News on Writing, Teaching and Moving


When I left Santa Fe last Wednesday at the end of my amazingly fruitful fellowship at the Women’s International Study Center, I had written 13,400 words, a solid beginning of my new book, The Ditch & The Meadow. (The subtitle–also my elevator pitch–is still evolving, but right now it’s How Native Plants and Passionate Plantswomen are Restoring Health to Humanity, Our Communities, and the Earth.)


Thirteen-thousand-plus words in a month may not seem like much for those who took on the NaNoWriMo challenge and wrote a whole novel in November. But I’ve never been a fast writer, in part because I revise the previous day’s work before I inch forward. So these are three fairly polished chapters and part of a fourth, and a table of contents that is actually a pretty good guide for the book to come. 


Of course, that’s all the writing I’ll likely get done on The Ditch & The Meadow until, oh, about mid-February. Because between now and then I have two real estate deals to finalize (one selling, one buying, both scheduled to close in the first two weeks of January), a household to pack up and move (in late January), a renovation project to get started (which I’ll live in for a few months), a couple of columns to write for Houzz, one for Rocky Mountain Gardening, and two presentations to prepare for garden conferences. 


So the new book will have to wait until after I’m moved, settled, and have done the garden-conference thing. 



My tiny and wonderful podcasting microphone, a Raspberry from Blu Microphones, next to a script


In the meantime, I’m happy to report that my first podcast for The Conversation Project in Boulder is up and already drawing an audience. It’s a short excerpt from my memoir, Bless the Birds, with lessons for us all about talking about quality-of-life values with the people we love. Give it a listen and let me know what you think! 


I’ve wanted to get into podcasting for several years, and simply lacked the reason to learn the technology, so this first one got me going. I’m aiming for one a month for The Conversation Project, and I’m also going to start my own podcast series using some of my recent short commentaries, plus new ones I’ll write.


I haven’t figured out a series name though. It has to be something general enough that the podcasts can range from commentaries on nature to sustainability, and to memoir and the occasional foray into politics. Ideas? Leave them in the comments below. 


I’m also honored to be part of the first webinar-based writing workshop series from WordHarvest, the parent organization of the Tony Hillerman Writing Conference. If you’re looking for ways to sharpen your writing craft and your ability to market your work, check out the package here. My webinar, Sculpting Compelling Stories, is a digest of my favorite revising techniques to polish your work from draft to ready to submit, gleaned from my Write & Retreat Workshops. 


You can buy the package or just one webinar, and listen to them as often as you like. They even come with bonus gifts from each workshop presenter. I have to say, I wasn’t sure about how well I’d do teaching a workshop to a video camera and no students, but the videographer, Robert Muller (who also shot my wonderful new publicity photos), was a delight to work with, as was Jean Schaumberg, the co-Director of Wordharvest with Anne Hillerman. 



Webinar graphic courtesy of Robert Muller


And on a personal note, as the Northern Hemisphere heads into the cold season of short days and long nights, and the US heads into a political transition that looks dark, I’m more than ever determined to live my values and be part of what Quakers call “the Ocean of Light.” I believe in the power of our individual actions in making the world a better place to be. 


Thanks for joining me and spreading that Ocean of Light. Together we can grow positive change. 

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