Saturday, June 27, 2015

Celebrating Highlights

Author, educator, and inspiration,  Ruth Ayres hosts Celebrate this week.
Join the celebration. Link up Ruth Ayres Writes.
In March I won a writing retreat at the Highlights Foundation.  It was a grand prize for a commenting challenge run one weekend during the Slice of Life Story Challenge. I could pick any workshop I wanted. I chose Writing from the Heart.

The workshop focuses on writing for children and writing for Highlights, both dreams of mine. While some came with finished manuscripts and drafts, I came to the workshop hungry for ideas and ready to begin again--to write. I write for myself and for teachers. I've written for my family, for my friends, for my son when he was young and as an Auntie, I write to my nieces. I am celebrating new beginnings and the will to learn.  Fiction is not my typical writing home, but I knew coming to Highlights would teach me a lot about craft.

It has.

Days begin (if you're up early and so inclined) with Yoga, then breakfast, fresh cooked from scratch muffins and quiches and cinnamon spicy things. Oh, the kitchen and staff! Martha and Joe, Roxy and Amanda, so gracious and kind. The tables they fill are eye-feasts, laden with delights.

Next time I come I will be able to eat! I'm on a doctor supervised fast for health reasons this time around, but even
without eating it,  the food, the smells , the art of the tables as they are set--sumptious. 
Then we workshop with Jillian and Suzanne.

A session to warm us up, a bit of writing and then critiques before lunch. Afternoons are much the same with doing and writing and talking and sharing. Oh the book feasts!

During the workshop we have been asked to bring a lot to the writing table: memory, art, music and mood. Today we got to the hear of setting with Clara Gillow Clark. She asked us to embrace our sense and to write from our childhood wounds. The writing--especially the last painful memories we wrote--felt full of pointy parts, but good.

Her talk today made me think of how I build community in my classroom and how just six days ago I could not have shared what I wrote today. Community, relationships, take time and trust to grow.

Today I am celebrating all  of it! All, I have learned and all I will take home: the writing practice, the woodsy trails, the walks to the creek, and corn field explores.

I am celebrating Molly the dog who treed the Bear on Wednesday,

and the couple that will get married under the twinkle lights tonight. 

 I'm celebrating Love's "it is so ordered" WIN and going home. What a grand week it has been.


  1. I love the twinkle lights and the use of "tree" as a verb and I completely agree that the food tables were works of art!!! Yes! Yes! Yes! I like knowing that I'm not the only one who felt such growth there this week! Finally, "it is so ordered"....who knew that those four words could be so beautiful!!!!

    1. Such a wonderful place, isn't it, Michelle? Such a remarkable family. I look forward to coming back again. Happy writing time to you this summer!

  2. I've been to Highlights twice, and will certainly go again, Lee Ann. What a treasure of a place for writers and illustrators! It's wonderful that you got to go and be with a wonderful group.

    1. Oh, Linda, treasure just defines it perfectly. I would come back to work--cleaning, cooking, serving--there is magic and love here, such an amazing place.

  3. So fun to read first Michelle's post and now yours about the Highlights writing retreat. Doing and writing and talking and sharing - what a splendid week.