Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend Beth Kaplan’s Write in the Garden workshop. Beth is a memoir writer, teacher, and blogger – she hosts this mini retreat/workshop once a year in her beautiful backyard oasis in Cabbage Town. It’s been on hold for a few years because of Covid, and this was the first year she starting hosting again.

It was a beautiful day, not excruciatingly hot like Saturday. As I boarded the King streetcar, thoughts of the shooting the night before at Union station were on my mind – I could’ve taken that route home!! Thank god for my friend who alerted me.

I took out my book – I’m reading Tell Me How to Be by Neal Patel, and noticed that the driver was rerouting due to a road closure. Police cars and yellow tape sealed the city block at King & Bathurst. I googled it and was shocked that was another shooting that night, at a nightclub. And now I hear about a third on the Danforth on Sunday evening. The city is getting nuts!

Once I entered the garden, all my worries drifted away, as we spent the day writing, going deep into our emotions and those stories that were waiting to be told, trusting one another with the delicacy and vulnerability of those truths. I wrote about Gosia, past loves, bad dates, and stories from my childhood inspiring by an exercise where we picked fresh raspberries from the garden and wrote about what inspired us after we tasted them. There was an instant connection between all of us. We enjoyed a great lunch of quiche, salads and yummy bread, lots of tea and coffee, and a glass of wine at the end of day to discuss writing practice and what it means to be introspective and poke and prod at emotions, while most people are out shopping and buying watches.

I couldn’t believe that out of the 11 of us that attended, my friend Cybele was one of them. What are the chances?! We’d discovered it before when I’d mentioned to her that I was attending a garden writing workshop and she said, “Me too!”

Here are a few pics from the day:

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