Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination


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Write and Retreat: Bone Piles in Silver City, NM

Silver City Sunset

Silver City Sunset

Stories nature our connection to place and to each other. They show us where we’ve been and where we can go. they remind us of how to be human, how to live alongside the other lives that animate this planet…No one story can give us the whole picture. We need every voice to speak its version of truth from silence. We need every story to guide our lives.

~ Susan J. Tweit, Walking Nature Home: A Life’s Journey

This is the sunset that greeted me as my car eased down into the valley after a four-hour drive from Santa Fe to Silver City, New Mexico for a weekend Write & Retreat. Now, what is one supposed to with that—other than to sink deeply into writing and connecting with each other and ideas yet to be discovered.

That’s just what we did.

Write & Retreat Tribe

Write & Retreat Tribe: Melanie Budd, Pam Keyes, Cherry Jamison, Judy Grout, Susan Tweit, Bonnie Hobbs, Linda Jacobs, Dawn Wink, Cindy DuBois, Will Barnes

Write & Retreat creator, Susan J. Tweit, our group of fearless writers, and I spent a lot of time in the “bone piles” of each of our individual stories in Silver City. “Ranchers walk up to most bones,” writes Teresa Jordan in Riding the White Horse Home. “They look physical danger right in the eye and don’t blink. But there are other bones that scare them.”

Silver City charm

Silver City Charm

That’s where we went in our writing—through physical mapping and writing, creating word rings, passages of other writers read aloud to inspire, and ever deepening writing.

We also wandered the streets of the incredibly charming Silver City, walked the creek, and talked about how the land can inspire and tell its own story, explored the incredible art shops, drank coffee and talked about writing and life, drank wine and talked about writing and life, and enjoyed meals together around conversation and friendship. 

We each returned from our weekend together transformed on some way. Our community share their experiences:

Along the Creek

Along the creek. ©Daniel Grout

“First, trust. We talk so often as writers about the ways in which writing can transform our lives, and I know I totally depend on my writing practice each day, just to stay sane. But it isn’t just the daily practice of crafting and making. It’s like the answers are actually in there! There is something really magic about this. In that strange vortex of inspiration and creation, if we can follow it, and trust our imagination and instinct, the pathway will become clear, the words tell us what to do. I think my poems are telling me where to go, and how. So the real work is about listening and about trust. I am not sure how this came to me, but something about all of you did it! And it makes me very happy.” ~ Will Barnes

Together Eating Silver

Community and Conversation ©Daniel Grout

“I was the only person in the retreat who has not had something published but I was treated as a colleague and honored as a writer. This experience solidified my determination to quite wishing I was a writer to identifying loud and proud, I AM A WRITER! I know that by this time next year, I’ll be able to look back and say my life changed for the better that weekend.” ~Cindy DuBois

“Thank you for providing such a safe, supportive, and thought-provoking atmosphere at the retreat. The group energy and sense of kinship was very encouraging. The experience inspired me and broadened my vision of what writing can be.” ~Melanie Budd

Cherry Bone pile

Word Ring © Cherry Jamison

“Among the things that I particularly value about the word and concept of a “bone pile” is that it is so much more elegant than saying that we must each face and go through our own (and our family) “shit” to get to truth, essence or even grace at times. I also appreciate that there is always a choice about whether or not we share what we find in the bone bile. Sometimes facing it is enough, and sometimes it isn’t. I think that we all probably are looking for freedom in our writing and in our lives.” ~Cherry Jamison

~ “Yes, this group was phenomenal. We seemed to meld into such a solid, self-confident, intelligent, supportive, creative bunch. I suspect it had something to do with the leaders teaching us and the lovely environment and perhaps the writing gods zinging us with positive energy. I am honored to be considered a part of this enclave and rejoice that we seem to express a mutual desire for the support to continue.” ~Judy Grout

“Thank you for the wonderful and stimulating retreat. You have a way of bringing out depths of thought which one didn’t know were there!” ~Linda Jacobs

photo

Hatch, NM

For myself, ideas swirled through my mind on the return drive home through the wonderful town of Hatch, ristras of strung chile lining every shop and street, and the long stretches of desert of New Mexico. I returned with a chapter for LOVE STONES that it would not have been complete without and a focus on “re-imagining” areas of life.

Something about our weekend shifted something deep within me and this past weekend found me home—not traveling or teaching or attending any sporting events for kids for the first time in weeks and weeks. I sank into the rhythms of the home, “the sacredness of puttering” or something like that is how Anne Lamott describes this. I checked out of anything online and added another laying of tending to our new home. Inspired by my own clustering and our conversations, I sank into Being Home. I lined linen closet shelves, cleaned bathroom cabinets, and went on long morning runs. I brought order to some of those dark, clogged corners that tend to take us so much emotional energy. I’ve learned to trust that ebb-and-flow of energy and writing and went with it. Oh, and I read and took naps on both days! Heaven.

Beauty of stained glass, stained sky

I returned transformed. That transformation has strengthened my writing and life rhythms these past few weeks in infinitely healthier ways.  

One of those rhythms includes a return to running, something that I have not made time for in my life for the past several months due to life and work commitments. Every morning, with a mutual text from a member of our Write & Retreat tribe, she heads out the door in Tucson for her walk and I head out the door in Santa Fe for my run. The “re-imagining” of other areas of life continues. My journal fills with clusters and maps.

The weekend inspired Susan and I to reserve the weekend of February 17-20, 2017 at The Murray Hotel for the Second Annual Silver City Write & Retreat. 

Sometimes one needs to get away to find what deserves discovery.

Early morning run with swirling sunrise and moon.

Early morning run with swirling sunrise and moon.

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“Raven’s Time: Wildness and Beauty” Online Class

Raven, Chimayó, NM, Dawn Wink

Raven, Chimayó, NM, Dawn Wink

Hello dear ones!

I am thrilled to be teaching “Raven’s Time: Wildness and Beauty” online this summer through Story Circle Network. I’ve written and presented quite a bit about these ideas in the past few years, and this is the first time they’ve been offered online.

I love these ideas. I love talking about these ideas. I love the conversations and connections that come from talking about these ideas. 

Through readings, poetry, music, photography, and textures, this class is designed for any who want to swim in these ideas, ponder what they might mean, and if you’re a writer or artist, how they might enrich your own life and/or writing. If you are a lover of life and ideas, please join us! My hope is to create an experience rich in ideas, images, and experiences for all. I’d love to share this time together.

Story Circle Network just posted this piece about the class. It is my pleasure to share with you.

Love,

Dawn

Class Title: Raven’s Time: Wildness and Beauty

Instructor: Dawn Wink

Class Term: August 12-September 9, 2013 enroll in this class

This class explores the beauty and wildness of place through the symbolism of natural elements: including ravens, water, skulls, turquoise, textures, beauty, and wildness. This course reveals these dynamics and seeks to bring understanding through wisdom from the landscape and natural elements. Will focus on content and the craft of writing.

Class Description

Rio Grande, near Taos, NM, Dawn Wink

Rio Grande, near Taos, NM, Dawn Wink

This class explores the beauty and wildness of place (cultural, linguistic, political) through the symbolism of natural elements: including ravens, water, skulls, turquoise, textures, beauty, and wildness. Raven’s Time is grounded in the understandings of beauty as social justice and wildness as freedom. This course reveals these dynamics and seeks to bring understanding through wisdom from the landscape and natural elements. Will focus focus on both content and the writer’s craft, through interactive and engaged writing prompts and activities. At the end of this class, students will be able to: bring improved writing skills to their own writing projects; address how the landscape can inform our understandings about contemporary events (cultural, linguistic, political) with informed and profound understandings; move forward with their own writing projects with renewed energy and craft. Instruction/communication will take place through email and the course shell. All reading materials for the course will be provided by the instructor through the format of the course.

Outline

Throughout this student-centered course, participates are expected to participate fully in all readings and discussions. This is a brief, intensive course and we’ll make the most of it. This course is taught in an interactive, engaged, and critically-reflective perspective. Student participation is essential for all participants to learn not only from the instructor, but also from each other. Students are expected to post in the discussions a minimum of 3 times/week—more is encouraged. Written assignments will include weekly written assignments and a final written portfolio, based on the specific writing goals of the student.

  • water-flowing-over-rocksUnit 1: Voice of Life: Reflections on Water, Language, and Story. Flexibility. Destruction. Strength. Nourishment. Gives or takes away life. All are commonalities that language and culture share with water. The power of water underlies all. Agua es vida. This week explores the unique dynamics of language, the intimate relationship of language and culture, and how the properties of water and the southwestern landscape can inform our understandings about language and linguistic human rights.
  • Veins of Turquoise, photo by R. Weller

    Veins of Turquoise, photo by R. Weller

    Unit 2: Veins of Turquoise: Migration and Immigration This week explores historical and contemporary migration and immigration in the Southwest through the lens of turquoise. For thousands of years, turquoise traveled the vein connecting the Mayans and Aztecs with the people of the Southwest. The Pueblo people say turquoise steals its color from the sky—the stone has been spiritually, economically, and aesthetically significant to indigenous people since A.D. 300. What can we learn from the historic role of turquoise in the Southwest, nepantla pedagogy, and how can this inform our understandings of current immigration policies?

  • Sugar skull, photo by Wynn Wink-Moran

    Sugar skull, photo by Wynn Wink-Moran

    Unit 3: Skulls and Textures: This week explores the symbolism of skulls and textures of language through historical and contemporary lenses. From Mayan crystal skulls, the skull mountains of the Aztects, the scattered bones of livestock herds, the sugar skulls of Día de los Muertos, to the human skulls of immigrants under the desert sun, we’ll explore how skulls reflect culture. This week also poses questions about the hierarchy of languages around the world, linguistic human rights, and the global role of english. What can we learn from the symbolism of skulls and rich textures of the land to inform our understandings of culture and language?

  • Unit 4: Wildness and Beauty Altars create a reciprocal relationship with the mystery and the Divine. In this class, we’ll explore living as if the world, its landscape and people, are a living altar. What are the roles of Beauty and Wildness within our living altar—and how do we create and honor these in our lives?

Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required

Intermediate/Advanced writing and computer skills. All documents submitted in Microsoft Word. Internet and email necessary. Time Commitment: 3 hrs/week

Tuition/Fees for this course

SCN members: $128. Non-SCN members: $160.

Instructor Bio

Dawn WinkDawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores the tensions and beauty of language, culture, and place. Her first book, Teaching Passionately: What’s Love Got To Do With It?, co-written with Joan Wink, was published in 2004 by Pearson. Dawn is an Associate Professor at Santa Fe Community College, her essays and articles have appeared in journals and magazines. Dawn started a literary, educational, and artistic blog community, Dewdrops, in 2011. Her novel, Meadowlark, published by Pronghorn Press, will be released in July 2013. Dawn lives with her family in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Visit her website & blog.

Rio Grande, near Taos, NM, Dawn Wink

Rio Grande, near Taos, NM, Dawn Wink

Please come and dip your feet into the waters of these ideas.