Monday, June 22, 2015

Writing from the Outside In

I am surrounded by birdsong and light. Birch rustle their leaves and the sun streams through deciduous green. The leaf canopy is alive with magic.  The air smells different here. Gloriously rich and crisp, cool like late February in Florida when the strawberries are ready for picking and the robins have arrived to feast.

Of course, I realize that for my northern friends and family this is what summer must be: light and green, crisp and cool, blue skies and high-topped, cumulus clouds, the burn and rub of crickets.

No wonder you want to be outside!

For me summer, the weather at least, is like eating burnt toast  (unless I'm swimming in springs or waist deep in ocean water): flowers wilt midday, birds sleep early, people stay in air conditioned spaces. Here summer seems how its meant to be.
A poetry stone garden is going to be a must add to my dream-planned,
backyard patio, pizza oven, fire pit and kitchen garden plan! 

I am spending the week at the Highlights Foundation in Boyds Mills, Pennsylvania. I won the workshop week during the Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOL) hosted by Two Writing Teachers in March. I love the slicing community--teachers and writers from all over who share moments (slices) from their daily lives in the classroom or at home on their blogs every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year.  The Slice of Life community encourages and supports. They lift up others and lean in when needed. We meet up at conferences to share a table, a meal, some stories and time. In the four years that I've been writing in that community, I've seen such changes in my writing and my teaching of writing. I am so grateful for the friends I've made in this community. In March the prize for participating in a weekend commenting challenge was a chance to win a retreat at the Highlights Foundation.  Stacey Shubitz has enjoyed time here and here, so has my friend Linda Baie. She wrote about her Highlights experiences here and here. Kent Brown once told me at a conference that this was a spot I needed. He sure was right.

So, when I saw the chance, I took the challenge.  I commented, commented, commented. And on my birthday, I won the drawing for the retreat. What a birthday gift from God! I wrote about the winning and the slice community here.
I had to take pictures from the passenger seat along the main street of Honesdale and the open woods and fields of Boyds Mills.

After dinner and a short talk with Jillian Sullivan and Suzanne Bloom, our writers in residence and workshop facilitators, we went for a walk along the road. 

We had Maxfield Parrish skies at sunset. 

And glorious birdsong at dawn.

I took a quick walk this morning after writing a few morning pages and thinking about birds. I ended up in the poetry stone garden.

be still now 
in the wood magic 
sip the sun, shine--
love the water, wind, 
happy-- precious flowers,


  1. Congratulations, Lee Ann! It sounds like the perfect place with inspiring company to trigger your creative and reflective writing. Love those poetry stones, too. :)

  2. So glad you're enjoying this writing workshop. How fun to have won it on your birthday. Have a fabulous week! I agree with your words about the slicing community. It's a gift in so many ways. Love this line: "They lift up others and lean in when needed."