Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Writing, Teaching, Language, Landscape, Life


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Writing Space of One’s Own

My writing room.

My writing room.

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”  ~Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

I haven’t always loved the above quote by Virginia Woolf. I especially did not love it when I was writing at the kitchen table, on the couch surrounded by kids and dogs, and at my desk in the living room amidst the deep living of life with three teenagers, husband, and big German Shepherd.

I have always loved and been fascinated by writing spaces. I’ve been so fascinated that I devoted a piece to Writing Spaces Around the World. There is just something so insightful, intimate, and fascinating about the spaces where people put their worlds into words.

Kitchen table writing space.

Kitchen table writing space.

Most of my writing life has taken place at the kitchen table with life happening all around. Oh, the marvelous discovery of ear plugs! Suddenly, one sits in a somewhat gauzy space and can focus.

Our home for the past years has burst at the seams with children, animals, and life. So much so that we converted (a term I use loosely—it has insulation) our garage into a bedroom for our oldest son, Wyatt. One evening at dinner, the kids were complaining about the small size of our house. “Compared to most places people live around the world, our home is huge!” I said.

“Mom,” Wyatt said, “I sleep in the garage.” I admitted that he had a point. 

In the unfolding of life, Wyatt left this fall for college. He wasn’t gone 24 hours and his younger brother, Luke, had claimed his room and Wynn had claimed Luke’s. With the shifting and movement, suddenly, a room of my own, a room with a door, opened before me. Every inch of my new writing room creaks with meaning, roots, relationship, and love.

One never really has enough book shelves.

One never really has enough book shelves.

Long ago, in a galaxy far away, I sewed. Nobody in my family believes me. Since Baby #3 arrived 15 years ago, I made her baby quilt, started writing, and have not sewn since. Now, I have a space to sew, where I don’t have to put everything away at the end of the day!

Shelves and sewing space.

Shelves and sewing space. Wooden toys for young visitors.

The below warning is true. Dad gave me this t-shirt. I envision as a highly embroidered pillow.

True.

True.

 Dolls across the generations and countries.

Dolls across generations and countries.

Dolls across generations and countries.

La gran Frida Kahlo brings spirit and strength to any space. I simply love the image of the skull composed of two women below her. I know la Friducha would love, too.

Frida Kahlo and women composing skull.

Frida Kahlo and women composing skull.

Candles are essential for early morning writing.

Candles for early morning writing.

Candles for early morning writing.

Fetishes bring their power and magic.

Fetishes and treasures.

Fetishes and treasures.

Socks hand-knit for each child never leave one’s side.

Socks for kids hand-knit by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas.

Socks for kids hand-knit by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas.

Babies sleep on shelves among the books.

Babies sleep among the books.

Babies sleep among the books.

Each piece of art here laden with story, roots, and love. Vintage doll set from the 1930s. Books below, research for the next novel. Treasures all.

Art of the heart and books of research for the next novel.

Art of the heart and books of research for the next novel.

My writing view.

Writing view.

Writing view.

Now, to write. The manuscript for “Love Stones” awaits. The publisher has seen the first draft and I have editing notes. The story wants to be written as memoir and deeper than planned. I light candles and hold the intention that this writing room—and I—am up for the journey. 

Manuscript for Love Stones.

Manuscript for Love Stones.

Sunrise out my writing room window. Here’s to the journey ahead.

Sunday sunrise.

Sunday sunrise.

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Alchemists—Changing the World into Words

Aspens and Sky ©Dawn Wink

As I drove home from the Women Writing the West Conference in Golden, CO, I looked up and saw this. I pulled over as soon as possible and ran back to take the photo. Aspens and Sky © Dawn Wink

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.” ~ William H. Gass

I’ve spent much of the past month with alchemists, alchemists changing the world into words. Fall always tends to be a time of book events and writing conferences, as if the turning of the leaves from emerald to gold somehow also ushers in all-things-literary. 

Me at the incredible Billings Public Library.

Me at the incredible Billings Public Library. I want to spend the winter there!

The South Dakota Festival of Books (along with the accompanying buffalo, birthdays, and burned trucks) came to a close with a lively radio conversation with Karl Gehrke of South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He jumped right into the heart of Meadowlark in ways that others skirt around! I knew that Mom and Dad were in town that day and parked somewhere listening to it live. They called two seconds after the interview ended. Apparently, I did okay. Here is our audio conversation about Meadowlark: Great-grandmother Inspires Novel.

Alchemists—One of the greatest gifts of writing is the community of other writers that one joins. A community of people interested in life, in fine details, in humanity in all of our reality and vulnerability. It is an amazing experience to be surrounded by writers. Energy fills the air. Even more of a gift are writers who support one another, lift up the spirit and work of others. This sense of kinship, of a deep understanding that we all spend the majority of our writing lives alone at a desk, often in the pre-dawn or late-night darkness. Perhaps because of this, we become downright giddy when we’re together! 

Me, Susan Tweit, Julene Bair, Page Lambert

Me, Susan Tweit, Julene Bair, Page Lambert

This past month has left me in awe of the passion, perseverance, and well-honed skills (because it takes all three) of writers.  Three incredibly gifted writers and I gathered at the Women Writing the West conference to share our experiences in writing, “Place as Character.” Two of my co-presenters wrote exquisitely about this. I share their words and images. Susan J. Tweit lifts our time together beautifully, “Community, not competition” in her Writing, Community, and Women’s VoicesPage Lambert conveys the spirit and of our experiences in her Heart of Place, “For each of us, and with each new story, Place will be different. At its heart will be everything that has ever been born, lived in, or died in that place, everything in the past, everything in the present, all energy— every sound, smell, ray of sun, every shadow, every sorrow, every joy.” 

Drive home. San Luis Valley, CO.

This opened before me my drive home from from the Women Writing the West Conference—San Luis Valley, CO.

With Mom, High Plains Book Awards

With Mom, High Plains Book Awards

Mom and I came together in Billings, MT for the High Plains Book Awards. I sat on  the Best Woman Writer panel with other writers of the Great Plains, including Canada. We realized that community often runs North-South, rather than East-West. We found more in common with one another, than with people of our own country on either coast. Mom and I had wonderful slumber parties!

The Tony Hillerman Writers Conference brought together writers of years of experience with writers attending their first conference. Joe Badal (The Lone Wolf Agenda) said of the conference,Anne Hillerman (Spider Woman’s Daughter) and Jean Schaumberg’s spirits of kindness infuse this entire conference.” Joe, Susan Tweit, and I spoke on “The Art of Blogging.” Joe writes of Everyday Heroes, Susan of Restoring Land and Community. As a voice, we spoke of following your passion.

Luci Tapahonso and Anne Hillerman, Tony Hillerman Writers Conference

Luci Tapahonso and Anne Hillerman

Luci Tapahonso (A Radiant Curve) spoke of “Saad: Luminous Beads of Wisdom.” Luci stood at the podium, “”Saad—words, story, a system of language. A clear, luminescent string of beads. The beads represent words, song, stories. We are made of saad: stories, songs, prayers.” Magical, powerful, a world unto itself in the room. In the Diné tradition, a child’s first laugh is honored, celebrations follow, blessings made. Imagine such a world…

So, these past weeks have been a world of words. Alchemists changing the world into words. To distill all learned would be to focus on the essence of community, kindness, perseverance, and never letting go of one’s dreams.

Chilean writer Isabel Allende describes writing as, “A constant exercise in longing.”

May we never stop longing.

***

Nest in Fall.

The turning of the leaves. Nest in fall.


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Day of the Dead and Rhythms of Life

Originally posted on Dawn Wink: Dewdrops:

Cut tissue paper - Papel picado

Cut tissue paper – Papel picado Photo© Wynn Wink-Moran

apron

A baking and cooking flurry to send homemade food and snacks back to college with Wyatt.

“Mom, are you going to make pan de muerto (bread of the dead)?” Wyatt asked me on the phone from his dorm room three hours away. Life has been a swirl of blessed busyness in the past weeks with my focus on that day and that place. I realized that Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos, was here.

This call came on the heels of Wyatt coming home from college briefly a few weeks ago and telling me, “Mom, do you know what I really miss? Home cooked snacks and food.” This inspired a 12-hour flurry of baking and cooking, as I prepared a big box of food to send back to Colorado with him.

I wrote this piece about Dia…

View original 1,083 more words


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Of Buffalo, Birthdays, Burned Trucks, and the SD Book Festival

Mom on Buffalo Roundup. © Dean Wink

Mom on Buffalo Roundup. © Dean Wink

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Last we knew, it was almost time for the South Dakota Festival of Books and Mom and Dad were off to ride the Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park on Dad’s 70th birthday. 

I made it to the Festival of Books and called Dad that morning for his birthday. He had loaded the horses and was headed to the Buffalo Roundup three hours away.

An hour later, Mom called. “Perfect timing,” I said. “I’m right in between workshops.” 

“Not really,” she said, calling from her own vehicle. “Your dad’s truck is on fire.” 

Fire?

“Fire. That’s all I know. I was on the phone with him and he said, ‘Whoa, there’s flames,’ and we lost our connection. I left early to drop Ginny (her dog) off with Kelly. The wild thing is, I had a premonition that we needed to take two vehicles. It didn’t make any sense at the time.” 

Dad's Truck. ©Sturgis Volunteer Fire Dept.

Dad’s Truck. ©Sturgis Volunteer Fire Dept.

“I was stopped for road construction,” Dad told me later, “and all of a sudden in the rear-view mirror, I saw flames flying out of the side of the wheels. Then, flames were flying up through the dashboard. I jumped out and unhooked the trailer and a road grader pushed it back away from the truck.” 

Dad and the shell of his truck. ©Sturgis Volunteer Fire Dept.

Dad and the shell of his truck. ©Sturgis Volunteer Fire Dept.

With the horses safe and the pickup a smoking husk, a friend offered Dad a pickup to make it to the roundup yet. Dad hooked up the trailer to the loaned pickup, and he and Mom headed to the roundup. When they reached town 80 miles away, Dad found the one of the wheels had come off the trailer. “Usually, you know when you’ve lost a tire, because they’ll roll by and pass you on the road,” he mused.  

At this point, Mom is thinking perhaps God is trying to tell them something about riding in the roundup. “These are not subtle signs!” 

Onward. The next day I received a text from Dad. “We’re off.” I texted back, “Enjoy! Be careful.” As I listened to workshops and wrote through the morning, I kept checking my phone for the next text, which I finally received—a photo of Mom and the word, “Done.” I exhaled deeply for the first time that day.

Mom on Buffalo Roundup. © Dean Wink

Mom on Buffalo Roundup. © Dean Wink

Friend and photographer/writer, Sherry Bunting, captured this image of Mom and Dad.

Dean and Joan Wink ©Sherry Bunting

Dean and Joan Wink ©Sherry Bunting

At an event that evening, the speaker introduced the birthday boy, still in his riding gear, to the 300 people in attendance. I told Dad, “I think it’s only right that the state of South Dakota throw a birthday party for what will now be known as Dean Wink’s Smokin’ 70th!”

SD Festival Friends dinner out.

SD Festival Friends-Kyle Schaefer, Malcolm Brooks, Gwen Westerman, Ashley Wolff, Rachael Hanel, me.

In Sioux Falls, SD, across the state from the flames and buffalo, the South Dakota Festival of Books whirled into full swing. The panels and presentations were marvelous. I immersed myself in listening and learning from others.

Rachael Hanel (We’ll be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter) spoke on the craft of memoir and through evocative photos guided us to memories long-hidden and rich with potential for writing. Gwen Westerman (MniSota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota) on the history of the Dakota,”I dreamt about it, as if all these stories were in one voice. It is our Genesis, little ‘g’ and big ‘G.'”

Malcolm Brooks (Painted Horses), whose book I now read, “The sun pools like a molten ingot and then drips progressively away, its color changing as it descends and changing in turn the hue of the sky around it.” Ashley Wolff (Miss Bindergarten Goes to Kindergarten) led us through how life and family infuse her art and writing. Jon Lauck (The Lost Region) gave voice to the revival of Midwestern history to highlight why the Midwest matters. 

I spoke on “Writing the Land” and “Meadowlark: In Word and Image,” so grateful to share the journey of both with those who attended. 

"When we write the land, we write ourselves." © Denise Blomberg

“When we write the land, we write ourselves.” © Denise Blomberg

Two of the greatest blessings of my time in Sioux Falls were the time spent with my Aunt Elaine (Dad’s sister) and Uncle Ray, who drove from Iowa and a surprise visit from dear friend of my parents and me from forever Mary Jane Lunetta, who completely surprised me by appearing from Minneapolis.

Aunt Elaine and Uncle Ray Johnson

Aunt Elaine and Uncle Ray Johnson

Mary Jane Lunetta

Mary Jane Lunetta

All in all, an incredible weekend—filled with friends, flames, festival, buffalo, birthdays, and books.

You really can’t make this stuff up. 

Home again and on a run through the desert with Clyde.

Home again and on a run through the desert with Clyde.


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South Dakota Festival of Books and a 70th Birthday

Sunrise run.

Sunrise run.

I took this photo on a long weekend sunrise run a few weeks ago. My German Shepherd, Clyde, galloped along ahead. I happened to turn to turn and saw sunbeams break over the horizon—inspired me for many miles, and days, after. Hope this will you, too.

SD Festival of Books

SD Festival of Books

Events to celebrate fill this week. I’m off to Sioux Falls, SD for the South Dakota Festival of Books, September 26-28, to bask in all things literary.

I speak on “Writing the Land” (Saturday, 9/27, 9:00 am) and “Meadowlark: In Word and Image” (Saturday, 9/27, 4:00 pm). Books signings for two days: Early Bird Mass Book Signing, 9/26/2014 3:00-4:00, and Mass Book Signing, 9/27/2014 1:00-1:45. 

For any who live in the area, I would love to see you. 

Drum roll please

Dad, branding 2014

Dad, branding 2014

Dad turns 70 on September 25th. He and Mom will celebrate his 70th by riding with buffalo. No, I am not making this up. For the past number of years, Dad and Mom have ridden in the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup and they will be running with the buffalo on Dad’s birthday this year. 

It’s not everybody who runs with the buffalo for their 70th. I think this happens only when your dad’s a cowboy

Happy Birthday, Dad! 

Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup.

Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup.

 

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A World for the Moment—Flowers of Summer

Summer bouquets

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to somebody else.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe
First bouquet of summer.

First bouquet of summer.

I came across these thoughts by Georgia O’Keeffe last week and they give voice to one of my favorite rhythms of summer—planting flowers, so I can give people bouquets. I love leaving bouquets at friends’ doors, bringing to our campus office and for my classes and colleagues.  There is something about this that makes me exponentially happy and hopefully create a bit of beauty and joy for the recipient.

Though summer edges into fall, the flowers still bloom and I hope to get a few more weeks and bouquets before the weather turns cold. 

Mason jars for bouquets.

Mason jars for bouquets.

I have discovered an essential element of giving bouquets—give them in something that people don’t need to worry about returning. For this reason, I love mason jars. I buy them by the flat during the summer. They are pretty, inexpensive, and it doesn’t matter if they are returned, so people can enjoy the flowers, without worrying about washing and returning the vase. Love this.

The bouquets tend to be messy, filled with flowers that happen to be blooming at that time. I love the colors and textures and wildness of all. Here are some of the bouquets from this summer and the flowers that I love to plant that compose them.

Flowers in the garden.

Flowers in the garden.

Bouquet after.

Bouquet after.

Through the years, I’ve come to have some particular favorites for flowers—zinnias, cosmos, roses, gaillardia, and lavender.

Gaillardia, often called Mexican Hat.

Gaillardia, often called Mexican Hat.

Zinnia

Zinnia

I love bringing flowers to my classes. I brought this to our Orientation to the Teaching Profession class on the first night. The day started…”Dawn, come here,” our student worker on campus said and then peeled off my sweater.
I thought maybe that she just thought my outfit would look better without the sweater…
Then, she turned it RIGHT-SIDE-OUT and put it back on me. Classic first day of teaching—thinking about everything-school and put my my clothes on inside out!

First night of class.

First night of class.

I especially love leaving flowers at peoples’ doors or on their desks for them as a surprise.

Bouquets for friends, ready for delivery.

Bouquets for friends, ready for delivery.

Pink cosmo.

Pink cosmo.

Marigolds, ready for summer bouquets and to be dried to usher in the spirits for the Day of the Dead.

Marigolds

A Dewdrops bouquet, picked this morning, especially for you.

holding bouquet

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Dewdrops Birthday

First summer bouquet

First summer bouquet

Happy Birthday to Us!

We celebrate our 2nd birthday in August. Two years ago I wrote, “So here is my hope – that this blog will be doses of writing, dewdrops, that might knit us together in this wild, heartbreaking, and exquisite experience of life. Inevitably along the way, there will be thoughts and questions about language, culture, writing, teaching, the land, kids, and anything else that composes the chapters of life. I look forward to our journey together.” 

So much has happened since that time—and along the way, we’ve laughed, cried, questioned, and been Still. Here is the last year of writing. As I composed this piece, looking back over the past year, an image of dewdrops beaded together on a leaf came to mind—each unique and beautiful, and yet in their cluster create a whole. Just like our community.

First touch

First touch

So deeply grateful to share the journey,

Dawn

One Year of Dewdrops

A Blessed Busy

It’s About Illuminating Life on Earth

Beauty, Skulls, and Culture

Today’s the Day! MEADOWLARK Book Launch

Cove, Dominican Republic

Cove, Dominican Republic

Birthing Rain: Meadowlark’s Book Launch

Deadwood to the Dominican Republic

The Blizzard that Never Was—and its Aftermath on Cattle and Ranchers

It Takes a Ranch—South Dakota Ranchers Affected by the Blizzard 

Storm Atlas

Storm Atlas

Kindnesses and Bones

Rhythms and Day of the Dead

Touchstones

Gratitude Amidst the Messy Parts

Threaded Beads

Writing the Land Class 

Cut tissue paper - Papel picado

Cut tissue paper – Papel picado

O’Keeffe—Spirit of the Winter Solstice

Christmas in Santa Fe—Photos and Recipes

Books to Curl Up and Savor

Magic and Dreams in 2014

Friday Night, Family Night—Love of Place, Belonging… 

Horses on prairie.

Horses on prairie.

Snow-laden Nest Waiting for Spring

When I am an Old Horsewoman

Women of Atlas: Song through the Storm 

Tucson Festival of Books and “the Benson kids”—Roots and Love

Starfish, San Juans.

Starfish, San Juans.

Language and Story: TESOL, Puebla, and the Story Catcher Writing Workshop

What Creates Heroes

Rainbow Between Storms

Story Catchers: The Story Catcher Writing Workshop

The Problem and the Fix on the Ranch: Broken Powerlines

The World Cup—A Surprising Love Story

Gift from the Sea—The San Juan Islands

Dawn

Dawn

I have birthday presents! In honor of our birthday, I have three copies of Meadowlark to gift. If you would like a copy, just mention this in the comments below. I’ll sign, bundle, and send to the first three people.

Gratitude.

 

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