10 Random Things: Summer Edition

August 8, 2019

Ugh, I hate starting blog posts by pointing out how long it’s been since my last post, but, well, it’s been over a month since my last post, so there is a lot to cover, which means that every time I think about updating my blog, I get overwhelmed by the fact that there’s so much to cover, so I just…don’t. This has been a terrible plan because it just gets me farther and farther behind. So, let’s get to it.

Since my last post, the following happened:

1. I turned 40 and celebrated my birthday by having dinner with a friend of mine, my daughter, and some of her friends. I also went to see Toy Story 4 and enjoyed a cupcake.

2. I shipped my daughter off to China for a Buddhist boot camp that she has described as a “hell realm.”

3. I attended the Rocaberti Writers Retreat for screenwriters in The Dordogne, France for  a week. It was held at Marouatte Castle, which is an honest to god medieval castle in France.

When the logistics person emailed us to say that there wouldn’t be anywhere to buy stuff while at the castle, I didn’t think it was because we would be in a remote location that sits in the middle of 270 acres, but well, there you have it. (Also, yes, I could have researched that a little more carefully but obviously didn’t.) (And, yes, that does sound like it could be the beginning of a horror movie, and, quite frankly, the castle would make the perfect setting for one in the dead of winter.)

Four writers were assigned to a mentor group with one of the industry experts, and the retreat followed pretty much the same schedule every day:

8-8:30 – optional meditation
8:30-9:30 – breakfast
9:30-10:30 – talk/presentation by one of the mentors
10:30-11 – coffee break
11-2 – small group session with mentor
2-3:30 – lunch
2:45-3:30 – open Q&A with one of the mentors
3:30-3:45 – break
3:45-5 – pitching session
5-8 – free time (optional one-on-one session with an invited industry expert–NOT one of the mentors–was also offered at this time)
8-9 – dinner
9-10 – talk/presentation by one of the mentors
10+ – shenanigans (or bedtime)

So it was less “retreat” and more “screenwriting intensive,” but the castle did provide a nice respite from the rest of the world (I mean, it’s gorgeous–see pictures at link above). Also, the internet connection there sucked, so it was very easy to be present and not distracted by the outside world.

img 4903

I got to watch the sunrise, for example.

The retreat was super fun (so many great people where there!), and I learned a lot. The most important thing I learned is that I like writing and I’m interested in it, but it’s not my passion.

If you have more questions about the retreat, you can comment and ask. I’ve talked about it too much in real life to properly blog about it now.

4. So, yes, my trip to France was AT the castle the entire time, but I did get to go into Paris for a couple of hours before my flight home. I visited the Eiffel Tower (which is HUGE) and accidentally walked by Notre Dame.

5. I got home and was sick with allergies the entire weekend before I had to go back to work. I also made the brilliant decision to start the process of getting braces the day after I returned from France. All I’ll say about that is that spacers suck and they suck even more when you feel terrible and can’t breathe through your nose.

6. My parents came to town because they drove across country to bring me my daughter’s car since her study abroad plans will have her out of the country for over a year and a half. We had a very nice visit, and, because of them, I finally went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was crowded but fun. We also made it to Santa Monica and part of Venice Beach.

7. My daughter got home from China, then my parents left to go back home, and now my daughter’s best friend is here visiting for a week. So it was three trips to the airport in as many days, two of which were to the hell realm that is LAX, and I really would prefer to never have to go to that airport ever again. I mean, I’ll have to but I would prefer not to.

8. My summer class ended and now I am in planning for fall mode–at least I am in theory.

9. Yesterday, we took my daughter’s friend to a taping of Price Is Right and someone in our section got called up so if you want to see me act a fool on national television (again), I’ll post a reminder when the broadcast airs because your girl definitely got some screentime.

10. I also read some books and watched some movies, but I may save those for another post as this is long enough for now. July (and the beginning of August) have been very busy, and I keep coming home and crashing, but also still waking up before 7 a.m. every day and not on purpose. Whew.

So! That is what’s been going on with me for the past month and a half or so. Now that I’ve finally posted, I’m hoping I can get back into the swing of blogging.

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  1. Ally Bean

    You are living an exciting life and I’m so glad you’re sharing bits of it here. A daughter in China, a week in France, another taping of the Price Is Right? And braces as an adult [which I did btw]? You surprise me all the time.

    Now here are my 2 questions about your retreat: 1) how did you become aware of it? and 2) why do you think that writing is not your passion after attending the retreat?

    • Akilah

      1. I’m in a writing group on FB and someone posted a link.

      2. The people at the retreat were gung-ho about getting their stuff out there and talked about writing constantly and how much they wanted it, and I just don’t feel the same way.

      Also, my mentor is a non-writer, and she talked about how much she loved coaching writers, and I 100% related to what she said, so I’m super clear now that my passion is teaching.

      • K E Garland

        That you would have a mentor, who is a coach, not a writer seems very aligned. Glad you realized your passion on this retreat. Why is your daughter’s China trip hell realm?

        • Akilah

          I’ll message you.

  2. Bryan G. Robinson

    Don’t worry about not being here that often. It’s good to see you when we do. Happy belated 40th, glad you had fun.

    France? Whoa. Nice. And even though you were at the castle the whole time (which at least it wasn’t winter and sounds like a good respite from the world), it’s good you got to see Paris, even if in passing.

    I’ll look forward to hearing about the books you read and movies you watched in the future. And ugh, to waking up before 7 a.m. I’m a non-morning person so get it.

  3. The Widow Badass

    Sounds like you are rocking this summer, Akilah! Nice to hear from you…


  4. Katy K.

    Welcome back, and thank you for sharing! I’d say self-discovery is worth the price, especially in such a gorgeous setting!

  5. Sharlene

    Sounds like you had an awesome summer! A retreat at a castle in France??? Wow!


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