Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination


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Early Morning Light and Stillness

Chile lights

Chile lights around kitchen window.

“The Solstice is a time of quietude, of firelight, and dreaming, when seeds germinate in the cold earth. . . All around us the season seems to reach a standstill — a point of repose.”

—John Matthews

Holiday party.

Holiday party.

The holiday season swirls around us. Days fill with shopping, baking, cooking, parties, photos, letters, expectations, missed loved ones, travel, plans, and changing plans.

Our own home fills with the sounds of all the above and the added presence of Wyatt now home from college. It brings a sense of deep peace to have all kids sleeping under the same roof.

With Noé—a time to dance.

With Noé—a time to dance.

Parties unfold with the season, a time to at last connect in ways that the busyness of life has conspired against in the previous months.

A time to dance.

Amidst all of the festivities, the potential for stillness awaits. I crave this stillness. Stillness if oxygen for my spirit. The Winter Solstice dawns with stillness, the shortest day of the year. With each new day, a bit more light.

Early morning writing.

Early morning writing.

Light is a constant early morning companion in my life. I wake early for time to write, time to be, time to sit alone with the candlelight in the pre-dawn dark. Only candles or strings of soft light are on in our home before the sun rises. I love this time of the day.

The pre-dawn dark holds promise, magic, stillness. Ideas, dreams, and paths to follow unfold onto the pages of my journals in the pre-dawn darkness. I sit and write now by candlelight. This is the time to listen to life and beyond. Like the Solstice, this time offers a point of repose.

In honor of the solstice, of the pre-dawn dark, of the companionship that comes among those who rise hours before the sun for creative time, some candles and light to share.

Early light angel.

Early light angel.

Early morning writing in journal.

Early morning writing in journal.

“When you possess light within, you see it externally.” —Anaïs Nin

Early light with glass heart..

Early light with glass heart.

Early light glass.

Early light glass.

“There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” —Edith Wharton

Early morning writing with stones.

Early morning writing with stones.

Early morning light on glass.

Early morning light on glass.

Early morning writing with coffee in treasured cup from Mallorca.

Early morning writing with coffee in treasured cup from Mallorca.

 

Pre-dawn hours with Mom and Dad.

Pre-dawn hours with Mom and Dad.

To the pre-dawn dark and all of the potential she holds and to candlelight. To the creativity that comes in these hours. To the companionship that lovers of the pre-dawn dark feel across the miles.

Early morning writing by lantern light.

Early morning writing by lantern light.

Golden early morning light.

Golden early morning light.

To stillness.

Early morning writing with fairy.

Early morning writing with fairy.

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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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Story Catchers —The Story Catcher Writing Workshop

Mari Sandoz

Mari Sandoz

“My dear Students,

If I could endow every young person in Nebraska and in the world with two things, and two things only, I should choose not beauty or fame or power or riches. I should choose to endow you with courage and a love for reading.”

So begins a letter written by Great Plains author Mari Sandoz (1896-1966). “With a fondness for reading you would have at your elbow, as often as you liked, all the strange and precious things of the world and never have to guard them against thieves and never have to dust them at all.

And with courage—ah, with courage you would find that all the obstacles of the world shrink away before you and are as nothing.

Take these two gifts then, if you will. They are yours, not from me but from yourself. And if you go out as a teacher, office worker, housewife or any other position, even writer, they will serve you well, particularly if you wish to be a writer will you need these two gifts ever with you.

Sincerely, Mari Sandoz”

Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center

Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center

In the spirit of Mari Sandoz’s courage and love of reading, writers gathered for the Story Catcher Summer Writing Workshop and Festival at the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center at Chadron State College in Chadron, NE to explore the art and craft of writing. I was thrilled to be included to give workshops on Writing the Land, Meadowlark, and Will this Book EVER Be Published?  (Presentation materials that I gave for each of these workshops are attached to the bottom of the page of this piece.)

Conference creator and organizer Dr. Matt Evertson wove together three days of workshops, walking and writing the land, and readings at Open Mic night at the local coffee shop to create a textured writing experience that captured the essence of this year’s theme “What’s YOUR Story?”

 

Author Dan O'Brien

Author Dan O’Brien

Author and buffalo rancher Dan O’Brien (Buffalo for the Broken Heart, Stolen Horses) kicked off the conference with his keynote “Writing the High Lonesome,” exploring James R. Mead’s book Hunting and Trading on the Great Plains 1859-1875 and the essential component in writing—a writer’s honesty with oneself on the page, including one’s own internal beasts. If a writer isn’t willing to recognize those beasts and let them loose on the page, the reader senses this lack of authenticity and honesty. 

Prairie Rose

Prairie Rose

The gardens around the High Plains Heritage Center overflowed with native grasses and flowers and I found some of Grandma Grace’s hidden prairie roses blooming amidst the other flowers.

Writers and I dove together into writing the land, the journey of Meadowlark, and composing a writing life. We talked, we wrote, we mused, and we wrote some more.

While writing the land, we explored how the land can convey character, emotion, connection, and story. As we looked at composing a writer’s life, writers created visual representations in word, image, and art of their own maps of a writing life. This is the first time that I’ve woven this aspect into this presentation and I’ll definitely do again. To see these unique, individual, authentic paths of a writing life was such a treat. I am going to create one myself.

Creating a writing life at Story Catcher Writing Workshop. ©www.KatValdezWriter.wordpress.com

Creating a writing life at Story Catcher Writing Workshop. ©www.KatValdezWriter.wordpress.com

Creating maps of a writing life.

Creating maps of a writing life.

Map of a writing life.

Map of a writing life.

The presentations are attached here, including the steps writers took to write the land and to create their individual maps of a writing life.

Gardens of High Plains Heritage Center

Gardens of High Plains Heritage Center

I think again of Mari Sandoz, the spirit of her writing and teaching surrounded us and grounded us in this place. “With a fondness for reading you would have at your elbow, as often as you liked, all the strange and precious things of the world and never have to guard them against thieves and never have to dust them at all. And with courage—ah, with courage you would find that all the obstacles of the world shrink away before you and are as nothing.”

The Story Catcher Writing Festival and Workshop was a time of deep writing, deep musing, deep laughter, newfound friendships, and promises to stay in touch.

I am grateful for all.

Now, I think I am going to go and compose that map of a writer’s life. 

Presentations included here: 

Writing the Land. Dawn Wink

Will this Book EVER be Published? Composing a Writing Life

The Accompanist by Kit Watson 2003

The Accompanist by Kit Watson 2003

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To subscribe and receive Dewdrops in your email, please enter your email address in the box under “Follow this blog via email” or 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: http://www.dawnwink.com