Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Writing, Teaching, Language, Landscape, Life


That would be “Backyard Tango”

Dear All, can you tell that I was thinking about all to be done today? For the first time ever, I sent out the last Dewdrops with the draft title of “Backyard-Luke.” It had to happen sometime and today is the perfect day! 

Out the door. The “Backyard Tango” continues!

Love, Dawn




Backyard Tango

Cara's bouquet

Cara’s bouquet

Of course, the first mason-jar bouquet of the year in our new home had to be in honor of Cara.

Our home—more specifically, our yard—has been a swirl of activity lately in preparation for Luke’s upcoming high school graduation festivities. We kicked off Mother’s Day with all that I asked for—working in our yard with loads of planting and digging. Despite the wind and rain, the kids dove in and we spend the day outside. 

Flowers to plant

Wynn Luke working on the yard

The next day, we poured the slab of cement for the ramada. A couple of Noé’s friends from work came to help. I felt as if I were in Cascabel—large machinery, Spanish flying everywhere. The guys constantly referred to the other as, Mi rey (my king), a common term of endearment in Spanish. 

Pouring slab

Couldn’t resist.

Casa Villarreal Wink 2016

We moved on to laying flagstone.


Wyatt Wynn laying flagstone


I hope our neighbors don’t mind classic 80’s, 70’s, and 60’s music, as that is what is playing to rock us through our work. 

Work cre

El Blanco has pulled through like a charm. Cannot imagine how we ever made it without.

Dawn El Blanco

When you need more room for 18 foot boards, improvise! Noé said people were anxious to pass and get ahead of him on the highway. 

Noe el blanco

Saw first rattlesnake of the year on my run. I saw as my foot almost came down on its head. I was deep into mile six and my mind a million miles away thinking of everything needing to be done. Then suddenly, the “rattlesnake hop,” when suddenly your heels grow wings and you find yourself flying several feet forward. Rattlesnake

Today is Sunday and Luke graduates tomorrow. The day will be filled with putting up the structure for the ramada—a “ramada raising,” the southwestern version of the Amish barn raising. My bonnet is ready. Then, on to decorating the ramada and trees with as many little white lights as I can wrap around everything. We’re starting early, in hopes of actually finishing and getting some good work time in before the late-afternoon southwestern winds kick up. Breakfast of egg burritos, made with fresh eggs from a colleague. I love their mosaic. Fresh eggs

As I was looking around yesterday, thinking of the yard last year and even last week, I said to Luke, “We may actually pull this off yet, buddy.” 


When not digging holes, Luke’s 1600 meter relay team took First in the New Mexico Track and Field Competition. More on that, and how life gave me a second chance, in a future piece. For now, the State Champ himself.

Luke's team #1

Luke’s cheering section.

Luke's team

And his very proud Mommy Lady.

Dawn and Luke



A Mosaic for Mother’s Day

A sunrise run.

Sunrise run.

A mosaic of photos for Mother’s Day. Bits of beauty from the past few weeks to share together.

Early morning writing by candlelight.

Early morning writing.

Layers and textures of clouds overhead.

Layers of clouds over Santa Fe.

First lilac in honor of Cascabel and Grandma Grace to bloom.

First lilac

A new discovery for Friday Night, Family Night. Highly recommend.

Hatch Red Chile Wine

Running trail and partner.

running trail

Postcard from Switzerland of the incredible library in St. Gallen. Heaven. One day I’ll go.

Postcard St. Gallens

Postcard from Kay Schimke. Thank you!

The guitar inspired by Song in Meadowlark unfolds…

Meadowlark guitar Song
The artist, Jodi Shaw, at work. I must say, this makes me a bit teary.

This photo hangs above my writing desk. I adore. I lose myself in this image and all it evokes. Photographer unknown. Wings to all.

Woman and wings

In honor of mothers the world over. My maternal great-grandmother, Lucille Clark, age 13. Or, as I knew her, Grammie Cile.

Grammie Cile

My grandmother, Janet Clark Richardson.

Grandma Janet

With my incredible, phenomenal mom.

Dawn baby and Mom

In honor of beauty, wings, and mothers the world over. 

Rooftop sunset.

Rooftop sunset.


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WORDHARVEST Webinars for Writers


Those of you familiar with Wordharvest’s Tony Hillerman Writers Conference know of the incredible community of writers of all genres who have gathered for this conference through the years. Wordharvest, founded by Anne Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg, is now expanding our community and the opportunity to attend a conference virtually through webinars on the craft and business of writing.  

At the most recent Hillerman Conference, one of my great takeaways of information and ideas came from Bill O’Hanlon’s workshop on “The Anatomy of Engaging Stories: Elements That Make Readers Keep Reading.” His engaging style and personality kept the information relevant and energy-filled.

I scribbled loads of ideas in my writing journal.

In the spirit of paying it forward, my colleague and Wordharvest faculty member Bill O’Hanlon now brings his expertise and energy to teaching a webinar for writers that I think will interest you:

C.A.R.V.E. Your Platform for Greater Visibility and Income: 
5 Elements That Can Move Your Book Sales to the Next Level

Publishing’s favorite buzzword these days is Platform.
But what is Platform and how do you create a great one to move your readership and success to the next level?

Saturday, May 7th

2:00 pm MDT (Mountain Daylight Time)
One-hour webinar with live Q&A at the end of the hour

Bill O’Hanlon is a dynamic presenter.
This informative talk is invaluable for writers of fiction and non-fiction who have a finished book or manuscript.

For More Information and Registration:


Bill O’Hanlon is a prolific author. With 35 books published to date, he is eager to coach writers on how to get their books into publication. I’m a tremendous fan. His experience and enthusiastic teaching style are positive encouragement that others can write their books and get them published.

I hope you will take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Dawn Wink

Layers of clouds over Santa Fe.

Layers of clouds over Santa Fe.


Calving Season – A Cowboy’s Heart

It’s calving season on the ranch again—eternal rhythm of life.

Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Dad with calf Daddy with Calf. Art by Adam Bunting

It’s calving season on the ranch. This painting of my dad conveys the essence of his spirit and heart. Tears sprang to my eyes the first time I saw this piece. A surprise gift for my parents, Bunting conveys Daddy’s spirit and heart. A treasure. Artist Adam Bunting painted this portrait from a photo taken by Sherry Bunting

It’s calving time on ranches all over the world right now. Not only do these calves represent life, they represent generations of bloodlines, untold hours of caring for their mothers, the mothers before them, and on and on… In honor of the heart, spirit, and weeks without sleep that comes with calving, art and poetry to honor all. In honor of the history and hope that is calving season:

Daddy with calf. ©Sherry Bunting Daddy with calf. ©Sherry Bunting

A Cowboy’s Work

by Tirzah Conway

A cowboy’s work is never done,
Like Sheppard’s among…

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Of Women, Writing, and Wildflowers: Story Circle Writing Conference

Texas Bluebells and

Wildflowers—Texas Bluebonnets and Gallardia along morning run.

.…Help us to bring darkness into the light,
To lift out the pain, the anger,
Where it can be seen for what it is—
The balance-wheel for our vulnerable, aching love.
Put the wild hunger where it belongs,
Within the act of creation…

May Sarton, Without Darkness, Without Light…An Invocation to Kali

Guitar greeting in airport.

Guitar greeting in airport.

A community of women writers gathered together in Austin, TX for the Story Circle Writing Conference.

First, this is what happens when a women’s writing community flocks to a single hotel—and the hotel management is kind enough to respond beautifully, and convert the Men’s bathroom into another Women’s for the duration of the conference. Bravo!

Women's Bathrooms

Bathroom conversion

Urinals with flowers










I was especially grateful for this time, as many of the women I’ve known purely through our internet community and had never met in-person. What a gift to now have faces and spirits to accompany the names on our emails! These days were a time of deep community, and deep laughter and love, deep wisdom on the craft and business of writing: 

Brooke Warner

Brooke Warner, She Writes Press

Brooke Warner, of She Writes Press, kicked off our time together with her insights on the Five C’s of writing:  

1) Community: Support one another and thrive. Work and women thrive in community.

2) Commitment: Page after page. A time will come for everyone.

3) Championing:  Champion your writing, champion other writers.

4) Claiming: We have to claim. No one will give you time to write.

5) Courage: Listen to the calling. 

“Author your story, author your life. This is why women need a writing space of their own.”

Outrageous Requests

Debra Winegarten, Outrageous Requests

Story Shaper, Debra Winegarten, author of Oveta Culp Hobby and a book of poetry (among many other books) with one of the best titles ever There’s Jews in Texas? shared her passion for writing and life by starting her presentation with all of our dancing to It’s all about those Books

One of the ways Debra lives her passion for writing, books, and life is her ritual of Outrageous Requests, which she makes weekly. These requests have opened previously only imagined doors within the writing world.

One of my great take-aways from this conference is to fold this rhythm into my own writing life. I’ll keep you posted this. Perhaps you might join me. 

Susan & Dawn SCN 2016

Susan & Dawn SCN 2016

Susan J. Tweit and I shared our ideas and experiences with “Character as Place” something we are both passionate about.  Here is the presentation I promised to include: Place as Character. Story Circle 2016

Susan and I curled up over hot chocolate and cafe latte to review the final edits of our essay, “Mother Tongues: Two Writers Explore the Words and Cultures that Shape their Connection to Place” in the upcoming issue of Langscape

Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert

Story Circle creator, and New York Times bestselling author, Susan Wittig Albert spoke of the importance of women writing together in community, of the gender bias in the publishing industry. “This bias goes back centuries. Women’s voices have not been as important as men’s throughout history. Women write in community. Women share life stories. These life stories and women’s writing has historically not been valued by the publishing industry.

Women authors receive letters from publishers with feedback such as, ‘This novel would be better with a male protagonist.’ When you look at the statistics of winners of the Pulitzer, the Booker, they are overwhelmingly male. The gender bias extends to book reviews, contests, job opportunities within publishing. Women writers need more champions.”

Thus, Albert created Story Circle, a community that supports and connects women writers. “We thrive in community, in collaboration. We are literary citizens. Communities work best when all play the part of givers, as well as receivers. We do this by paying it forward.” 

Speaking of paying it forward, I have to share a wonderful class starting soon, “Consider Birds: Trading Anxiety for Peace of Mind” taught by Jodi Shaw. Meadowlark will be featured in the course and I get to pop in virtually via video to be a part of the class. Jodi is an incredible artist and inspirer.

She is currently at work on a piece inspired by “song” in Meadowlark. Jodi wrote, “The altered guitar is inspired by a passage in Dawn Wink’s novel Meadowlark between the heroine Grace and her dear friend Daisy. It is all about living your song, which to me means being true to who you are. It celebrates song, authenticity, and the South Dakota prairie.”I can’t wait to see what she creates. Jodi creates magic, beauty, and inspiration through her work.

Song, Artist Jodi Shaw

Song, Artist Jodi Shaw

Consider Birds, Jodi Shaw

Song, Jodi Shaw

Artist, Jodi Shaw

Artist, Jodi Shaw

I returned to Santa Fe to write, run, and muse on all. Let’s all go out and pay it forward, make outrageous requests, champion yourself and others—and listen to the soul of the land. 

Friday evening run with Clyde.

Friday evening run with Clyde.



TESOL 2016 – Language, Culture, Identity, and Love

Baltimore Harbor

Baltimore Harbor

At the recent TESOL International Conference in Baltimore, we dove into ideas around Language, Culture, and Identity in roundtable panel discussion in a session created by Dr. Francisco Ramos.

BEIS Roundtable

Manka Varghese, Alsu Gilmetdinova, Francisco Ramos, Dawn Wink, Eric Dwyer, Constantine Ioannou

Francisco sent we panelists the questions and guiding quotes to muse ahead of time:

     – What factors play roles in the loss of minority languages?
     – Is this the reality around us?
     – Is it possible to revert this trend?
     – Can we save/Is it worth saving each and every language?
     – Can culture be taught?
     – What is won and and what is lost when we relocate?
     – Do we really manage to belong?
           o “Acoma is home, but I don’t live there” (Simon Ortiz)
     – In order to fit in in a group:
          o Do you need both culture and language or is knowledge of culture enough?
     – Do we feel/act differently depending on the language(s) we use? Why?
     – Can a name change affect/impact who we are?
     – “So, what happens when one combines a deep sense of place with a sense of exile within one’s own home?” (Dawn Wink)

FlagsOf course, these ideas make my own heart beat wildly. If these ideas interest you, grab a pen and scribble your own thoughts to the guiding questions and quotes. Here is the full PPT created by Francisco: Roundtable_Questions copy

“There is a reason why the language we inherit at birth is called our mother tongue. It is our mother, forgiving, embracing, naming the world and all its emotions. Though I have lived for the last forty years in cities where English or French is the language of the majority, it’s Bangla that exercises motherly restraint over my provisional, immigrant identity.” ~Bharati Mukherjee 

This is an especially poignant quote for all human reasons, and for me at TESOL as my own mom introduced me to TESOL years ago. In the intervening decades, the conference has almost always fallen on the week around our birthdays and we’ve celebrated our birthdays together in various states and convention centers. 

With Mom on 27th floor above the Harbor.

With Mom on 27th floor above the Harbor.

Road to Atall School © Joan Wink

Road to Atall School © Joan Wink

This year Mom spoke onBreaking Borders with Stories: Birth to Death.” I was thrilled to be asked to introduce Mom, as the creator of my own birth story. 

Mom shared many stories, including of two young boys from the Congo; Missy and the Most Magnificent Thing in a one-room school house (K-8) in South Dakota, and:

Why Stories

Mom, Baltimore Harbor.

Mom, Baltimore Harbor.

•  To break borders, even our own self-imposed borders;

  • •  To affirm identity;
  • •  To capture a moment in time;
  • •  To create our shared heritage;
  • •  To access language and literacy;
  • •  To teach.

The human brain favors stories or the narrative form as a primary means of organizing and relating human experience. Stories contain large amounts of valuable information even when the storyteller forgets or invents new details. ~ Leslie Silko, The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir

Sandra Mercuri

Sandra Mercuri

This year’s TESOL Conference leaves me amazed on many levels. As I flew back across the states and thought of this year’s conference, I thought of the richness of ideas, the depth of reflection and dedication, the amazing contexts in which people teach, all of our amazing students, and the life stories of so very many of us filled with both beauty and the acute challenges that reflect the human costs of the bureaucratization of education. 

Underlying all lies love

Mary Scholl

Mary Scholl

As important as the new ideas, the research, the pedagogy and methodology—is the community, friendship and love that come together during this time. Amidst the presentations, we found each other to catch up on the past year, to hug and share, to walk the harbor and talk about life, to talk about upcoming life decisions when there is no easy answer, to toss out ideas about the future, to connect. We texted, “Where are you?” “Coffee?” “I’ll find you.”

This is what sustains, this is community, this is as important as any new research or ideas—friendships filled with shared experiences and roots across the miles and years, heart connections.
Francisco & Juliet

Francisco Ramos & Juliet Luther

Again and again my students ask, “How can we make it in education? What keeps a teacher going?” I tell them that it is the relationships with other kindred spirits, in-person and in writing through their books and our correspondence, it is the professional/personal community that remind us that we are not alone, that we walk a shared path—it is the friendships, the community, the connections that sustain and enrich. Without these, I cannot imagine I would have made it. I encourage students again and again to stay in touch, create that community, and pour energy into those friendships and into this community. These friendships remind us of what is real, what is important in education, where are heart lies. They are our True North stars.

Already ideas and plans for next year’s conference in Seattle. Here’s to community, language, culture, identity and love!
Dawn taking photo

Doing what I do, taking photos. © Joan Wink

Baltimore Harbor

Baltimore Harbor


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