“A Field Guide to Fires” was one of the sections in my altered book from our Lighting the Hearth workshop. Below is the entry for Urban Fires:
Originating in the late 1980s in the backyard of 944 Wesley Avenue in Evanston, Illinois, these fires were a response to a longing created by summers in the Northwoods and short spells at an Episcopal summer camp near Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The wood burned here was probaby gleaned from the basement workshop or cobwebbed corners of the garage not once used to house a car.
A small depression was dug in the place where small feet once got a running start for a swing ride. There were no swings here anymore, just an orange steel frame and six young girls singing, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going. That’s how it is with God’s love. Once you’ve experienced it, you want to spread the news, you want to pass it on….”
It wasn’t that any of those girls were particularly religious. They simply could not separate the smell of smoke on their skin, the crisp night, and the feeling of connectedness a fire surely brings from three guitar chords played in honor of the Lord in the wildest place any of them had known at the time.
As the dark settled in and the rains began pouring this fall, Eileen Hawes and I facilitated an altered-book-making and writing workshop centered around themes of passion, creative indoor spaces, strategic withdrawal, and community building.
After four weeks, we each had our own unique and sassy book filled with words, images, and inspirations from our time together. I was usually having so much fun with my exacto-knife and glue stick that I forgot to photograph our process, be here are a couple of the shots I managed to get!
Hello friends and writers!
If you have taken an online workshop or contibuted to the salon in the past, you may have noticed that you are no longer listed as an author of this site. In the spirit of mid-winter cleaning, I have decided to trim the author list to one person: me.
HOWEVER, I still would love for this salon to be a place for us to share our raw writings and other thoughts about living a creative life. So any time you feel inspired to share something from your notebook, a response to a postcard prompt, or an inspiring quote, please send an email to me at email@example.com and I will share your words with the world!
Peace and good writing!
I recently opened up my copy of Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away (an excellent inspiration for memoir writing and full of freewriting prompts, btw) to a random page and was instructed to write about my mother’s hands. So I did.
My mother’s hands gripped the sparkley seat of my pink Schwinn, my first bicycle passed down from my big sister. She walked along beside me, then jogged, as I gained
my own balance in the Washington School parking lot and, for a moment, felt what it was like to glide on my own.
I fell then, the handlebars reaching into my stomach, the pain tear-jerking, breath-taking, soul-deep, like falling off a swing right when you mean to leap.
I cried and she held me, then helped me back onto the bike and gripped the seat once again, jogging slowly alongside me until I achieved a steadiness I didn’t even know was my own until I felt the space between us widening with every pump of my legs.
This is parenting, I suppose. Holding the seat of your kid’s bike until she can do it on her own, picking her up and kissing the parts that will bruise when she falls. Opening your arms again and again for her return, no matter how far she wanders.
My mom is a master at this. This dance of holding and release. Her door is always open, her guest bed always made, chocolate and spare toothbrushes at its side. We are always welcome. Welcome to stay for a day or six months. And we are always free. Invited by the soothing promise of her gentle grip to glide wherever our hearts my take us.
I’m still buzzed from our To the Yes! retreat that we did on the coast two (or was it three) weekends ago! I’ll post more pictures here soon, but if you want to get a glimpse of the essence of what we did, check out our blog at http://www.totheyes.blogspot.com.
Whoo! Tomorrow begins Wordstock, the Pacific Northwest’s giant and amazing festival of words! And for the first time ever, Ibex Studios is going to be there. Come visit us!
We’ll have a running story guided by multi-sensory prompts and a 3-minute timer, a real photo album with pictures from our adventures, a postcard prompt mailbox (mail yourself or a loved one a bit of inspiration!), and a sassy collection eco-aweseome upcycled Ibexwear. Last night I had a long, hot date in my living room with my iron, sewing machine, and so many cute things I don’t want to sell any of them! But I will. Below are just a few of our wares.