"We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house."—Annie Dillard
Hi, dear friends! Guess who's turning 50 on April 9? Yep, that's right, I am! That's not me in the inner tube, but if you've been with me at Summer Solstice, you know I like my water noodles. And you know, too, that if there's something that I love and that changes me, it's water. Okay, also fire. Yes, of course I like earth and air, too, just not as much, haha. I mean, I'm an April baby!
Anyway, one way I am celebrating this momentous birthday is with a reading from my novel on April 10 at SubText Books in St. Paul at 7 PM. Will you please join me?! There might even be cake! I'll be reading alongside the fantastic Allison Coffelt, whose debut book, Maps Are Lines We Draw, was just published by Lanternfish this month! It would be my birthday delight to many of your friendly faces in the crowd.
After that reading, I'm celebrating again with a weekend at Naniboujou for our beloved Mystery of Yin Retreat for women, for which we have just one spot left. This retreat combines writing, yoga, art, and the colossal power of Lake Superior's North Shore to empower the creative feminine. This three-day retreat will take you to new places in your writing and in yourself. Please claim that last spot if it's yours!
After Yin, I am off to Shanghai with my husband to visit our youngest daughter (who's been living in China for the past few years) and her girlfriend. We cannot wait! I've never traveled somewhere that far away, and my fluent-in-Mandarin baby will be our gracious guide. We're even taking a "side trip" to New Zealand while we are there! I'm beside myself with excitement, like a little kid running around in circles.
When I get back from China, as in, the day after I get back!, we start our first remote personal essay class, which is already half full! We are thrilled because we know it's going to be great. If you want to reimagine what personal writing looks like and get three solid starts on new essays that are brazen, fiery, subtle, taut, electric, or smooth, but above all, true, join us! I'll be co-teaching with Sophie again, so you know it will be lots of fun.
When the essay class is over, it's off to Stout's Island for the Sixth Annual Summer Solstice Retreat for Writing and Yoga. You probably already know that Summer Solstice is our biggest, brightest retreat of the year. We live into that island with all we've got, and by the time we leave, none of us are quite the same. If you're ready to dive deep into new waters with your writing (and your life?), Summer Solstice Retreat is for you. My life hasn't been the same since the first one, and it just keeps getting better.
After Solstice Retreat, another of our daughters gets married, and the celebration is at our house! Just days after that, I'll be off to Millay Colony for the Arts in Upstate New York for another month-long residency, which is the most incredible honor. If everything goes as I hope, I'll be there working on my second novel manuscript as well as the Elephant Rock creative writing sourcebook. That's all I can say for now, but things are looking good on the writing front, hard though the work may be, and it surely is hard, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
I hope your creative life, too, is showing signs of waking up as winter finally, finally gives way to spring. I very much hope to see and write with some of you in the weeks and months ahead!