Magic at the Pink Pangea Swiss Alps Writers Retreat


A Train Connection Between My Creative Worlds

Switzerland, 2023

Peyton, a young writer from my Swiss Alps retreat, and I went on the train. I looked around at the full-to-capacity train. “Shoot! We will not have a seat,” I grumbled.
“Here is a seat, Nava!” She said, pointing to the only seat and vanishing into the next car.
Another writer, an Emma Thompson look-and-sound-alike, Carole, 60-something, with short white hair, blue smiling eyes, dimples galore, and a thin fit body. Whenever I see skinny fit women my age, I think, “They must be starving themselves.” Still, I liked Carole; her prompt about her 50th birthday, when her husband informed her he had a 19-year-old girlfriend, causing her to go on a trip to Australia on her own, made me connect to her.

Carole positioned herself with her back to the doorway. We started to chat, and I asked her about the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike ‏And shared a friend’s advice: “Nava, don’t overstep the boundaries of the strikers, or you’ll be blacklisted.”
‏Carole asked: ”Do you trust that friend?” I was not sure of my own answer.
The door behind Carole kept sliding, and Carole almost disappeared into the gap between the cars.
‏A 40-something lady and a teenage boy were sitting next to us. After overhearing our conversation in English, she stood up and offered Carole her seat.
Carole seemed puzzled by the gesture.
“No, no, I am quite okay standing,” Carole said. To lighten the atmosphere, I playfully stated, “She is not pregnant.” The lady gave us a smile.
‏Curiosity got the better of me, okay, the most of me. “Where are you from?” I asked her. “Westchester County, and my name is Anne,” she answered.

‏In my usual overreacting voice, I said, “I used to be a baby bedding designer for Bellini on Central Ave in Scarsdale.”
‏To my surprise, she said, “This is where I got my son’s furniture and baby bedding.”
“Do you remember the name of your set?” I asked. “It was blue,” she answered. I scrolled through my phone, showing her images of a few blue sets I had designed during my Bellini days.
‏Amusement twinkled in her eyes as she confirmed, “This was my son’s set which I used for all three of my boys!” I was delighted, and she continued: “I gave the bedding to my friend who also used it for three of her children.”
She added, “Such a good quality bedding.”
‏This was a moment of true artistic validation for me.
‏Seizing the moment, I divulged that we were on a writers retreat in the Swiss Alps. Carole introduced me with excitement in her voice as the author of “It All Began with Caroline.” The lady appeared equally thrilled by the shared information.
‏In a burst of inspiration, I fumbled with my phone and showed Anne a picture of my book. She snapped a picture of my face next to the photo of my book.
I asked Anne if she was in any book club. She confessed to not being part of any book clubs. “Well, you can start one!” With my big inflated ego, I thought, “She can start a book club with my book and share with her friends that we met on a train in Switzerland.”
So now, tell me, my friends: What are the chances of me sitting on a train in the Swiss Alps next to a Nava’s Designs customer? And why should she not be the new book club leader for my book “It All Began with Caroline”?

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