exuding calm and positivity, a master of onomatopoeia (or maybe synonyms?), she will finish her “Spacious Unknown” on the Italian coast. She inspires me with her adventurous and intuitive nature.

Lucille — precise, caring, and a talented professional, she’s solid and straightforward. I hope she finds the exact rose she’s looking for. She may be a New Yorker but she’s clearly not provincial.

Rhonda — no bullshit for her, strong and sturdy. She’s gone through a lot and will help others grow by telling her story, of which I have no doubt. Her sharp images have stayed with me.

May your writing flourish, wherever it takes root.


A secret garden in our Tuscany villa backyard








This entry was posted in Fight wimpiness, Journalism/Writing, Nature Girl, The Rest of the World and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s