As I told my new wonderful Nostos family at our final wonderful meal together, I have always dreamed of having been a writer in 1920s Paris, engaging with other artists in food, drink, discussion and creativity in a magical venue. Now I realize that dream can come true in modern day Tuscany. These 3 weeks were beyond any wondrous fantasy my imagination could possibly conjure. I hardly know where to begin -- our amazing hosts, mentors and peers, the positively orgasmic meals, the gorgeous estate set amidst groves of olive and fruit trees, the beautiful accommodations -- and all of that is mere icing on the cake. The mentorship and support from everybody helped me complete the most polished first draft of a screenplay I've ever written (I arrived with but a beat sheet, so not bad for 3 weeks.) I was very blessed to win the scholarship this year, but you can bet I'm going to save every penny I earn so I can to come back again. This is a writer's dream come true.
Thanks to Nostos I was able to FINALLY able take a second to breathe. The energy of the entire Nostos family helped me take those breaths and use them to propel me towards a healthier path in my writing
My time on Elba working on my feature screenplay was priceless. I came there with only an outline and left with 72 pages of my feature. In the first week I met one-on-one with Rudy to go over my beat sheet. He's the perfect instructor for a writing retreat because he focusses on helping you tell the best version of the story YOU want to tell--he doesn't impose his own taste and he is passionate about storytelling in all forms. He helped me work through my story so that by the time I sat down to write the screenplay, it just flowed. While at this retreat I noticed my approach to my writing shifting, for the better, and I feel that I left with a deeper understanding of my craft.
I'm so grateful to Nora for bringing together a group of writers that were supportive and generous with their ideas. We would discuss story over breakfast, and do cold reads with wine in the evening. The opportunity to focus on writing for three solid weeks is a gift that any writer should give themselves. And if you want to make that gift truly memorable, take yourself to Elba. It is an enchanting island and my experience there has sparked new friendships and more than a few new story ideas!
This retreat far exceeded my expectations of what writing in Tuscany could be. The perfect combination of group workshop, live readings, one-on-one mentoring, and silent writing to help overcome writer's block, kill the necessary darlings, and achieve timely breakthroughs. Nora is an excellent leader and Rudy the most trustworthy facilitator. Upon returning from the retreat, my producer has already marveled on more than one occasion, "Is this what the Tuscan sun does to you?" I would not trade this group for anything!