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Norwalk Home Becomes an Ode to Love

Every February around this time, Drew Lamm turns her Rowayton home into a big Valentine's Day card for her many guests. "You are apt to find hearts on the stairs when you walk up," said Marty Gilbert, one of Lamm's recent visitors. "You can't tell what will be beyond that," she said.

Lamm devotes two days a week to teaching groups of women how to write , an experiential exercise that is as much about self-discovery and meditation as it is about the finished product. She thinks that "part of teaching is setting a scene and creating a safe place," so she always has her home decorated, paying particular attention to the mantel. But she really does it up for Valentine's Day.

"I am deeply appreciative of the women who come here because they are letting me do what I love," she said. "Valentine's is me saying 'Thank you.’ "

Her students were greeted last week by heart-shaped balloons in Lamm's living room and tulips on the mantel. Lamm always sets the mood for her students by reading aloud before handing them paper and pen. For Valentine’s Day she has a special ritual. "I always say a tiny little bit about how we have to romance ourselves," she said. "No one else really knows us like we know us. No one else really knows what we most would love. And I think it's vital in this crazy world not to sit around waiting for someone else to come romance us."

That means going for a walk on the beach or buying yourself flowers.

Gilbert, a student for four years, said she arrives at the home in a hurry, and is always surprised to find herself relaxing. "She primes our pumps with wonderful poems that she has selected," she said. "... You are well-marinated by the time you start pushing your pen on the page." Last week one of those poems was one word: "Love." Then the students were given a choice of subject matter, including, "I knew I wanted to marry him-or-her the first time I saw them."

"I wrote a valentine to my husband of 54 years," Gilbert said. "I hadn't gone in there with any thought of doing anything [like that.]"

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