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From the Imaginative Storm, to the Cape of Good Hope

James NavéJames Navé

James Navé Workshop

James Navé Workshop

I’ve seen it every time James Navé gets a group together to teach The Imaginative Storm — a Creative Writing and Storytelling Workshop, including during Friday afternoon’s workshop that he agreed to do free of charge for our readers.

Jim’s creativity, executive and presentation coaching, and writing strategy for prose and poetry is based on The Artist’s Way. He starts with a simple exercise that focuses on words –just words — and what inevitably happens is a kind of creative, imaginative storm that comes from the participants, unexpectedly. Everyone seems to leave his workshops, no matter how short or long, feeling energized and inspired.

As one of the inspired participants wrote to Jim after the workshop: “Yesterday afternoon, I wrote in my blog. My blog writing is not a regular thing for me, even if I have it on my calendar to do every two weeks. It’s something I do for very few readers, mostly old friends and family to whom I used to write aerograms, then via an email chain. I don’t have a large following, nor do I hope for one. But the morning did start with the surprise upon waking up and from there I mentioned the workshop and Navé, with links to the YouTube videos* I watched.”

Jim sent out a thank you email to the participants, in which he referred to a Charles Wright poem he recited, “Lonesome Pine Special.” Here are two excerpts from the poem from which he stirred our imaginations:

    “What is it inside the imagination that keeps surprising us
    At odd moments when something is given back
    We didn’t know we had had
    In solitude, spontaneously, and with great joy?”

    “It’s true, I think, as Kenko says in his Idleness,
    That all beauty depends upon disappearance,
    The bitten edges of things, the gradual sliding away
    Into tissue and memory, the uncertainty
    And dazzling impermanence of days we beg our meanings from,
    And their frayed loveliness.”    
*He also referred us to “Twice 5 Miles Radio: Fertile Ground for Conversation Worth Having” — a radio talk show he hosts on WPVM FM Radio (103.7) in Asheville, North Carolina, available on Sound Cloud. The conversations explore culture, poetry, spirituality, art, education, business, politics, and literature.
* BULLETS IN WOOL NESTS with Christy Ferrato
* DANGEROUS WATERS with Cisco Guevara
* THE PERFECT SUIT with Bill Curry

If you missed the workshop, but would like to be inspired, James Navé is available for personal workshops and sessions. Contact him via his website.


Paris to Cape Town route 

The Orient hotelThe Orient hotel

Hotel/Restaurant owners, Mari and Chantel DartnallHotel/Restaurant owners, Mari and Chantel Dartnall

The Mosaic's Oyster & Caviar dishThe Mosaic’s Oyster & Caviar dish

The Cape of Good Hope - by Harry HamburgThe Cape of Good Hope – by Harry Hamburg

At the end of this week, my daughter and I will be headed south — a lot further south than Nice, France — to the other side of the equator where it’s summer. For the first time in our lives, we will be exploring South Africa, just one hour ahead of Paris, but more than 12,800 kilometers due south, and if you were to go by car, 176 hours (more than a week of driving), according to Google maps. We’re flying, of course, thanks to a very special promotional air fare on Air France from Paris to Johannesburg for 469€!

I couldn’t pass up the low fare, nor a chance to visit our clients who invited us to come to South Africa to enjoy their 5-star boutique hotel close to Pretoria, just north of Johannesburg. The Orient, ensconced in a 280 hectare nature reserve, is a sumptuously appointed resort in an ancient Moorish temple, described by reviewers as “a world of fantasy and make-believe, a world of Aladdin’s carpets, Maharajahs’ beds, and Arabian nights.” The hotel also boasts of an award-winning restaurant, The Mosaic, run by the proprietor’s daughter, Chantel Dartnall, a chef who recently was awarded the top female chef IN THE WORLD by The Best Chefs Awards, who has been called an “epicurean enchantress” whose “culinary creations are enchanting.”

I won’t tell you more in advance of our experience there — as we will be ending our South African experience at The Orient, with a meal at The Mosaic, but just before heading to Kruger Park for a safari! At this writing, I know no more than that, as the Dartnalls prepared our adventure on our behalf…to be a big surprise.

The first part of the South African adventure begins in Cape Town where we have already booked our cable car trip to the top of Table Mountain and tandem paragliding off Lion’s Head Mountain or Signal Hill (depending on winds). On the calendar is already planned an excursion to the Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach to see African penguins, taking the route along Chapman’s Peak drive for even more dramatic scenery. I can already assess that there is too much to do and we have too little time to explore the city that was named the best place in the world to visit by both the New York Times and the British Daily Telegraph in 2014.

I fear that one of the greatest challenges of the South African adventure will be packing for warm summer weather while in the dead of winter and to learn how to drive on the left — something I’ve never done before!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - Paris, France

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

Respond to Adrian

The Adrian Leeds Group

P.S. Anyone interested in two AWAI brand speakers that can be wired to any stereo system, please let me know — I am giving them away free! Email [email protected]


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