Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination


Happy New Year 2023 and Deep Gratitude—Year in Review

As I enter the New Year writing my gratitudes in the early morning hours of darkness, sanctuary, and solitude, I think of you and this community. I am so deeply grateful to and for each of you reading this. I am profoundly grateful for our connection across the miles, years, landscapes, and seas. We came into each other’s lives through a spectrum of experiences. You, your presence, and your incredible spirit enrich my life and world in exponential ways. Thank you and thank you for sharing your life path with me. I read and cherish every comment. I always hope to respond to each. Sometimes other things in life pull me away. You taking the time to write and connect lands in my heart. I know how rich and full all of our lives! I thought I’d create this piece with all of the Dewdrops pieces from 2022. I reread all of your comments. What marvelous gifts of spirit and heart—such a reflection of you.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful new year! The chapter of of this New Year is ours to write.

Much love and deep gratitude,


Stories of Language, Landscape, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination I sit in the early morning time of sanctuary and solitude, candlelight and coffee, darkness and dreams. My journal fills with an ever-growing list of Dewdrops pieces that to write—all swirling around language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination; the most recent trip to the ranch; Lilyology; Scholarly Personal Narrative; translanguaging; beauty; books; family; and so very many other musings and bits of beauty.

The past few months have been a time of many presentations, writing, and sharing of ideas. My passion for all things language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination continues to grow. I spoke recently about these ideas and stories…

TESOL Convention—Layers of Ideas, Friendship, and Love I hope to share the spirit of the time, as well as some ideas that I took away. TESOL has been a big part of my life for many, many years and in multiple ways. I believe my first TESOL was in Salt Lake City, 2002. Throughout the intervening years, TESOL serves as a foundational stone in my own professional understandings about all-things-multiple-language-acquisition. Ever since my first meeting with the Bilingual-Multilingual Education that segued from the meeting to salsa dancing in New York City, I knew I met my people. Professional colleagues became dear friends.

Creative Processes—Follow the Spark I always love learning about others’ creative processes in all forms. I learn, I study, I weave some of those elements into my own. I find creative processes makes my heart smile and my spirit soar. I share some of my own creative processes here in hopes of contributing to all of us who love these. My own processes take multiple forms with some common threads. They almost always begin with that energy spark of an idea that can happen anywhere and at anytime. Yes, it can be while I’m writing in my journal, often they happen when I’m running, and they are also equally as bound to happen while in the grocery store looking for my favorite tea.

Running Deeper Into Language We know that language is not learned, it is acquired through relevant and meaningful use. As I listen to the narrative, I focus on the story, as well as the pronunciation and cadence. Initially, I let myself look up three unfamiliar words in one run. To look up more would’ve made my runs take too long before the work day. So, for approximately 1 – 1.5 hours a day, I listen to gorgeous, oral Spanish. The voice of the narrator mades a difference. I’ve listened to listen to a sample first, so it’s a narrator that I like. Now, I have some real favorites. I have listened to books from Spain, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. Thus far, the narrators come from the country of origin, so speak with the particular rhythm and pronunciation of each country. I love this.

Wink Ranch — Photo Journal 2022 Mom and I made a quick dash to the ranch together on her way back from Tucson. We headed out early for the drive to the ranch. The sun peeked over the horizon just as we crested the hills around Las Vegas, New Mexico. Daddy called a little later and asked, “Am I speaking with Thelma or Louise?”  Up through the mountains of New Mexico, over the plains of southern Colorado, and up to the sagebrush valleys of Wyoming, we drove. We in the Southwest have enjoyed amazing rains this summer, which has helped our drought-scorched country immensely. New Mexico hasn’t had our traditional summer monsoon rains, nor the heavy snows of winter for the past few years. The Rio Grande River is nearly dry. Here, some photos of our time, both of the land and the ranch and the bits of beauty around the ranch house that I love.

Language, Culture, and Land: Lenses of Lilies in Langscape Magazine At a pond’s edge, a woman muses about waterlilies as metaphors for mother-tongue languages and their power to anchor story, wisdom, and heritage.

Waterlilies hold a special place in my heart. I did not grow up with them, though. I grew up on a remote ranch amid the sand, rocks, cacti, and dry beauty of the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States. I love the intense heat, the plants that thrive on periods of drought interspersed with torrential rains, and the vast open horizons that cup the wide basin of the desert…Little did I ever imagine that those read-about and imagined waterlilies would have a profound impact on both my professional and my personal life. More…

Running on the Ranch: The Road Less Traveled I love running on the ranch. There isn’t always time to run when on the ranch, but I always hope that there will be and arrive with my running tights, shoes, and gear. I am used to and love the expansive views and horizons of my high desert running trails around around in Santa Fe. The prairie of the western South Dakota plains holds a whole different kind of space. Surrounded by sheer prairie, there is a sense of running under the great blue bowl of the sky above.

Beauty, Ideas, and Connections: International Ecolinguistics Association Conference Graz, Austria

I have followed the work the International Ecolinguistics Association through the past years. I hoped to attend their conference one day, but life was rich and full of much else that needed tending. This year as the request for proposals for the conference went out, I decided cast my fate to the winds and submit a proposal to present at the upcoming conference at the University of Graz, Austria. I decided that if my proposal was accepted, I would figure out a way to attend. My proposal to present on “Ecolinguistics Through Wildness, Beauty, and Imagination—Transdisciplinary Research Through Scholarly Personal Narrative and Lilyology” was accepted.

Día de los Muertos—Altar as Landscape, Love Lives On Mom’s hope chest creates the foundation for the altar. As I placed each piece, I had to smile. When my Grandma Mary embroidered Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, when my Great-Grandma Grace ground the coffee before dawn in the sod hut on the ranch, never could they have imaged these pieces where they are now. The landscape of our altar reflects the landscape of my life. Yo soy fronterista. I am a woman of the borderlands, as used by Gloría Anzaldúa. My life is one of a fronterista, where worlds overlap: prairie and Southwest, rural and international, landscape literature and linguistic human rights. Here on the altar, prairie and farmland come together with the Southwest; German, Welsh, Irish, and English with Latino; Protestant with Catholic; past with present. The worlds, each with a distinct culture, come together to create the mosaic of the whole.

A Shared Cup of Christmas Tea We were all set to be on the ranch with Grammie, Bop Bop, and the Wisconsin Winks this Christmas, but the record setting cold hitting the Great Plains put an end to those plans. “We don’t want our family traveling in these conditions,” Mom and Dad let us know. And, they made that call even before the entire state of South Dakota closed all travel. Predicted temperatures of -70 including the wind chill factor anticipated for this week. The North Pole has nothing on the Wink Ranch!

A Wink family tradition for Christmas is to read the gorgeous book A Cup of Christmas Tea by Tom Hegg. While this is titled Christmas tea, the story holds for all traditions. This is a human story of roots, memories, and love. I thought that I’d read to you.






Exploring Language, Landscape, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Dear Dewdrops Community, I hope this note finds you well and safe in these wild times. Please know how much our connection means to me, always and especially now.

My current work explores the connections between language and landscape through the lenses of wildness, beauty, and imagination. I live in multiple worlds, as so many of us do. One of my worlds is that of creative prose and narrative with a focus on landscape. Another world that I am passionate about is the academic world of Linguistic Human Rights and ecolinguistics. I now intertwine these worlds together, with the hope of enriching each with the beauty, research, knowledge, and wisdom into the other. Into the creative prose of landscape literatures, I bring language as element of landscape and the research of Linguistic Human rights and ecolinguistics. Into the academic world, I express knowledge and research through creative prose.

Here the works found in such journals as Orion, Emergence, Terralingua & Landscape, braid with the ecolinguistic and Linguistic Human Rights research of Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Robert Phillipson, and Sune Vork Steffensen and the powerful prose of Terry Tempest Williams, Pam Houston, Amy Irvine, Robert MacFarlane, and Craig Childs.

If exploring language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination interests you, I’m creating a Twitter community with this focus.

While I’ve had a Twitter account for years (@dawn_wink), I really haven’t spent much time there. Or any time there. As I dive deeper into my current work, I’ve discovered world of kindred spirits in academia, creative writing, and readers who love wildness, beauty, and imagination. My own space is one where these worlds and ideas mingle.

Current reading landscape.

In that space, art, nature writing, academics, creative writing, gorgeous prose, and photography thread together. Anything that resonates with me as conveying an essence of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

Some of the pieces shared there include:

Orion Magazine | Speaking of Nature: “While it’s true that words are simply vessels for meaning, without meaning of their own, many cultures imbue the utterance of words with spirit because they originate with the breath, with the mystery of life itself.”Finding language that affirms our kinship with the natural world with Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Emergence Magazine: Coyote Story: “THE SKY ON that day was the color of the paper on which I write this story.”

Knowable Magazine: The Fragile State of Contact Languages These linguistic mash-ups are at high risk of extinction. The race to save them is a matter of time, with more at stake than words.

Raven’s Time: Critical Literacy in the American Southwest “The raven looks out the window from the corner of my desk.” A piece on place, landscape, language and healing.

Orion Magazine | Together Apart A series of letters from isolation. Every week under lockdown, we eavesdrop on curious pairs of authors, scientists, and artists, listening in on their emails, texts, and phone calls as they redefine their relationships from afar.This first exchange is between Amy Irvine and Pam Houston

The beauty of a mosaic of languages. SIL International @SILintl Today, about 75% of the world population speaks approximately 8% of the world’s languages. Conversely, 25% of the world’s population speaks the remaining 92% of the world’s languages. This represents about 1.8 billion people.” Dr Michel Kenmogne, SIL Ex Dr

Veins of Turquoise: Migration, Immigration, Language “Let us create turquoise in the political and social fissures surrounding immigration and languages, as the land does amidst geographical eruptions. If turquoise is the stone of spirit, of healing, of prosperity, of protection, of journey, of safety, and of homecoming, then let us bring it to the land and our people.”

Linguistic Rights Are Human Rights: A Hope for a Future of Linguistic Diversity / Smithsonian Folklife. “Yet my hope for the future goes beyond this: it is that every soul, whose existence happens to manifest itself on the planet, continues through the generations to bring something new into the world, retains their  individuality, develops their own sense of humor, and tells their own unique story in a distinctive way.”

Dr. Gerald Roche @GJosephRoche—In the same way that dehumanization precedes genocide, the construction of languagelessness precedes language oppression. /fin

Wild Waters: Landscapes of Language Terralingua. “I listened to the desert. I listened to water. This is what I heard.”

Discovery of this world of kindred spirits would have been welcome any time, but right now with the pandemic and all of our social and travel restrictions, I feel a sense of an opening up the world. This discovery infuses a sense of energy and expansiveness.

So, if you’re interested in exploring these ideas, please join me on Twitter at @dawn_wink. There’s a whole wide world of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination out there to explore!

Hummingbird mint.

Robin in the bird bath.

One of my great joys of this summer in this time of social isolation and working remotely from home has been the birdbath and hummingbirds right outside my writing room window. Watching these birds and their antics, which I can see from my desk, brings me crazy amounts of joy.

This little spot has become the happen’ place! Robin comes every day to splash and cavort. A big white wing dove has taken to doing full-on cannonballs! Tiny songbirds flutter around and wait their turn, often descending in groups of four of five, dipping their little wings into the water and then fluttering and dancing around.

The hummingbird mint blooms around the birdbath and at least three hummingbirds have made their home in our yard this summer. They sip from the blooms throughout the day, diving and whizzing about. This swirl of birds throughout the day… crazy amounts of joy.

Sunrise and raven on early morning run.




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.


Authentic Creative and Professional Community through Social Media

Original by Jim Doyle

Original by Jim Doyle

When I shared in Dewdrops last week that in a few days I would be giving a workshop on Authentic Creative and Professional Community Through Social Media for New Mexico Women in Film (NMWIF), Noé came home that evening and said, “What? Wait, are you attending or giving this workshop?” It’s been a tad busy around our home lately with end-of-semester and school-year portfolios, finals, grades, kids’ sport banquets, deadlines and more deadlines. Not that it is that unusual, though, for Noé to say, “Wait, you’re doing what?” in our home. 

Bathing Bad

Bathing Bad

A heartfelt thank you to Linda McDill and Melissa McCurley for inviting me to spend the evening with NMWIF. What a treat! This was a marvelous evening with wildly creative people -actors, screenwriters, and artists. First, the location. Noé and I walked into an older building in downtown Albuquerque to find a room swathed in luscious purples, reds, golds, and smelling of lavender and all kinds of other warm, yummy smells. This man I’d never met before walked up, looked me up and down and said, “Cute shoes, the meth is on the table,” looked at the coffee in my hand, “and where’s my coffee?” I was actually speechless. I’d just met Keith West-Harrison, owner of Great Face and Body, host of our event, and creator of the “Bathing Bad” Bath Salts used in the hit TV series Breaking Bad. The “meth” on this table was actually candy, tastes just like rock dandy, and a gorgeous color of turquoise. If only every presentation happened in this room of a luxury spa, smelling of lavender. And the stage where I presented has been used for music concerts, movies, and burlesque. It’s not every day that I get to present on a stage where burlesque dancers recently swayed. I loved it!

With Linda McDill, President of NMWIF and Melissa McCurley

Linda McDill, President of NMWIF and Melissa McCurley, member and actor on Breaking Bad.

Here are the ideas I shared, discoveries I’ve stumbled upon along the way that have made a profound difference in my relationship with social media. Remember, I was the person who swore up and down that I would never do social media, because of this, that, and the other… I considered naming this workshop, “Yet Another Time Hell Officially Froze Over in my Life.” There is actually quite a stack of those now.

What I have experienced since that time is an incredible professional and creative community I never would’ve known, had it not been for social media. What I’ve discovered is social media is just another creative medium – just like quilting, creating jewelry, writing, painting, and any other artistry. Social media is a canvas to fill with color, a page to fill with story, a necklace to bead, a cake to decorate, a song to write and sing, a garden to plant and tend. Once I realized this, my entire relationship with social media changed and I fell in love with the creativity of it all. 

Please grab a pen and paper and scribble your thoughts, if that feels right.

So, here we go!




1) What do you want to get out of our time together? What do you want to learn from this? 

Here are some of the things people in the workshop wanted to take away from our time together:

* To understand the holistic view of how the many different formats of social media can work together

* Connecting these formats without being redundant

* Why should I talk to people I don’t even know online?

* What is the line between professional and personal in social media and how do I not cross that line?

* How can I present a personal presence and still be professional?

* How do I avoid the dumbing down that I see happening in social media?

All of these are thoughts and wonderings I’ve wrestled with myself.

Park Güell, Barcelona

Park Güell, Barcelona

2) What is your vision for your social media community?

Who is your intended readership?

What are your professional goals?

Personal Goals?  

How would you like people to describe your social media presence?

3) The formats for social media we’ll focus on here are:

• Blogs

• Facebook

• Pinterest

• Twitter



BLOGS: Blogs can be a way to share ideas and create community around the world.  When I started Dewdrops, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. In my first post in August 2011, 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.” This tender hope has guided me along the way and guides me still. 

While I knew almost nothing about blogs, two things were clear to me about my vision for Dewdrops:

• Community rather than Self-Promotion

Some of the downfalls of blogs tend to be an erring toward narcissism. This is what gives blogs a bad name, and with good reason. Just as any good memoir, what engages people, even if a writer is writing about herself, is the human experience and connection created. My intention with Dewdrops is to create a place for community. How to do that? A writer’s intention comes through in the writing. When I sit to write for Dewdrops, I think of the readers, think of what I know about their lives, think of their gifts and my own gratitude for sharing this journey. If we write authentically, focusing on community, the reading becomes a shared experience between reader and writer. When this happens, what a gift!

• Quality rather Quantity

What matters in blogs is consistency. What is right for a writer varies wildly. I’d rather post less and write pieces of depth and/or substance. I know this goes against a lot of philosophies about blogs out there, but this feels very right for me. I post about every two weeks. People are busy and time to read is precious. I respect this as a writer and as a reader. This is also dependent on topic and readership. Whatever feels right for you, and your readers, it is the consistency that counts.

Character and Texture: The more I write, the more the character and personality of Dewdrops unfolds and develops, the more natural this space for community of ideas feels. One thing I’ve learned is I love to texture the pieces with photos, with color, with vignettes from real life. I write about what I love, whatever that may be. If we write about what we feel drawn to write, instead of thinking about what we should write, these creates an authentic community of kindred spirits. We’ll find each other. 

Community: It has been a blessing – and fun! – to come to know the members of our Dewdrops community. Creating posts which allow members’ talents and gifts to shine creates community and is a real treat for all. For example, Writing Spaces of the World and Artists Among Us

facebookFACEBOOK:  Ah, Facebook. My mom was on Facebook for years before me. “I have to stay ahead of my grandchildren on technology, so I can communicate with them!” I figured that if one of us was on Facebook with my kids, we were covered. Remember how it felt to me like I was standing in the window of a department store in the downtown of a major metropolitan city – in my underwear? What I’ve discovered is a supportive, creative, inspiring community is possible on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dawn.wink.3?ref=tn_tnmn Here are some things that helped me:

• Friend/Like the pages of people you admire: For several months before I actually started sharing anything on Facebook, I Friended and Liked the pages of people I admired and studied how they negotiated Facebook. I was aware of what I liked, what didn’t feel right for me, what they would share, and what they didn’t share. This helped me enormously to get a sense of the possibilities and potential. This gave me a sense of the personalities of each. Most of the people I followed are writers and convey a shared sense of both the professional and personal: Luis Alberto Urrea, Elizabeth Gilbert, Isabel Allende, Craig Childs, Terry Tempest Williams, and Anne Rice.

Nefe & Breaths

Nefe & Breaths

• Follow sites on FB that you love: Took me several months to learn this. I found myself again and again drawn to images and quotes from the same sites over and over.

I’ve found I love Nefe & Breaths, Writer’s Write, and Wild Woman Sisterhood, among others.

• Share what you love: I only Share what has an energy charge for me. That’s the deciding factor. If I feel a jolt of recognition, excitement, or importance, then I’ll Share. My student, Melissa McCurley, brought her Character Journal to our Fiction Writing

Melissa's character journal

Melissa’s character journal

class and I fell in love with all she’d done. I was amazed at not only the ingenuity of her idea to create depth in her characters, but also at the sheer aesthetic beauty of the journal. Each page is devoted to the history of a character – conveyed through collage, seeds, lists, clusters, even a bullet she found on the ground. I loved what she’d created and ask if I could share. This inspired a long conversation on Facebook about journals, about the contents of Melissa’s journal, and how other writers were going to include in their own writing.

Another path to follow..

Another path to follow..

• Create themes: This I fell into and I love. I found myself drawn again and again to photos of paths in different places around the world. I started to Share under the title of, “Another path to follow…” I discovered that other people loved these paths, too, and looked forward to them. I found myself drawn to the definitions of very cool words and Shared those. These took on a life of their own with people commenting, and Sharing. I discovered people looked forward to these paths and words and these little communities take on a life of their own.

• Personalize: How much to personalize and remain professional and appropriate? Always the question. This, too, has developed over time for me. I’m guided by what I would like to receive, know, see from people I love and/or admire. Underlying it all is an assumption that, even though Facebook has privacy settings, once it’s on FB, it’s out in the world. I don’t share or write anything I wouldn’t mind having on the front page of the morning paper for the world to see. And there are sometimes more personal glimpses, like what I

Blessings on my 45th.

Blessings on my 45th.

shared on the morning of my 45th birthday: “My birthday present to myself this morning was to write in my journal by candlelight, the full moon bright in the window. I wrote of my gratitude for the many blessings I celebrate on my 45th birthday. A student asked me yesterday what I wanted for the future, and I realized, “To expand on the present. To love, to parent, to write, to teach, to give thanks for the nest of family

Respite in the Rio Grande

Respite in the Rio Grande

and dear friends.” Blessings all. All the more cherished for the birthdays in other chapters of life. It is a time of deep gratitude.” 

And sometimes there is just the spirit of fun and whimsy at unexpected joys, like the time I was driving home from observing student teachers in Taos and on the complete spur-of-the- moment, I pulled over along the Rio Grande to put my feet in the water. In the midst of a busy week, this was sheer heaven – so I shared.

Editing Meadowlark

Editing Meadowlark

• Upcoming publications or announcements: With MEADOWLARK‘S upcoming publication, I’ve shared aspects of its journey. In deciding what to share, I think about what I enjoy

seeing about others’ artistic journeys. These aspects tend to be fascinating to me. I’ve shared aspects of writing and editing. A community of readers, friends, writers and other creatives gather around this journey and creates an energy of its own. 

• Idea Inspiration: And sometimes these themes and posts inspire one another, when for example a series of photos I took of a nest with eggs beside our front door and Shared over the course of a month became this piece on Dewdrops: The Nest Behind the Skull

imagesPINTEREST: Pinterest is series of visual boards, each arranged around a theme. This is a marvelous opportunity for writers and artists. The fun is the themes of the boards – Some of the topics of my boards are: Meadowlark, Raven’s Time, Beautiful – Colors, Textures, and Places, Dewdrops, Wildness and Beauty, Quotes to Live By, Education, Writing, http://pinterest.com/dawnwink11.



When thinking about boards, what ideas, artistry do you want to get out into the world? What kind of community do you want to create and be a part of online? Two things to think about with pins: 

Personalize. Include some kind of little idea or note that is yours and connects you and the people who follow your boards.

• Include live links to your own work. If I pin something on the Meadowlark, I include a live link back to what I’ve written about Meadowlark on Dewdrops. 

Why do Pinterest? Because it creates the opportunity to connect and share your work with people in all kinds of ways that would otherwise remain closed.

twitter-bird-light-bgsTWITTER: Twitter is about the business end of keeping up with writers I follow, people I love, and important ideas in education and writing. My attitude about Twitter is, “Just the facts, ma’am.” It’s an important way to share own’s own work in a community, as well as receive and pass along ideas and work we support. I follow a number of writers, educators, and organizations in the publishing industry. 


4) Some things to consider when creating your social media presence:

• Your reality – My reality is that I work full/over-time teaching at the college and beyond, have three teenagers active in what appears to be every sporting, school event possible and I realize these are the good ol’ days with them and mothering comes before all else, write books, have been given the gift of finding love in this second chapter of my life and want to be a fairly present spouse to him. Soooo, my social media presence needs to fit into this. Consistency is what is important. It’s the composition of that consistency that varies. What is your reality? What implications does this have for your presence?

• How to handle certains topics –  One thing that I’ve wrestled with quite a bit is how to handle national and international tragedies. And, of course – politics. Will you address these? If so, how? 

To bring everything together, as you move forward:

Hummingbird outside my window.

Hummingbird outside my window.

5) Your Authentic Creative Social Media Community

• Which formats attract you?

• Possible Themes

• Envisioned Community

• Professional Goals

• Personal Goals

• First Steps

If you are looking to work with a professional (and fabulous person) to help you with this, I highly recommend Ashley Biggers, who specializes in Social Media for Writers. 

I just finished this piece and can’t help chuckling. This cracks me up that I am writing about this. If somebody had told me a year ago that this would be my experience, I never would’ve believed them. And, yet here I am. Much to my amazement and surprise, this new creative format is one that I love. I am deeply grateful for the people and opportunities this format has brought into my and my family’s lives. Incredible, really. 

I hope these ideas have been helpful. I’d love to learn your ideas, experiences, and suggestions. 

With Keith West-Harris, co-owner of Great Face and Body. He gave me a copy

With Keith West-Harrison, co-owner of Great Face and Body Day Spa and host of our event. He gave me a copy of an incredible book Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World. “A deeply inspirational work. Phil Borges has brought us face to face with heroes—remote and mostly unknown women—on the edge of a slow but steady transformation, bringing social and economic justice to women and girls worldwide,” wrote Isabel Allende. Thank you, Keith, for graciously hosting our event, for this gorgeous book, and for your care for the world.

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Dreams and Deadlines in 2015 – Some Ideas on Organization


Cooking for New Year's Eve 2015

Cooking for New Year’s Eve 2014

This is the process I use at the beginning of each New Year. While the numbers in the center of the cluster change, the process does not. I wrote of this process two years ago and will sit down this evening to cluster 2015.  I learned of clustering from “Writing the Natural Way” by Gabrielle Rico. It is now foundational in both my writing, journaling/dreaming/planning, and, as you experience, feeling centered. I now know to turn to clustering with any writing project, many journal entries, books, any especially situations where I feel overwhelmed and lost. Somehow the path appears.



For many of you this will be the first time you’ve received this piece. For those who received this two years ago, I hope you will have the same experience that I did when I read—a reminder of the deep rhythms and rituals that ground our lives.

As the time of one year draws to a close, and another begins, I hope that some of these ideas will open the paths to your own dreams and deadlines of 2015.  

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Wink Ranch

Wink Ranch

As my family and I drove back from the ranch after Christmas this year, I thought of the New Year and pulled out my journal and scribbled initial ideas along the spectrum of absolute Must-Dos to Want-to-Creates. As the sun almost sets on this year, and we anticipate the sunrise of the new, many of us are in the midst of thinking, scribbling, planning, and dreaming. I toss these ideas I’ve stumbled upon along the way into our communal notebook. As you enter the near year, perhaps you’ll find something here for the sunrise.

Clustering, journals, and lists are the only way I get through life. (Well, those and running. And, coffee.) They are absolutely essential for my writing, planning, and dreaming. I am a paper and pen, textures person, so all of mine are in this form. If you’re an online person, all of these can be adapted, as I learned this semester from one of my students. I’ve explored, wrestled, and played with almost any format that I came across through the years. I’d say the most important thing that I learned is to just trust your instincts about what works for you. After severals years of exploring and wrestling, I’ve discovered this system—if something so intuitive, circular, and often messy—can be called that, works well for me. I hope you’ll find some things that work for you, too.


Journal decorated with pictures from magazines and clear wide tape.

Notebooks and Journals- whether they’re hardback, spiral-bound, lined, or blank pages, what I have found is to be very important is that they be inexpensive! – otherwise I feel the silencing weight that whatever I write must be worthy of such a beautiful journal. It never is and the journals sit unopened on the shelf.

I now stick with inexpensive bound books, lined or unlined. The first thing I do is decorate them with pages from magazines or cards and wide clear tape. Inexpensive and easy – otherwise it’ll never happen in my life. Quotes are often an aspect of the journey. This one reads, “No great thing is created suddenly. There must be time. Give your best and always be kind.” – Epictetus.

For more visions and ideas in journals, author Amy Hale Auker shares images of her years of highly textured journals here. I look at these and am inspired. Enjoy!


Clustering ideas for Language and Story lecture series

Clustering – I first learned about clustering in Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Rico. Ever since I read this book, all of my planning, dreaming, and writing begins with clustering. Start by writing whatever you want to cluster ideas around in the center of the page and draw a circle around it. Then, and the key here is to just go with whatever intuitively comes to you, write whatever comes around those ideas and circle, then whatever is associated around those ideas, and circle. Trust. Be messy. Be wild. Every essay, class or lesson, book, new project, dream, hope begins with this process.

In my experience, the unlinear aspect of this process that works so beautifully at this stage. This is where I seem to tap into ideas that never would’ve come to me had I begun with lists or narrative form.

Journal with lists

Journal with lists

Lists– Then, come the lists. My journals are full of them. In the morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is push the button to make coffee and sit with my journal by the light of a hurricane lantern. Absolutely and positively no electric lights. I write about whatever comes to mind, and then, inevitably, come the lists. I skim back through previous pages and there are many more lists there. Whatever hasn’t been crossed out, I’ll move forward to the list I’m working on. This is highly interactive. Over the years I’ve realized that if I hadn’t written these things down, they would’ve been lost to the busyness of life. So, half the journal page is writing and the other half is a list.

Dewdrops ideas notebook

Dewdrops ideas

When I began writing Dewdrops, I started to keep a separate little journal in my purse with me always. Ideas for these pieces seem to come to me at the most inopportune times. I am always in the middle of something else. I’ve learned to grab my journal out of my purse and write a few key words that would be incoherent to anyone else, but instantly plop me back into that thought or idea when I read. I also happen to really, really believe in the quote on the front, “Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.” Sometimes I need this little extra reminder at 4:00 am.

Raven's Time notebooks

Raven’s Time notebooks

A collection of notebooks devoted to a future book “Raven’s Time: Wildness and Beauty,” help me save ideas that would be gone with the wind were they not written down somewhere.

Within these books are ideas, quotes, conversations, emails printed and glued in, images torn from magazines, titles of books, lyrics of songs, and lots of lists to follow-up on.

Clips and quotes

Clips and quotes

Raven's Time - the book sketched out

Raven’s Time – the book sketched out

14" X 17" artist's sketchbook

14″ X 17″ artist’s sketchbook

Sketching ideas and clustering in a 14″ X 17″ sketchbook often expand ideas, where the smaller notebooks sometimes feel as if they confine my thinking. Using the large sketchbook feels like the ideas grow. Often, using different media opens up ideas. In addition to the clusters in the sketchbook are some pieces with pastels and paper.

Ravens in sketchbook

Ravens in sketchbook

Pastels-mother and children

Pastels-mother and children

When I started the cluster around 2013, I had hazy (and often overwhelming) ideas about all of the deadlines and dreams going into 2013 – the proposal for the online Raven’s Time class, Women Writing the West Catalog responsibilities, application for the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Fund, new fiction writing class course details, Writing Workshops on the ranch, outlines for Dewdrops, et. al. Through the clustering and resulting lists, the ground feels firmer under my feet. A much better feeling to start the new year – and each new day and project.

Clustering dreams and deadlines of 2013

Clustering dreams and deadlines of 2013

Creation Box

Creation Box

Kenna Rojdnan, puts together a Creation Box at the beginning of each new year. She writes, “This is my creation box. I’ve had it for many years. It holds all of my wishes for me. I simply lift the lid to the swirling, whirling Universe that’s inside and place a picture or a written description of my wish into the vortex of the Creative Force, then I forget about it. (I’ve got a pretty good imagination, so the inside of the box really does whirl and swirl for me.) Each year, I open the lid and pull out each piece of paper or picture to see what I have manifested that year. I am always amazed at how many things I’ve actually been able to create. I take the ones I’ve created out of the box, placing the all the others back in, and I do a gratitude ceremony for the ones I’ve received. Some are small wishes, some big, but each one is honored equally. This is a great idea to begin your new year with. It works beautifully for me!”

About organization – Never mistake me for one of those fastidiously organized people. Surely, nobody who lives with me or knows me will. When I walk into acutely neat houses, I always wonder if there is some eccentric aunt locked in the attic. My journals and books are piled all over the house, where ever I was last sitting or reading. And, I do love organization. My friend, Loran, introduced me to this wonderful organizational website recently: abowlfulloflemons.net. I will never, ever pull this off and bow to those who do. I do love the ideas for organizing the home office and planners. I’m going to incorporate some of these ideas into my own desk and planner. The colors and textures alone are worth it!

If you’re thinking about what you’d like to create in 2014, some possible ideas:

• Play with notebooks and journals in whatever form.

• Cluster around 2015 or around specific dreams/projects.

• Create the lists that compose what it will take to bring these aspects to life.

• Play with lists in notebooks the morning. Sit with a notebook and scribble ideas as they come. Often, they take a little while to emerge. sit and enjoy the candlelight and coffee/tea. Listen.

• Compose a Creation Box

I sit with a cup of Christmas Tea, my notebooks and journals spread out everywhere. There is something deeply, deeply comforting about this. Grounding.

Here’s wishing you a 2015 full of dreams, love, and wonder! Let’s create beauty and kindness in the world.



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Welcome to my blog, Dewdrops.

One evening this past week, I went to Luis Alberto Urrea’s (author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter, The Devil’s Highway) blog and read “Love and Discipline” about his brother’s recent brush with mortality. I wrote Luis a note thanking him for sharing his heart and soul in his blog, my own initial resistance to writing a blog and recent reconsideration, and thanking him for a blog written as doses of writing that knit us together in this wild, heartbreaking, exquisite experience of life.

And Luis Alberto Urrea wrote me back how his fans on Facebook formed Team Juan for his brother, started a prayer chain and Juan is now doing great. Luis finished his note with, “I think you should blog! Yrs., Luis”

When Luis Alberto Urrea tells me, “I think you should blog!” — I listen.

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.



If you are interested in subscribing, please click on the ‘Follow’ icon in lower right-hand corner of the blog’s screen and ‘Confirm Follow’ in the email you receive. To return to website: www.dawnwink.com