The Dharma Buddies of Auroville

Here’s a story about my visit to Auroville, February, 2018. Serenity personified. 

Tango Classes at La Pista

WHERE: La Pista, 3450 3rd Street, Bldg 5, Unit H, San Francisco, CA Easy, well-lighted parking off street. WHEN: Every Monday, starting Monday, Dec. 18 8:00 – 9pm CLASS: 8 to 9pm PRACTICA: 9 – 11pm $15 CLASS & PRACTICA $7 PRACTICA ONLY Map Camille & Ramya fill in for Mila & Casey who are on maternity leave with their […]

My Personal Peace Movement

(Appeared in SKIRT!, August, 2009) In late 2006, I arrived in Buenos Aires with hair under my fingernails and blood in my eye. I was down and out after a long relationship ended. I had done the unspeakable—pulled the other woman’s hair. Along with three suitcases, I had brought my chagrin, broken heart and adequate […]

New Books, Come Party!

Come celebrate the publication: Wilderness Begins at Home, Travels with My Big Sicilian family, a memoir and  La Cucina di Carmela, my mother’s cookbook, published posthumously by her ten children. 1. West Coast: Thursday, April 14, 2016 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Food, wine, music The Grotto (in the Sports Basement) 1590 Bryant St., San […]

The Heart of the Matter

February 14th, 2006–10, I was living in Buenos Aires, dancing tango every day. I knew that on Valentine’s Day none of my beloved tango partners would make any gesture of recognition of our love—even if it was platonic. But, don’t cry for me, I told my North American friends. Come July, in the tango dance […]

Protected: The Oil Man Cometh

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Books, Old or New, Perfect Gifts Anytime

Books by Camille Cusumano, old & new, perfect gifts anytime.

Three New Tango Books

Three new tango books—a novella, travel essays, and reportage on teaching tango in Africa.

The Serenity of Influence

As Molly read last night, I found that little compartment of my brain that is ever alert for messages from the muse taking in ideas for writing short stories. Her story read like European cinema, her style was so refined and well-crafted I felt I imbibed it like a cup of calming herbal tea. Harold Bloom, a crusty but respected literary critic might call this The Anxiety of Influence (a 1967 academic oeuvre). However, no one writes in a vacuum (oh, except for James Joyce, but that’s another story). I call it The Serenity of Influence.

Wilderness Begins at Home, an excerpt

From the memoir, Wilderness Begins at Home, Travels with my big Sicilian Family, to be published in 2016 Chapter 1  La Familia Tutti Bene in Sicilia, 2006 A family reunion in the old country—it had such a nice ring to it. But when I read my brother Tom’s email suggesting our clan meet in Sicily […]

True North, Alaska Bachelor Auction

Hearing impaired or sound is off for you? Here’s the full text: There was a man, a Bear really, dressed as a man. I was warmed by his blue eyes, seduced by his cowboy French. He was a Utahan by birth, an Alaskan by design. I followed him into the mountains out West. He made […]

TEDx Talk, Tango, the Dance, the Journey, the Transformation

Para mis amigos quienes hablan español: LA TRADUCCION – por Demian Gawianski (demian@tangospanish.com) Conferencia TEDx en Lower Eastside sobre “Tango: el baile, el viaje, la transformación”, 25 de octubre de 2013 Había una niña que pescaba con un anzuelo recto. La gente se reía de ella. “¿Por qué estás pescando con un anzuelo recto, niña […]

Back to Basics, Writing Workshop

This is a writing workshop for writers who need help jump starting their writing, big or small projects. This workshop is perfect for the novice writer who needs advice, inspiration, direction getting started, and keeping on track,too big. We’ll cover the basic elements of good writing and what I call the “Magnificent Seven Entry Points” to creative non-fiction. Come prepared to write. Bring laptaps or paper, whatever you prefer.

TEDx Tango Talk, NY, 10/25/13

I’ll be presenting a talk on Tango as part of the Hero’s Journey, a la Joseph Campbell at this landmark event. I’ll be presenting at TEDxLowerEastSide with speakers from a variety of backgrounds including scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, yogis, monks, educators and activists.

Workshop: Memoir & Creative Non-Fiction, Inventing the Truth

“Tell the truth even if you have to make it up.” —Bazooka Joe Workshop: Memoir & Creative Non-Fiction Inventing the Truth HOW TO CRAFT GOOD STORY “I am led to the proposition that there is no fiction or nonfiction as we commonly understand the distinction; there is only narrative.”  —E. L. Doctorow Tuesday, January 14, […]

Skin, muscle, bone, how deep is your writing?

Skin—You have the story locked inside of you, like Michelangelo’s David was once locked in a block of Carrara marble. You envision it. You have not started to sculpt and whittle away. How many of us never venture beyond scratching the surface?
Muscle—You know the story. You have started to carve it out, to whittle, shape, and remove the obstacles of doubt and uncertainty. But doubt and uncertainty still block you. Your writing muscle tires. You walk away and think of starting over. How many come back and muscle through?
Bone—You have gone the distance, done the ant work, the trench work, pulled forth what you know is there, your magnificent work. Maybe you have entered the piece from various of the Seven Entry Points. It’s a work in progress, but it’s there, bared to the naked eye. You love it. Still, some doubt and uncertainty.
Marrow—You’ve cut through skin, muscle, and bone, through cartilage and ligament. You’ve bled interminably. You’ve gone beyond doubt and uncertainty. You’re drained, flushed of all—blood, sweat, tears, emotions.

Secret Power of Transitions, writing workshop

Writers, if the indispensable narrative arc eludes you, consider the seemingly insignificant structures that support the arc. The narrative arc is like a bridge span that cannot stand or hold its weight without strong “transitions.” You will focus on these and write many of them before the day is over. Transitions are not just those sentences/phrases that are connected by conjunctions or other punctuation signposts. Transitions are also those numinous highly energetic points in a piece that pack a punch and can make a reader blink or lose her breath. We’ll talk about them, study them, write them. Don’t be dismayed if at first you don’t see them. They are often subtle or invisible, keeping out of sight, like pilings for a pier. Then again, they may be as magnificent as towers that support a bridge. Without strong transitions there can be no tension or drive in a story or essay.

Balance, the Business-Life Connection

As the number one son in a very traditional Sicilian American family, Jim experienced some of the best and some of the worst of my father’s quirky personality (to put it affectionately). Since Jim is 9 years my senior I actually learned some things about him and my family life before I was on the seen. My earliest memories of Jim begin when he was a Rock and Roll Star. He went on to become a Scientist in Corporate America, Silicon Valley Entrepreneur, Indie Film Producer, Holistic Hotelier in Prague—and now an author

Confessions From a Moving Van review

Confessions From a Moving Van by Amy Neftzger My rating: 4 of 5 stars Amy Neftzger may have invented a new genre, “van-tasy.” Her collection of stories is tied together by the narrator, a van who/that is omniscient. His or her or its confession is the last story in the collection and cleverly ties together […]

Creative Non-Fiction Workshops

January 15, 22 & February 5 – 6:45–8:45 p.m. SEE NEW TWO-FOR-ONE OFFER BELOW! Mechanics Institute Library Board Room, 4th floor 57 Post St. @ Montgomery San Francisco, CA – What Participants Say Info: 415-425-XXXX; $125 for all three sessions; $110 if you have participated in any of my workshops; drop-in to just one class: […]