Valya Dudycz Lupescu

Writer, fueled by coffee

Beautiful Places

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“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
E. B. White

Rainy Monday morning with German coffee in my Frankfurt mug and a feeling of wanderlust hanging in the Autumn air. Last week was busy, full of wonderful people and events. I feel grateful for the time, but also slightly overwhelmed at how much I have to catch up.

On Thursday I attended a “New Members” dinner at the Cliff Dwellers Club in downtown Chicago. I was selected to be one of the Artists-in-Residence for the 2011-2012 year, along with Don Evans (Executive Director for the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame) and the members of the Ravenswood Opera.

The Cliff Dweller’s Club was founded in 1907 by Chicago author Hamlin Garland, first called the Attic Club then re-named the Cliff Dwellers two years later. The founders envisioned it as an organization for those who are engaged in and those who support the Arts. (For more history, click here.)

Mark and I enjoyed the view of the lake and the Art Institute, were served a wonderful meal, and had conversations with many of the members. I wish I remembered to take photos, but I was swept up in the conversations.

It was exciting for me to see an Arts organization that has lasted over a hundred years, and it struck a chord because of my own attempts to cultivate creative collaboration and support with our monthly Coop gatherings. Perhaps the two worlds will collide? (Who am I kidding, if I have any say they will certainly collide.)

Then Friday we were off to Delavan, Wisconsin for the weekend wedding of dear friends. My parents watched the kids, and Mark and I stayed at the Allyn Mansion, a magnificent Victorian that was restored with the greatest of care and attention to detail over 18 years by my friend’s father and his partner. The mansion received the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Great American Home Awards grand prize for its “meticulous and thorough restoration.”

Even in such a massive mansion, we felt instantly at home. The wedding was so much fun, and Mark and I appreciated it after the last few weeks.

  

Many more photos of the house exist online here.

The mansion was majestic, the tent outside was elegant, the groom charming, the bride beautiful, and the company warm and welcoming. Plus there was wine. Lovely wine!

With some people I met, I felt like I had known them in another lifetime. Meeting them was like recognizing an old friend. I love that feeling. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s a gift. Even if our paths lead away in opposite directions, at least we had the chance to cross once and maybe again.

We returned home yesterday in time for a birthday dinner with family who came in from Colorado, and then home to put the kids to bed.

Many of my conversations over the weekend were about travel and beloved places in Europe. I’m feeling the itch; it’s time to plan something. But before that, there’s business and paperwork and kickstarter and art projects and writing and secret collaborations…so back to work I go!

Author: Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu is the author of THE SILENCE OF TREES and STICKS & BONES, as well as the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Born and raised in Chicago, Valya received her degree in English at DePaul University and her MFA in Writing as part of the inaugural class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since receiving her MFA, Valya has worked as a college professor, obituary writer, content manager, internal communications specialist, co-producer of an independent feature film, and Goth cocktail waitress.

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