Homes and Hearths

This year for Wyrd Words, we took the retreat to Europe, to the Isle of Skye, where American-based writers connected with European friends.

I am so grateful that Wyrd Words participants always bring imaginative, thoughtful, open-hearted energy to our workshops and retreats.

Plus there is power in the settings we are lucky to work in, places with their own pulse and personality.

The Isle of Skye was an incredible backdrop for our week of creative work, a profound and majestic wilderness.

Every sunrise, dusk, and star-filled sky was a gift. Stepping outside to breathe in the wide open sky, catching a glimpse of the ocean from one of the windows, going for a walk along the craggy shore with its whispers of ancient secrets. I fell in love.

It was a delight to write and play in this incredible setting with brilliant and beautiful people.

Then there was…the Aga.

If you have never heard of an Aga (I had not until recently) then you can read about it here.

Along with our friend (and culinary goddess) Vanessa, we took turns cooking meals in this hearth-like stove that heats the home and remains on at a steady temperature for a completely different way to think about preparing food. I had to change the way I thought about cooking, but once I did, I loved it.

Plus…the Aga heats the kitchen so well (which for me is a dream, since my Raynaud’s starts to flare up this time of year).

Wyrd Words came at an interesting time this year, right after the kids began school and just before the launch of our cookbook, FORKING GOOD (out on October 22nd!)  I had ambitious goals for everything I hoped to accomplish (as always), and I didn’t get it all done, but I did make every moment count: I wrote every day, slept in, cooked and ate meals with people I love, and had moments of exploration and reflection.

We survived driving across Scotland in a large van (on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car!)

Plus I got to explore Glasgow a little (I want to go back!) and I saw my dear friend Alison for a whirlwind 24 hours.

Some places grab hold of your heart. Scotland is another of those places for me.

We’ll be back.

 

 

New Year, New Blog Design

Looking back on my attempts to post here more regularly, I realized that one of the reasons I was avoiding the blog was because I had grown unhappy with the design of it and was unsure how to fix it. Thanks to Stephen’s help, the website has a much-needed facelift, and I’m going to try to once more cultivate a realistic once-a-week routine. Maybe as I find my rhythm, I can do more. Certainly the goal for 2019 is a lot more writing—creative and otherwise.

Reflecting upon the year that passed, much of it was focused on putting the pieces in place for the kids and household after several transitions. My hope is that this year we can all build upon that foundation the things that we need and want.

With a still-secret book deal that is due to the publisher at the end of February, we’re hitting the ground of 2019 running. Stephen and I are coauthoring another nonfiction book! (We will share more as we are able.)

In the meantime, thank you. Thank you for reading the things I have had published and shared, for offering support and checking in on me when I seemed too quiet, for being patient while I retracted from the world to deal with all the things.

There is a lot of work to be done—on large and small scales. My 2019 wish is that we can all move forward to try and make this world a better place with courage and compassion, with humility and reflection, hand-in-hand with collaborators and loved ones. I hope that you can find the right partners to share your dreams, to hold you up when you get tired, to hug you when you are ready to be hugged, and to dance and laugh with you when there is joy to be celebrated.

Thank you for being part of my circle. Happy New Year!

 

Quick update…

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Summer is nearly over (and I have yet to write about the adventures and catch up on all the things), like the successful second annual Wyrd Words workshop:

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While it was full and happy, I’m eager for the renewed routine that Autumn brings. I’m home from a trip overseas with the kids to visit friends (more on that hopefully soon), with enough time to do laundry, buy school supplies, and pack once more…this time for DragonCon (my first time)

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The beautiful Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland.
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Landscape outside Reykjavik, Iceland.
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Hever Castle and Gardens, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

Now it’s time to try on things and decide what to pack for DragonCon 2016. (I may have picked up an accoutrement or two in recent travels.)

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If you’re attending DragonCon, my co-author Stephen H. Segal and I will be talking about and reading from Geek Parenting on Sunday at 2:30pm; we’re also on a panel about “How Horror Fans Raise Kids” on Saturday at 11:30am.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for ideas for your own upcoming adventures, here’s a piece on travel that Stephen and I wrote for Quirk:

TO THE INTERSTATE AND BEYOND: GEEK VACATIONS FOR SCI-FI AND FANTASY-LOVING FAMILIES:

“Geeks seek to boldly go where no one has gone before, right? Sometimes that means studying artificial intelligence or genetics or astrophysics. Sometimes it means reading sci-fi and fantasy novels or playing mind-expanding videogames. And sometimes it means getting in the car, picking some quirky destination that connects somehow to all that beloved magical stuff, and driving across state lines to explore the strange new worlds that await out there among our fellow Americans.

Every nerdy family, after all, needs to get away sometimes…”

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Looking for fish in the crater lake. (Kerið, a volcanic crater lake in Iceland.)