Archive for June, 2014

Mondays with Melitas – June 30, 2014

Can Melitas get any cuter?

Can Melitas get any cuter?

This is not Melitas…sorry, this is her teacher Tammy.  Melitas has spent the last 3 days celebrating the 200th anniversary of her Great Grandfather, Don Juan Forster.  I can hardly wait for her to return from San Juan Capistrano and hear all about it! I heard there were about 230 Forster’s from all over the United States!  Tune in next week for our very own Melitas to tell her tale of the exciting events!

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Mondays with Melitas – June 23, 2014

A FAVORITE TOY?                                                                                   JUNE 23, 2014


In my Amherst Method writing class with the Coach, Tammy, this last Friday, we drew the subject to write about, and it was “did you have a favorite toy when you were little, and did you save it throughout the years?” Then we had 10 minutes to write the story. There were 8 of us writing, and it was all quiet while we wrote our little hearts out.

At the end of the allotted time, we read aloud what we had written, with so many varied takes on the subject. Mine went something like this: Well, I never had a bicycle, and perhaps you will remember that I had to deck Lennie Tanner to take his new football away from him. I had begged Santa at the Strauss General Store for either a bicycle or a football. All to no avail. Santa was always pushing dolls. Those helpers of his had a penchant for dolls, I guess. Naturally, my Mom made me give the football back to Lennie when Mrs. Tanner came knocking at our front door — I was hiding out under my bed. And a tearful, whimpering Lennie was hanging on to his Mom’s dress. My Mom yelled for me to come out from wherever I was, and the football was gone from me after about 15 minutes in my possession, almost entirely spent under the bed. I didn’t even get a chance to toss it in the air just once and retrieve it. And Lennie, what a wimp, using his mother to fight his battles. How ignominious!

So what did I have in the way of a dear, dear toy to love and adore, and drag it along through life? Absolutely nada. Those dolls just did not cut it for me. I did not have the perfect life that everyone thinks I had, having everything I ever wanted. The bike and the football were my first and foremost number one wishes. And neither one made it under the Christmas tree.

Today, I feel very cheated.



MELITAS FORSTER                             MONDAYS WITH MELITAS


PS. THE PICTURE WITH VIV AND ME & DOLLS WAS TAKEN UNDER MUCH DURESS. They had to practically beat me with a 2 x 4, and take food away from me for days on end.

mel blog 6-23

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Write with us in Loreto, Baja!

loreto blog june 9 el corazonloreto 1
    What makes our retreats special:
  • We write together
  • We write to our center
  • We laugh together
  • We create community
  • We weep together
  • We support each other
  • We develop sisterhood
  • We make life long friendships
  • We write to discover the heart of our story
  • We face our fears
  • We witness each other’s greatness
  • We will be forever changed
  • Learn things about yourself through your writing and take it to another level
  • You will leave with enough writing projects to last you until you join us again
  • We will set you up on the path of writing success
  • You will go home with a new found confidence
  • We will set writing goals and create structure for you to succeed
  • You will have so many creative outlets on this retreat
  • You will find yourself surrounded by other like minded woman with the same passions as you have
4 times a year: January, April, June and October
Now reserving spaces for October:
October 19-25 or
October 26-November 1
Join us for a magical week of writing in beautiful Loreto located on the Sea of Cortez in Baja. Just a short 2 hour 15 min flight from LAX.
Cost: $1,895.00 (airfare not included)*
(because airfare is not included with workshop I suggest you book your flight as soon as possible. Alaska Airlines does only one flight per day.)
What you will receive is taxi transfer from Loreto to your private villa. All 3 meals included each day, over 25 hours of writing workshops, 4 hour boat adventure out to Coronado Island to snorkel and enjoy the dolphins, flying manta rays and sea lions (last time we saw a whale!), private cooking lesson at a local restaurant, steps from the Sea of Cortez, 3 pools, one lap pool, walking tour of Loreto. No more than 14 participants and 2 instructors. (Teacher – Student ratio 7-1).
To register:  Send an email to with your name, address, phone number, passport number and expiration date.  In one-two paragraphs tell us a little about yourself, writing experience, what you are working on and goals you may have for this retreat.  At time of acceptance the first payment $895.00 will be due.
Second payment of $500.00 due for retreat 2 months prior to start of retreat (Aug 20).
Final payment of $500.00 due one month prior to start of retreat (Sep 20).
  Applicants must be preapproved prior to attending.  All levels of writers are welcome.
Info on Loreto Bay:
Located within the Loreto National Marine Park, and far away from tourist congestion, our beautiful seaside villas are surrounded by the rich culture and history of Mexico.  The colorful stucco homes reflect the vibrancy and traditions of Mexico, with tranquil garden courtyards, terra cotta roofs, and hand-painted tile detailing.  They offer everything needed for a perfectly relaxing holiday- from the king size beds and grand soaking tubs to the fully equipped kitchens and sun deck barbecues.  Just steps from your villa door you’ll find a golf course, tennis courts, spas, world class restaurants, pools, beaches, hiking trails, ATV and bike rentals, scuba lessons, shops, amazing fishing spots, and so much more.
Last retreat sold out – Very limited space!


Don’t just take my word for it!  Here is what a few of the last retreat participants had to say:
Dear Tammy, I loved the time with you and everyone in the workshop. I know I have made the connection with everything you have been teaching in your weekly classes with “how to write memoir”. it is like I got it. The big aha!! that to me what was the most important thing I learned. When I sat down to finish Slow Motion memoir, I began to pick out just what she did in each paragraph. Scene, scene, scene. dialogue, action, moving plot along, character revealed in pieces.
1. I liked getting the little purse sized journal. I carry a little notebook but it gets torn and shabby quickly. yours is an upgrade and I liked getting a gift to start the workshop. It was a nice touch.
2. I was glad you participated as well. Speaking your truth along with us added to your authentic self.
3. I am really seeing the value of the timeline-An extensive timeline. this will help block out my story reveal chapters etc. I got that in the workshop, and I like having the positive experiences and the not so positive on the same timeline.
4. The venue could not have been better. I had my alone time to write and enough things to do with the group.
This was my first writing retreat and I was so hoping it would go well.  I only knew Tammy, our writing instructor but none of the other writers.  I was afraid of the pressure of writing every day and spending so many hours writing.  The week flew by and I had a fabulous time.  Our writing, collectively, improved each day we gathered to the point that we could all feel a shift.  This was a beautiful setting, very quaint, inspiring, convenient and safe.  The activities were varied and we were together often but yet still we had plenty of time alone if we chose.  The food and drink were healthy and varied and each setting was more beautiful than the last.  I look forward to the next retreat planned and led by Tammy Coia and will be proud to put my name at the top of the list.  Thanks so much Tammy, for teaching me to listen to myself and to find my voice.
Definition of Perfection “Highest Degree of Excellence”
Tammy Coia pulled it off.
Workshops… Wonderful
– Villas… Gorgeous
– Trips and Treats… the Best
– The Group…Lovely Ladies
– LORETO…can’t wait to return
Thank you Tammy for a most wonderful retreat.
my new word is ‘revactreat’  Retreat and Vacation.
Thank you for you and for sharing you with me.
Loreto was my first writing retreat. I didn’t know what to expect but the way Tammy led each of the workshops I felt very comfortable. She is very professional and caring and all the lessons were top notch. Loreto Bay was beautiful. My villas was gorgeous and the location was amazing. We ate the best food and all so delicious. I look forward to coming back again in the near future. I learned so much about how to be a better writer and the group activities were so much fun. If you are even considering going…do it!
Thank you Tammy and the retreat ladies for helping me put things into perspective. I will never be the same. I have grown from this experience. You are my mentors. Tammy read a quote that will change my life: “The light inside yourself is always there, a pilot light, to be tended, sometimes bright with the fuel of love, acceptance, and inspiration. Sometimes a low flame waiting for a little wind or change to light it up again.” Thanks, Tammy, I needed it!
– Pat

loreto booksloreto 3loreto 2

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Mondays with Melitas – June 16, 2014

GETTING LABOR DAY RIGHT                                        JUNE 16, 2014


This piece was written just after Labor Day, but somehow my body was “off,” and not working as the fine-tuned unit it used to be, so it was not allowing me to type it up to get on Tammy’s website. The fingers rebelled and refused to type. They don’t type very good anymore anyway. So please read it now — a few weeks late.

This is about the Aztec Princess, more widely known as the Warden. You know what? I think she was a little confused and under the impression that Labor Day was just that — a LABOR day.

When I finally got out of bed for the day — not very early — I headed for the kitchen to get a jump start with a cup of coffee. I noticed the Warden was ‘round and about busily doing things, but I was more zeroed in on my coffee, and since I hadn’t put my “ears” in yet, I wouldn’t be able to hear her talking to me. So it was just as well, and then there wouldn’t be the yelling back and forth. A little later I asked her what she had been doing since the crack of dawn — she gets up EARLY! She mentioned “Oh, cleaning around here and there, throwing out stuff that has stayed too long, and rearranging stuff; and just busy d-o-i-n-g things, straightening up things.” Yes, she had been laboring away. It was quite noticeable that the kitchen had been visited by Mrs. Clean. It was sparkling.

All this seemed a bit weird to me because the cleaning ladies were scheduled for Friday, and we just leave everything to them for weeks, or even months. She was STILL bustling about after she stopped long enough to zap my bowl of lentils filled with goodies and about 5 or 6 Kalamata olives. M-m-m-m-m-m, g-o-o-o-d.   My breakfast.

She disappeared while I was savoring my breakfast, and had gone off to raise mayhem in the garage. I checked on her, and she was busy, busy, busy with a golf bag, so I left her to her own devices and returned to my little corner of the world to see what the laptop could tell me.

Now here is the kicker to this Labor Day tale: That golf bag the Warden had been toiling over, polishing, scrubbing, etc. was MY golf bag, and she was cleaning it all up because she was going to commandeer it using the law of eminent domain, maybe. Well, my bag has been sitting there with everything (my clubs, balls, towels, etc.) as it was on the day I gave up my favorite game because the rotor cuffs in my shoulders had given up working ——– just like my hands are giving up typing. Her bag was looking a little worse for the wear.

I am still appalled to think she was working her buns off all day on this LABOR DAY while everyone else is out carousing around, or having a picnic, and the banks and post offices are closed.

She had probably lost track of what day it was. I am always on the wrong day, and it must be catching.



MELITAS FORSTER                                 MONDAYS WITH MELITASblog june 16b

blog june 16a





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The Journey…June 9 now and June 9 last year…

loreto blog june 9Last year at this time my day began in Athens, Greece.  I had just arrived and had a full day to explore the ancient city before catching a 9 pm flight to the small island of Skiathos.

This morning I awake in the beautiful town of Loreto located in Baja on the Sea of Cortez.

Two dates, one woman, two very different reflections.

I look at the growth in my life from one year ago and I hardly recognize the me staring back at me.

So much change in one year, so many opportunities.

Last year I knew my life would be changed by flying halfway around the world to write with women I didn’t know but only later would I realize the impact it would have on me.

This year I reflect on my group of women that I taught in a beautiful place, not as far, but just as magical.

We shared each other’s story in the conference room, at the pool, on the boat, in the sand, over fish tacos, over wine, beer and margaritas.

We laughed, bonded, connected as only women can.

Most of the women didn’t know one another, the common was thread was that they all knew me and trusted me enough to travel and write with me.

The stories we all heard this week will stay with us.

Some I think about can still make me smile, even laugh out loud.

Others make me cry as I remember your words.

Your story, my story, our shared story.

Your names are all now written upon my heart and I hope as you continue on the journey of writing you will remember the lessons, the prompts and write your unique story that is yours and yours alone.

Giving yourself the gift of writing, whether at home, or the coffee shop or even miles away on a retreat is truly a gift.

Allow your writing to take you away to that deep place.   Listen to that voice that wants to come forth in your story and then have the courage to tell it.

Yes, this week confirmed to me that we all have a story to tell.

I love being your teacher…watching you wrestle with words, contemplate, dig deep until you find the heart of the story.

loreto blog june 9 el corazon

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
Wendy Price, Palm Desert, CA

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Amherst Writers & Artists

Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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