Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

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.


Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

16 thoughts on “Of Women, Writing, and Wildflowers: Story Circle Writing Conference

  1. Pingback: WORDHARVEST Webinars for Writers | Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

  2. Your ending picture is so beautiful. It makes my heart long to be there. Maybe someday. Thanks, Howard

    • Howard, that photo was taken at the very end of a great, long run. Isn’t that windmill gorgeous? I’m so glad this image and place speaks to you, as it does to me. Here’s to your seeing this landscape for yourself someday. Thanks so much for taking the time to connect. Dawn

  3. Next time you are in Austin this old friend of your Dad from Moville would like to buy you lunch.
    Dennis Hobbs

  4. Thanks so much for sharing all of this wonderfulness – photos as well as words of wisdom – with all of us, dear Dawn. XOXO

  5. Comadre, What a beautiful remembrance of the conference and a wonderful mantra for the days ahead! As your resident botanist, I need to tell you that those flowers in your gorgeous opening photo are Texas bluebonnets though, not Texas Bluebells (they’re sacred in Texas, so the name is important!). xoxo

  6. Hey there Crazy connection- Brooke is married to a friend of mine from high school:-) Susan

    Sent from my iPad

    • Susie, that is wild! And she was there in Austin, with their son. I didn’t have the chance to meet. Had I realized, what a wild and wonderful surprise connection with her. XOXO Wink Woman

  7. Dawn, so sorry I missed this. I had surgery and then major complications and infection resulting in two more surgeries and additional hospital stay and am going through wound vac therapy. This seems to happen to way too many women these days. Of course I want to know why. I think the only response I can have is to write about it—eventually. Healing will be my focus for awhile.

    • Bobbi, oh, I am so sorry to hear of your surgery and additional hospital stay. I am not familiar with wound vac therapy and am going to look this up. Interesting that this happens to so many women. Yes, write about it. At the base of all, this is what we do, isn’t it? I am sending healing thoughts and energy your way. Please keep in touch about your healing.

      • Thank you, Dawn. Prayers are always appreciated. I had never heard about the therapy either. It consists of a negative pressure dressing hooked to a tiny pump via tubing and used for severe wounds or those in strange places–like abdominal hysterectomy incisions in larger women. In my case the original stitches became infected while in hospital. The whole thing was basically exploratory, so that makes it harder to accept. There was no cancer, but what an ordeal to go through to find that out.

  8. What a WONDERFUL mantra for this week….and the next week…and the next…”Let’s all go out and pay it forward, make outrageous requests, champion yourself and others – and listen to the soul if the land.” Thank you Dawn!!

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