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“…for time is the longest distance between two places” ~Tennessee Williams

 When I started the homeschool journey with my family 16 years ago, I didn’t anticipate the incredible volunteer opportunities. I knew they existed, but because the kids were so young, we stuck close to home in those early years.

I hadn’t yet learned to dream big.

To celebrate the arrival of spring, Breezy opted to volunteer at the Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival. She has never had difficulty dreaming big or finding cause to celebrate. This is something I didn’t learn until I became a homeschooling mom. I was the student in this thing and my kids were my guide.

They still are.

The Tennessee Williams Fest is a five day festival that started life in 1986 and is filled with events to celebrate the life and work of the Pulitzer Prize winning writer who spent pieces of his life living and writing in the very neighborhood where the festival is held. Master classes, discussion panels, and writing workshops are taught by some of the best published writers, literary agents, and editors in the publishing industry. Special events include theatre productions, musical performances by local musicians, and food tasting events hosted by some of the New Orleans’ most gifted chefs.

As the years went by and TW/NOLF grew, the festival added a one-act screenplay writing contest. The winning play is premiered at Le Petit Theatre. In recent years, short fiction and poetry contests have been added. The winning writers sit with their judges on a panel held the last day of the festival to give a reading. Past judges include Richard Ford and Jill McCorkle. Robert Olen Butler judged this year’s short fiction contest and poets had their work judged by Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque.

If those things were not enough to satiate the creative mind, then perhaps Literary Late Night Events would help. In our case, most definitely. These things gradually made their way into the already-impressive schedule three years ago. This year’s late night events included Cocktails and Cinema, a night of comedy followed by Poetry Slam, Bedtime Stories, and a birthday celebration to toast the 100th birthday and career of Tennessee Williams in the place he called his “spiritual home”.

While my “spiritual home” is my everyday home, Breezy and I consider New Orleans our home-away-from-home. T.W. didn’t have children or grandchildren. He had a freedom that I’ll never know–would never want to know. Even so, it was good to return to the place, the people, and the things we do have in common.

It always is.

And this is where I completely relate to the late Mr. Williams. We have this place in common with all it’s people, it’s character, it’s beauty, it’s inspiration. To breathe in the sultry air is to infuse oneself with a fresh dose of something vital to creativity.

I’d never want to know life without all of that.

“The strongest influences in my life and my work are always whomever I love. Whomever I love and am with most of the time, or whomever I remember most vividly. I think that’s true of everyone, don’t you?” ~Tennessee Williams

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