Volume XI, Issue 32
August 10, 2022
Thanks to all of you who wrote such kind words to me after my "cracked" zine last week. I am doing better this week, thanks to our daughter, Brynn, who offered to move in for two weeks to help her dad out so that I could come teach
at Chautauqua Institution as planned, supported by our daughter, Amanda, who's dropping off groceries and prescription refills, and also filling in as needed. Our sons will be chipping, too, when they're not working out of town
And a number of good friends have brought by dinners and
run errands and taken Richard to doctor's appointments while Brynn is working.
I am, as my mother-in-law so often says, "blessed beyond what I deserve,"
and I am beyond grateful to each of them for making it possible for me to not only honor my contract, but also have this beautiful respite, filled with literature, dance, music, and so much more. I wish every caregiver could have it so good.
And in a beautiful synchronicity, the small arts theatre here is showing the documentary Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song this week, not long after I shared Cohen's "Anthem" with you in the last zine. I saw the film last night and loved every minute.
I also love the lavender coneflowers and gold black-eyed Susans blooming their hearts out in front of my guest house. I gaze at them every morning as I journal, pray, plan, and do my yoga on the second floor porch outside my room. (And make calls to doctor's offices.
There's been a lot of that, too, this week. But what a treat to see this loveliness as I'm on hold!)
What makes this huge flowerbed even better is the fact that I just shared an essay by Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, with my class on Monday as a part of our exploration of "The Nurturing Nature of Words—and Our World." And it happens to be about "the question of beauty," in particular, the beauty of purple and gold flowers, among other things.
It's so wise and down-to-earth and informative and even funny that I am sharing it with you, too, as this week's featured writing. I do hope you'll treat yourself to reading it! (There's a reason Braiding Sweetgrass is the number one best-seller on Amazon in Nature Writing & Essays.) Here's the link: https://commons.bluemountaincenter.org/goldenrod-and-asters-my-life-with-plants/
One last thing—I'm giving a short reading, along with my good friend Dr. Shahid Aziz, tomorrow, Thursday, August 11th. It's going to be recorded, so if you would like to watch, visit the Friends of the Chautauqua Writers' Center YouTube Channel, where it should be posted by this Friday.
Wishing you a week filled with beauty,
COASTAL WRITING RETREAT
Renew yourself and reconnect with your own creativity, whether you are a practicing writer, closet writer, or as-yet-to-pick-up-the-pen writer! The techniques and prompts we’ll use will spur your imagination, and
can be used to create nonfiction, fiction, and/or poetry—the choice is yours.
The Coastal Writing Retreat includes writing sessions at a spacious, private location one mile from the Inn, two nights’ lodging, two breakfasts and Saturday lunch.
Want to extend your retreat? If you’d like to stay another day to write, or to just enjoy the beach, the Inn is offering Coastal Writing Retreat participants the opportunity to stay Sunday night at
WHERE: The Sunset Inn, 9 North Shore Dr., Sunset Beach, NC 2846
WHEN: Friday, November 11th – Sunday, November 13th,
COST: $528 (hotel tax and Saturday dinner at a local restaurant not included)
TO REGISTER: Contact the Sunset Inn at 888.575.1001 or
910.575.1000 (if you would like to handpick your room, view your choices here first, then call). Because the Inn is holding rooms for you, our participants, they are blocked off as unavailable online. Register soon by phone –
this is a popular event and space is limited.
*Also, please let the Inn know when you call if you are interested in staying Sunday night at half price. The Inn will hold your reservation with a credit card.
More WordPlay opportunities here.
WordPlay Now! Writing Prompt
This is WordPlay—so why not revel in the power and potential of one good word after another? This week, it's "beauty."
PROMPT: Write about an encounter with beauty, yours
or anyone else's, real or fictional.
It's fun to play with prompts in community with fellow writers, and to be able to share the results when you're done. You can find out about WordPlay classes, workshops, and
MAUREEN RYAN GRIFFIN, an award-winning poetry and nonfiction writer, is the author of Spinning Words into Gold, a Hands-On Guide to the Craft of Writing, a grief workbook entitled I Will Never Forget You, and three collections of poetry, Ten Thousand Cicadas Can't Be Wrong, This Scatter of Blossoms and When the Leaves Are in the Water.
She believes, as author Julia Cameron says, "We are meant to midwife dreams for one another." Maureen also believes that serious "word work" requires serious WordPlay, as play is how we humans best
learn—and perform. What she loves best is witnessing all the other dreams that come true for her clients along the way. Language, when used with intentionality and focus, is, after all, serious fuel for joy. Here's to yours!