the path less taken

When we thought up the idea for Writers Boot Camp.

We came up with the business only a few months ago and already we’ve hosted a few workshops and a writing weekend.


We took the noncomformist path.

Kelly and I started our business, Boot Camp For Writers because I went off track.

I was in Portland with my work for United Methodist Women. I was early to my meeting. I rented a car and drove to visit another friend named Kelly in Eugene.

Since I was early I could meander. (Note to self: be early!). On the side of the highway, I spotted a sign that said Old West Museum in Brownsville. I took that country road.

I knew it was sort of crazy to leave the direct path laid out for me by the GPS. But I thought, “Heck, I’m so rarely someone who can meander.” Besides, I was in a great western state where, almost two hundred years ago, people traveled the Oregon Trail.

A detour in Oregon.

The museum was closed but I snapped a couple of pictures, posting them to Twitter and Instagram. Kelly @kellythewriter1 replied back, “Brownsville! You are in the boonies.”

I vaguely knew Kelly as a writer. I looked up her writing. I saw a section of her amazing memoir, The Trial.

We exchanged some Twitter messages and agreed to meet a few days later in Portland to talk about writing.

After my day at Powell’s bookstore, we met in a hip neighborhood, the Southeast part of Portland. (Isn’t it all hip?).

We sat at a cafe then walked around.

Kelly asked me if I remembered how I knew her, “Um, no,” I admitted.

“We were at the IWGG weekend together last year,” Kelly said. Kelly always gets the acronym wrong and that cracks me up.

“Oh, right!” I laughed. “The International Women’s Writing Guild.” (the IWWG!) We’d met at their fall workshop and luncheon at the National Arts Club.

Kelly and I gossiped about the changes that the guild was going through.

We agreed it would be fun to start our own writing guild. We’d gear it towards helping writers get published. We’d help writers get serious about and value their work. And we are!

Although our writing workshops are intended to get writers focused, our business started because, less than four months ago, I intentionally lost my way. I took the path less traveled. And by posting the story of my journey on social media (and here on my blog), I am finding my way.

Bel Kaufman


Yesterday was Bel Kaufman’s 100th birthday. I met her at the Dutch Treat Club, a luncheon club for people in the arts at the National Arts Club. The woman is an inspiration. She’s funny, smart, honest and beautiful. Bel is the author of Up the Down Staircase and a recent hire, the oldest ever, at Hunter College.

Just the other night at dinner, H. said, “My next girlfriend will be a model.” (I didn’t know he had a last girlfriend.)

“There’s too much emphasis on physical beauty,” I said. “Look around you and find beautiful people in your real world, like your Uncle Brendan or Laura from church. They’re beautiful. Make them your idols. Not models or superstars.” Like the rest of the world, my kids are way too in love with celebrities.

The great thing about living in New York is that there are so many amazing, old people. And Bel said, she prefers the term “old people” to “seniors” which sounds like they’re still in high school.

She’s my role model. I love the way she looks and commands a room. I hope that when I am 100, I will be so fabulous.

In this blog, I’ve written a lot about New York’s natural beauty and art. But there are many beautiful people too — as many beautiful people as flowering trees in spring and paintings in the museum.