Archive for November, 2009

Women’s Work

I am at Tygart Lake State Park this weekend, leading the third annual Women’s Writing Weekend here. This park lodge is small, only 26 rooms, but it is one of my favorites among West Virginia state parks. The staff are so friendly, and they go WAY beyond the call of duty in making us comfortable and feeding us well.

These quilts are just a few of more than a dozen beautiful artworks, all locally created, hanging from the high ceiling in the lodge’s dining room and great room. It seems appropriate to have examples of women’s visual and craft skills around us as we write.

This weekend’s writings have ranged from hilarious to heartbreaking, from poems to songs to short essays. As always, it has been a privilege to spend some time with women who are writing from their hearts.

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Leaf and Feather




One of the most enjoyable things about using my digital camera is that there’s a dandy little menu item called “trimming” that allows me to radically crop a photo as soon as I take it. Sometimes I just walk around looking for pictures that will yield wonderful textures in closeup view. Above: two sides of a feather and a withered leaf. Any one of them, in my opinion, could be a wall-sized painting. If only I had wall space.

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Aurora Again!


Once again, I’m spending a long weekend in Aurora, where Michele Moure-Reeves and her Aurora Project board are working on creating West Virginia’s first full-time artist retreat center. Each time I visit, there’s progress. And each time I learn something new about this small town and its fascinating history as a resort community and a 1920’s artists’ community. Soon it will again be a place for artists to come and live. For an overview of Aurora and the Aurora Project, please read the article I wrote for Wonderful West Virginia earlier this year.

This weekend, about a dozen writers are gathered here for a short-term retreat. During the daylight hours, we are free to work on our own writing, hike in nearby Cathedral State Forest, or just relax at Brookside Inn, our “headquarters” for the retreat. Last night, before and after a wonderful dinner, we listened to selections of each other’s writing. This evening we will have a real treat: a reading by West Virginia’s poet laureate, Irene McKinney. And, if the aromas coming from the kitchen and permeating the whole inn are any indication, the reading will be preceded by another fabulous meal.

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