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WALK IN BALANCE—A NEW RESIDENTIAL RETREAT IN GEORGIA

  When I first viewed the Web site of The Writer’s Retreat, I was most struck by the breathtaking, yet diverse beauty of each location. I remember thinking that I wanted to visit every one of them. That thought will remain a goal for me.

I am delighted to now join in the fold of our network with my new retreat in Sharpsburg, Georgia.

  I gave thought to why one might want to also come to Sharpsburg. I was led to the obvious. My location offers a woodsy and serene environment where one can create, but less obvious is that the environment feeds the soul. To that end, I have one room that is reserved for those who wish to meditate, practice yoga, enjoy spiritual music, and just allow silence. A vegan myself, a healthy diet is also part of that spiritual feeding. The retreat is a smoke-free environment and a shoeless space as well.

  I have found that in order to write, I have to be in a space that allows me the freedom to express. For me, that includes quiet, focus, and a meditative state that invites my inner voice a place to be honored and to be heard. I try to allow at least part of one day a week to experience a “talking fast” so that I may rest my mind and settle inward.

  What I offer personally at our Sharpsburg location is my background as an artist. Although I am also an actor, acting teacher, talk show host, and producer, what I bring to the retreat most fittingly is my background as a writing instructor. I primarily work with actor/writers who are interested in getting down on paper personal stories that have been dancing around in their heads. My writer’s workshops at the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival have facilitated writers in reaching down to the core of their being to unveil memories that resonate in both personal and universal truth. I have found sensory exercises that take the writer back to childhood are a fertile source to unlock stories begging to be told.

  In Los Angeles, I have taught such workshops as “From Thought to Pen,” “Connecting the Inner Dots.” and “From Page to Stage.” In June of 2008, I will begin teaching solo writing classes at the award-winning Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. I welcome the opportunity to also serve my new bicoastal community as I begin to build relationships within its artistic world.

  The progression of unleashing personal stories from the heart to the page, and ultimately on stage, has been an extremely rewarding journey for me. My own solo show, “I Am That I Am: Woman, Black,” is a historical journey through time sharing the lives of seven African American “sheroes” beginning from slavery with Sojourner Truth to present times and concluding with Maya Angelou. My one-woman show has zigzagged across close to forty U.S. states, and has crossed the waters to the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. Though the stories in my one-woman show are not my own, they are personal stories of women I admire and who inspire me.

  My first book, On My Own Terms: One Actor’s Journey is slated for release this spring. A cross between a memoir, an acting book, and an inspirational walk, I now look forward to working with writers at our Sharpsburg retreat who are also developing non-fiction narrative works.

  I welcome women of all genres of writing to The Writers’ Retreat in Sharpsburg, Georgia. We will together give honor to the literary word and celebrate the creative voice as we also learn from one other.

  You may contact me directly at abarnes@writersretreat.com or visit my Web site at www.writersretreat.com/georgia.htm.

Thank you, Roscoe, for touching my life in such an unforgettable way.

  You will be missed by many, including myself.

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