Today, I am heading out to sea on my second JoCo Cruise, where I plan to spend my week playing board games, seeing nerd-tastic shows, and becoming very good friends with the All Day Taco Bar. It was on this cruise last year where I broke free of an almost year-long bout of writer’s block. Although I haven’t written every day since, I have written most days and I have created a hefty collection of short stories, flash fiction, and interesting bits that might someday be expanded.
I credit the continual flow of words on page to three people:
Patrick Rothfuss, who spoke freely and honestly about his mental health and how it affects his writing and who challenged my perspective on writer’s block;
Mary Robinette Kowal, who extended an invitation to join her each morning to write by the pool and then demonstrated the importance of follow-through by showing up and writing there with us every morning; and
Jim Reader, my dear friend, who brooks no excuses and has taken the time to challenge me to write on a daily basis over the past year.
I will be offline for the next week, as ocean-going internet is ridiculously expensive, but–thanks to these terrific role models–I will be writing every day. I’ve scheduled a brief post each day with someone or something I think is pretty cool. Enjoy! See you in a week!
After the success of this weekend, I’m strongly thinking about making this writing retreat weekend a regular thing. With six friends it’s shockingly simple. It would only take a few tweaks to create a productive working and self-care weekend for ten writers. I’ve already started a Google doc for myself to take note of what went well, what we need to remember to make next time even better, and what would need to change if we wanted to have more people.Read More »
It’s the first full day of my self-care and writing retreat and I decide to pull a card from the magic pony deck*. I open the Texas flag bag where I keep them and reach in blindly. Sometimes I take my time, breathing deeply and consciously connecting to the energy of my deck, my herd, my Universe. Not today; today I run my fingers along the edge of the deck and pull a card from the middle without hesitation or consideration.
A white horse with flowing white mane looks out from the card, her eyes and ears soft but attentive. Her nose flares slightly, inquisitively.Read More »
In December, in the midst of some of my lowest moments, I decided I needed a writing retreat. Oddly, there were no retreats scheduled in exactly the place I wanted with exactly the people I wanted where I could wear and eat and do exactly what I wanted.
This self-exploration comes from a personal coaching session with the Discovery Horse herd a couple of weeks ago. I wrote it that same day, but I wasn’t ready to share it until now.
On my way to Discovery Horse, I was overwhelmed with sorrow. It was a sorrow that had been building for a while and I could feel it morphing into a familiar monster: depression. My whole body felt like a place I needed to escape from.Read More »
During my Minnesota months, I volunteer as much of my time as possible at Discovery Horse, where my good friends, Sara Sherman and Matt Schwab, have created a safe haven for people seeking connection. One of my favorite jobs on the farm is “horse handling”. In my role as horse handler, I am responsible for inviting the horses into the arena before a session and being present for them as they work. A side-effect of being present for the horses is that I am also present for the work the humans are doing. I have the honor of observing people at their bravest, as they let down their armor and allow themselves to be truly seen. This is a true story (with names and identifying information removed, of course) as seen from my horse handler position.Read More »