A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Birthday: The Antidote to Rejection from a Writers’ Workshop

The price tag for the weeklong memoir-writing workshop was $700. Then there would be the cost of lodging in this resort town, meals and transportation, maybe another $1,200 or so…I would have gone for it although, for me, it was a significant chunk of change for a week of my life.

However I was one of the two-thirds of applicants who didn’t make the cut. Rejected, I immediately rationalized that it was just as well since my garden starts wilting on its second day without water and it never rains here in July. In fact we just got through the first heat wave of the summer with temperatures from 105-107 around the weekend of the Fourth. And my poor feral cat would survive but would be very pissed at me after a week of foraging for her own food from the pesky wildlife that also resides on this property, primarily gophers.

In lieu of the workshop, I decided to give myself a functional and aesthetically pleasing birthday present—July also being my birthday month—in the form of a new gas range. Chrome of course. The old white range had been a hand-me-down of uncertain age and in the ten years I possessed it, all the numbers wore off so I could only gestimate the oven temperature. The gas for the burners often had to be turned on with pliers then lit with a match and then all of the jets did not work. Sears said the new range would be delivered on July 1, when I purchased it online. But they called the following day to say it would not be delivered until July 8.

Laying the tile

I immediately drove to Lowes and purchased a new kitchen floor of Italian marble-looking tile. I could not see putting my very first brand new range on a sad, lumpy, probably 1960s linoleum self-sticking tile floor in a faux wood pattern. That was my entire Workshop budget but the results were amazing. Norm, my tile guy, also leveled the floor so now I have a 2.5 inch step down into the living room and no longer have to prop up the appliances in back to get them level.

And I have been cooking up a storm, baking apple pies, canning applesauce and apple pie filling with apples courtesy of my apple tree, canning bread-and-butter pickles from my home-grown cucumbers, and canning home-made salsa from my garden-ripe tomatoes.

I won’t say that reading The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith was a substitute for the weeklong workshop, because, of course, I didn’t attend. But it certainly lives up to its subtitle, A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing and Life, and I highly recommend it.

Yes, it was a happy birthday and the icing on the cake (or ice cream on my homemade apple pie) was birthday phone calls from my adult children out-of-state. Thanks for asking.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Birthday: The Antidote to Rejection from a Writers’ Workshop

  1. I love this post, because I can relate to it on multiple levels. For example, I had signed up for a writing retreat that got canceled, and I was really bummed…so we went to Italy instead! Funny how it all works out.

    I also think that a nurturing, inviting kitchen is great for the creative juices as well as the gastronomic ones. It’s a great investment in your writing!

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