Last Day in Paris: Bon Voyage at La Closerie de Lilas

Today was our last day in Paris, and we made sure to make it a great last day. Our final workshop was held in the morning, with David Shields giving his last workshop on Collaboration. Shields, whose bibliography includes numerous books on the subject of collaboration or involve collaboration with other authors and individuals, discussed how collaboration works and the value of it.

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He informed the participants on how it allows the writer to make art from what they think and see. The workshop also had a writing portion where the participants were free to collaborate on a piece. Some of them worked together to write a piece, while others “collaborated” with different items, such as street signs or emails.

To end the retreat, our staff and participants gathered at La Closerie des Lilas for one last meal. The restaurant, which has been the dining place of famous writers like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, offered our participants a chance to eat and create in one of Paris’ most famous restaurants. During dinner, the participants and staff shared their writing goals from here on out, discussing what they hoped to create once they returned to their homes and any publishing goals they had for the future. We also played one of our favorite writing games, Mis/Translations. Each person brought a poem written in a foreign language and read it aloud for the others in the original language. Everyone else would write down what they thought they heard in English, creating some nonsensical and hilarious poems. The writer would then share what the poem actually meant if translated, leading to some wonderful contrasts.

With that, our week in Paris came to a close. It went by quick, but we were all happy to have taken the opportunity to see the city and use it to help with our writing. We’d like to thank all the participants who came along the trip willing to learn and to work on their writing with us. We wish you all the best of luck in your writing endeavors. We’d also like to thank our guest lecturer David Shields for joining us and sharing his work and film with us.

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