Deadlines and buffing up my traveling shoes…

I’ve spent the past week catching up on writing deadlines and wrangling the studio renovation project. My keyboard’s been sizzling: I wrote an op-ed piece for the Writers on the Range syndicate, my quarterly column for Zone 4 Magazine, my monthly column for Colorado Central Magazine, a book review of a wry and funny memoir for Story Circle Book Reviews (more on that plus two other memoirs by interesting and insightful women in this Sunday’s post), plus an essay on spec for Orion Magazine. Whew!

Richard’s shop, looking toward his wet-carving station (notice the 110-year-old ponderosa pine timber framing and the beautiful striped walls of local brick)

And that renovation project: Richard’s historic studio building turns 110 years old this year, so getting it ready for the Terraphilia Artist/Writer Residency is necessarily slow. Our retired contractor friend and his teenage son removed an old wall (and saved the original true 2″ X 4″ studs to use in relocating that wall). And I found someone who will do a careful job of cutting a trench in the concrete slab floor, allowing the plumbers to expand the current cold-water toilet closet to a fully functional bathroom with tankless hot water heater and other “mod cons.”  Concrete trenching happens next week–I can’t wait! (Thanks to Bob and Harry Spencer, Bill Adams of A-1 Contractors, and Dave Hartman and crew of Alpha Plumbing.)

Now I’m polishing my traveling shoes, getting ready for months of speaking and teaching ahead.

Bluebonnets and Indiain paintbrush, image by Lisa Henry, courtesy of the LBJ Wildflower Center

First comes a road trip to Austin, Texas, to give the closing keynote at Story Circle Network’s “Stories from the Heart” national memoir conference, April 12 – 15. This national writing organization offers a supportive sisterhood of memoir and life-writers who will listen, cheer you on, sympathize, laugh with you, and share their collective wealth of knowledge. While in Austin, I’ll be visiting friends, including Theresa May, editor-in-chief at UT Press, publisher of my memoir, Walking Nature Home. And I’ll squeeze in some “me-time” at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

In May I head to San Francisco to visit Molly and her honey Mark for a long weekend. I’ll also be researching a writing project, scoping out my mom’s childhood haunts in the Bay Area.

June is a trip to Washington state for my youngest niece’s high school graduation. (She’s had senioritis since she was a freshman, so this is a Big Deal.) I’ll escort my 83-year-old dad on the flights there and back, sure to be an adventure.

July looks, well… insane. July 6 – 9 I’ll be floating the Green River through Lodore Canyon and Dinosaur National Monument as “writer-on-the-river” for Colorado Art Ranch’s first annual “floatposium.” Imagine a floating writing workshop, sculpture workshop, and talks by a geologist, plus great food, time to relax, and spectacular canyon-country scenery. Watch for next year’s floatposia offerings–this trip is already full.

Bowlers readying for a pitch on on Chaffee County’s only regulation petanque court ;`)

In mid-July, the Tweit and Cabe clans gather here for the first annual Richard Cabe Memorial Petanque Match and Brunch, followed by a stroll downtown for the 16th annual Colorado Microbewery Rendezvous in Salida’s shady Riverside Park. If you’re in the area on July 14th, head for “beerfest” and raise a glass in Richard’s memory.

A week later, I fly to Alaska to speak at TEDx Homer on July 26. Come to the Kenai Peninsula for this year’s award-winning annual TEDx session, or tune into to the live video stream for my talk, “Love. Every Moment: Playful Until the End.”

Then I’m home until September 30th, when I head to nearby Westcliffe to teach a week-long creative writing workshop at the fall session of the Wet Mountain Valley Writers Conference with Susan Richards, author of the memoir Chosen by a Horse. If you’ve been Jonesing to work with me, join my “Wild at Heart” workshops to draw on nature, digging into the heart of life to uncover our tender and wise inner voices and nourish our stories. (September 30th – October 6th) NOTE: This is one of only two writing workshops I’m teaching this year and the other is already full…

Me and my travel-buddy and love, Richard Cabe, at Carpenter Ranch on our last trip

Two weeks later, I’ll head south to Albuquerque for Women Writing the West’s National conference, Oct 19 – 21. I’ll be keynoting at the LAURA Awards banquet, and taking in a weekend of workshops and networking with writers passionate about “the women’s West.”

I’m not as confident about this schedule as I sound. For the first time in almost three decades I’ll be traveling as Woman Alone. I’ve traveled by myself before, often. But I’ve always known that if I ran into trouble, Richard would be there to help. Now it’s just me. Solo travel will be different in ways I can’t imagine. Apparently I’m ready though, because here I am, buffing up my traveling shoes…