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Listen. Safe. Here.

I like to start my yoga practice by thinking of an intention. Maybe it’s something I’m grateful for. Or maybe it’s the reason I came to my mat that day. But more often than not, it’s usually just a word. A focal point. A place to put my mind when it wanders.
This morning, three words popped into my head. The first was “listen.” The second was “safe.” The third was “here.”
I thought of listen, I think, because it’s a rainy day here in Los Angeles. The roads are flooding. Traffic is snarled. My daughter probably got soaked on her walk to school. It hardly ever rains here in LA, but it has rained twice in the last week alone. I love this weather. I like to wear my shiny yellow rain boots and turn up the heat, do some baking and drink my coffee extra slow. Today, my yoga mind wanted me to listen to the rain. To enjoy the way it sounds when it hits the roof, when it comes down in sheets, when cars splash through giant puddles outside the studio.
The second word is something I am always reminding myself that I am. You are safe. Your family is safe. Everyone is safe. The reason for that is anxiety. I have anxiety. I’m always worried that something bad will happen – to me, to my daughter or my husband. To someone that I love. My worried mind is forever telling my heart that everything is okay.
The third word is a reminder, I think, to be where I am. To be fully present. It’s the holidays and the end of the semester. There are many things to do, people to care for. I’m also writing a book, which feels overwhelming sometimes. I’m reading through the manuscript, looking for places to revise, and the pages are never-ending. My yoga mind is telling me to be here now, to accept where things are at and appreciate their incompleteness. To have faith that I will get there, that things will get done in their own time.
Listen. Safe. Here.

Writing Into The Blur: Using Brain Science to Write Your Memoir
with Wendy Fontaine

Sunday, January 21
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Writers At Work
4022 Fountain Ave., Suite 202, Los Angeles, 90029

$50 preregistered (by Jan. 15)
$60 at the door
Light refreshments will be served

Memoir is a genre composed of personal memories, but what happens when those memories are blurry or missing altogether? Your brain goes to great lengths to protect you from reliving painful experiences, but what does that mean for your memoir? Can you still write about what you don’t remember?
In this workshop, we will discuss ways in which memory is biologically prone to distortion, based on research by neuroscientists and psychologists. We’ll examine briefly the works of writers who have used memory distortion as literary technique. And through a series of writing exercises, we’ll identify our own challenges with memory and practice rendering our experiences to the page.
Participants should bring instruments for writing (pen and paper or laptop), as well as one photograph that relates to a current or future writing project. Writers will leave the workshop with a deeper understanding of why their memories have been inaccessible, as well as a plan for how to put difficult experiences into words once they get home.

Wendy Fontaine is a writer and writing instructor in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines including Hippocampus, Hip Mama, Literary Mama, Passages North, Readers Digest, River Teeth and Tiferet. She recently completed a memoir manuscript and is currently at work on a novel and a screenplay.

Register at wendyfontaine.com or send an email to wendy@wendyfontaine.com
Space is limited.

Every Last Lie

Every Last LieEvery Last Lie by Mary Kubica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good read. Lots of suspense. I liked that just when I thought I’d figured something out, there was a twist. Some things I did figure out. And some I didn’t. Very good pacing.
I thought there was a bit too much reflection and inner monologue on the part of the narrator, Clara – to the point of being repetitive. It felt like the author was going over things too many times. In order to create more suspense? To create intrigue? To illustrate Clara’s confusion? Not sure, but whatever the reason, it was annoying and I found myself skimming broad chunks of inner thought narrative.

View all my reviews

My daughter chopped the garlic and sliced the sweet peppers. I browned the beef and grated the ginger. Then we slipped the peppers into the oven for roasting and boiled two handfuls of udon noodles.

Thirty minutes later, we had a killer stir fry for dinner. More important, though, was what we didn’t have: arguments over screen time and chores and whose dirty laundry was on the bathroom floor.

I knew a meal-plan subscription kit would be a real time-saver. What I didn’t know was it would also save my relationship with my 11-year-old daughter.

To read the rest of this story, go here.

Looking for a good end-of-summer book? Here’s a list I wrote for a magazine in Rhode Island called Newport Mercury. Some great titles here!

What I’m reading right now: The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens.

Yoga & Writing Workshop

My friend Grace and I are teaching a special workshop on writing and yoga on Sunday, April 23. Would love to see you there!

Shining the Light: Awakening Through Yoga and Writing with Grace & Wendy

Yoga and writing have a lot in common. Both require practice and can be used as tools to awaken the spirit and discover personal authenticity. Join us for a special springtime workshop to explore the intersection of these two expressive endeavors in a positive, supportive environment.
Awaken the body through asana. Explore the mind through writing exercises. Learn how writing and yoga work together to reduce suffering and self-judgment and help us find our truer selves.
All levels welcome. No yoga or writing experience required. Participants should bring a mat or blanket, a journal and a pen.
When: Sunday, April 23, 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Where: RPM Fitness Studio, 4444 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
Cost: $30
Space is limited.

Me and my momma. 1977

Me and my mother, 1977. Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

In this photo, my mother is only 22 years old. We are at an amusement park at the beach – in one of those photo booths. I don’t remember much about this day, since I was just three years old. But I wish I could remember it. Did we swim? Did we get ice cream? Was it warm? Were we happy?
Shortly after this photo was taken, a seagull pooped on my shoulder as we walked along the pier. This is something I do remember. Or perhaps I just remember the stories my mother told me over the years. Apparently, I was horrified by what the seagull did. I cried and cried. Only blue cotton candy appeased me.

Sometimes I wonder if I look like my mother looked when she was my age. And I wonder what my own daughter, Angie, will remember about our outings.
Will she remember the time we swam with dolphins? Or the day at the movie theater when she screamed because Frankenweenie was too scary? What about that time she got to pet a shark at the aquarium? Or that time she caught a pickerel at Parker Pond, and the fish jumped out of her net and flopped its way back to the water? She thought the fish was mad at her and was going to bite her as payback.

I hope she remembers the first time she danced on stage and the first time she swam in the pool unaccompanied, as well as the last time she needed me to push her on the swing at the playground.

I hope she holds all these memories and all these experiences, and not just my stories about them.

Here’s some exciting news for 2017.
Now you can buy artwork and merchandise with my writing on it.
Thank you to the artist, Lori Soucie, for featuring my words on her images, which are gorgeous and mesmerizing and inspired largely by nature.
The first image is called Faith, and it’s all about trusting your choices. How much do you love that? I love, love, love it, and I’m really excited about this new collaboration.
You can find Lori’s work here

and here.

More images to come. Stay tuned!

There is always love

Christmas is a really difficult time for me. Every year, I have these weird flashbacks to the first holiday during divorce – wandering the mall with a two-year-old, trying to figure out how to be festive for a toddler, wrangling a giant blue spruce into the living room when all I really wanted to do was hide under the covers.
I have happy memories too, and so I try to focus on those. Here is one of them.
On our second holiday after divorce, when Angie was three, she and I had almost nothing – no Christmas ornaments and barely any money for a tree. So we bought this one at Walmart for twenty bucks, and then we decorated it with ornaments my grandmother had gathered from yard sales and church bazaars. All of them were handmade by people I’d never even met. Crocheted angels, popsicle-stick sleighs, and candy canes made with colored beads and pipe cleaners.
It wasn’t much, but it was everything. I wish those church ladies could know what a difference they made for us that year.
No matter what happens, no matter who or where or why, there is always love.

first tree

That crazy thing? Do it.

You know that crazy thing you’re thinking about doing? Call me. Because I’m going to tell you to do it.

Six years ago this week, Angie and I sold everything we owned and got on a plane to Los Angeles. Everything I never knew I wanted was on the other side of that decision. New adventures, new friends. Sunshine in February. A really great husband.

I know how scary it is to step into the unknown, to not know if you’re going to like it or where the money is going to come from or if you’ll end up right back where you started, tail between your legs.

And I can’t promise you it will work out. But I can tell you that you might surprise yourself, that the universe is designed to catch you when you jump.

That it most likely will be the best thing you ever did.

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