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Testimonial: How Auvillar Eased a Poet's Heart Through Divorce (Tom Weiss article)

     Just received this eloquent short article by Tom Weiss, a business owner in Knoxville, and a fine poet.   I was lucky enough to work with him this May, in our workshop in Auvillar, France.  All the writers who work with me there come from different backgrounds and "moments" in their lives.  Some are literally quite young, some are retired, and others, like Tom and me, fall somewhere in the middle.  (What?  I'm the one who controls the narrative now, and I say middle!)  Here's Tom's article, and bless him for it!


A Week and a Day

            I had thought, “Surely, I’ll be divorced by then” as I considered whether to commit to my second trip to France, first solo. Even though I love adventure, it wasn’t the time for a casual decision due to scarcities of time and money; so, I agonized (divorcing provides excellent and relevant practical experience for this) over it.           

            Ultimately, it came down to poetry and new life, please pardon the redundancy. And then there was Marilyn Kallet, this wonderfully affirming new actor on my stage, who kept gently encouraging me, a literary nobody with the heart and aspirations of a poet, to take a leap, to abandon the generally accepted slow immersion process. How she knew to bait the hook with French cheeses and wine (and oblique references to beautiful women) is still a small mystery, now history.

            Please make no mistake about my love of French culture as it’s real and visceral, also the fluidity and rhythms of a language I admire. And then there’s Rimbaud...and the river, but ultimately it came down to a beautiful anticipated moment of newness, an opportunity to actually focus on refining the business of my heart, to hone my craft in a safe and nurturing environment...daily, under the quick and watchful eyes of a master poet and teacher. VCCA provides a lifetime experience in an ideal setting. Don’t hesitate, go to Auvillar! Oh, I almost forgot, my divorce wasn’t final until after I returned home, and it made no difference whatsoever except for exclusion from group photos (even though they weren’t those kinds of groups). I repeat, go to Auvillar!



Tom Weiss

Knoxville, TN