I just returned from UW-Madison’s 29th Annual Writers’ Institute where an incredible lineup of guest instructors offered a wide array of sessions for people at every point on the writing spectrum: from “thinking about it,” to multi-published, and every possibility in-between.
In addition to engaging breakout sessions where the attendees learned tangible tips and actionable techniques, the conference offerings included critique services, agent pitching opportunities, page and poem contests, and a book signing event.
Courtesy of Kristin Oakley—Writers Institute Bookstore. I had the good fortune to sit with one of my early writing mentors, Laurel Yourke.
As well as teaching four sessions, I had the privilege of closing the conference by introducing a writing mentor experience—Pathway to Publication—an exclusive opportunity for 30 attendees of the 2018 Writers’ Institute.
Chris Norbury, the author of CASTLE DANGER, captured this photo of “Laurie bookends:” me at the podium “grilling” Laurie Scheer.
Chris Norbury’s Castle Danger can be purchased here (click).
Laurel Yourke’s Beyond the First Draft can be purchased here (click).
Whether verbal or written, excellent communicators always answer two questions:
1. What is the point?
2. Why does it matter?
One of our daily walks includes the Baybrook Court Bridge that gets us from the north side of the Boise River to the south side, with ease. We never fail to stop, rest our foot on the railing, and take several minutes to appreciate the river as it meanders along, often carrying ducks and geese, and in the summer, rafts of people enjoying themselves.
You can tell from the worn spots in the paint that the bridge is well-loved. I hope that by the time I reach my expiration date I have lots of “worn spots” too. To me, it seems like a grand way of measuring one’s “loved-ness.”
“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in your joints and are very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” —The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
While heading to the Greenbelt for a walk along the Boise River, Len, Willa, and I passed this wild and woolly, unbelievably curly plant growing in someone’s front yard.
It’s corkscrew curls brought to mind that as a child, I had a wild and woolly imagination, and a head of hair to match!
Remember the “Little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead?” That was true for me. So was the rest of the ditty: “When she was good, she was very good indeed, but when she was bad she was horrid!” But that’s a story for another time…
Today I still have a wild and woolly imagination, but my hair (though silver now) has toned down a bit. Unless it’s humid outside, then I could be a poster child for Brillo pad.
While visiting MazAmar Art Pottery in Pioneertown, California, I saw this adorable cow pie, snapped a photo, and wondered how on earth I could blog about it.
Aha! After a bit of online research, I learned that Bovine Bingo (aka Cow Pie Bingo) is a real thing that’s played with live, moooving pieces, usually as a fundraising event at a rodeo or county fair.
And while this may not rival the stakes in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, the CCV Rotary Club of Parker, Colorado and Smokin’ Brew BBQ have a fairly hefty pot. Here’s how they do it:
“A 50 X 40 grid is painted on the ground surrounded by a fence. A cow is led onto the grid to do it’s ‘business.’ The owner of the square with the majority of the Cow Pie wins half the amount raised in sold tickets, up to $10,000.”
Boise, Idaho has a fantastic downtown area with a plethora of incredible signage. One of my favorites is this one for the Idaho Blueprint and Supply Co. I love that it’s three-dimensional, that it doesn’t lay flat against the building.
Every time I pass this sign I think of my blueprint, my DNA. The dictionary defines DNA as follows:
“DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is like a blueprint of biological guidelines that a living organism must follow to exist and remain functional.”
“We’ve been led to believe that the goal of equality is to somehow make differences disappear yet, in reality, it is to be profoundly aware of them and to recognize them as beautiful and valuable and necessary. The virtue is not in ignoring our various distinctions, but in celebrating them; not in pretending as though they don’t exist, but in believing that their existence makes us a better version of humanity as we live together in community.” —JOHN PAVLOVITZ, from his book “A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community”
Have you ever had your DNA tested to discover the breakdown of your ancestry?
When you’re barreling down the freeway, lickety-split, at 80 miles per hour (yes, that’s the speed limit on most of the interstates in Idaho) and you see this through your windshield…
… your first thought (after you change your underwear) is, Oh my gosh! Am I in the right lane? Am I headed in the right direction?
Then quickly switching to the left lane and speeding up to check it out, you see that the ginormous red truck is being towed, and your thankful that yes, you’re on track after all; you’re headed in the right direction.
I believe that post-traumatic growth is the positive change that can happen in the wake of a traumatic event.
Even though adverse life events such as serious illness, accident or injury, abuse, bereavement or relationship breakdown can be a trigger for depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress, people are capable of finding transformation through trauma.
And here’s where the good news gets even better: my friend Jennifer Cunningham is a trauma survivor who got through cancer feeling like her identity had become all about that experience. She decided to be true to herself, take on new challenges and view life from a wider perspective and so she brought together 24 experts, including me, to share our strategies to shift from trauma to enlightenment.
I’d love for you to join us for the Post-Traumatic Enlightenment Summit. Reserve your FREE spot by clicking on this link.