Curiosity is key!

A writing-and-life journey is not a solo silo venture. While “write what you know” is a good idea in theory, “write what you’d like to learn more about” can also work.

The topics and links (and associated folks) below have helped me be a better protagonist in my life story: a character whose story arc involves learning, change and growth—with some areas progressing slower than others. To quote Bob Wiley, “Baby steps to the elevator.”

Wildflowers at Dorland

Alphabetically, I’m grateful for . . .

Balanced Runner: “Run smooth, free, and a little like you’re flying.” Yep, that’s the goal!

Barefoot Runners Society: Lots of like-minded unshodders here.

Brainjo Academy: “Learn music at any age with neuroscience-based instruction.” How I fell in love with the banjo in my 60s.

California Native Plant Society: “On a mission to save California’s native plants and places using both head and heart.”

California Native Plant Society, Orange County chapter: Learn how you can cultivate native plants in your home garden to increase local biodiversity (and lots of other important native plant opportunities).

Caregiver Resource Center OC: Wherever you are in your caregiving journey, resources exist and you are not alone. This local organization has made a profound difference in my life:

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy): Got a negative and/or distracting voice in your head that gets in the way of your life and writing? I sure do, but CBT has really helped.

Darcia Dexter, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, whoe helps clients like me “discover new ways of moving and thinking that cultivate your optimal health, effective leadership, and creative potential.”

Dorland Mountain Arts Colony: My happy place to get away and write.

Feldenkrais: “Awareness Through Movement.” To counteract all that sitting-while-writing in the most gentle way.

Fishtrap: “Programs to cultivate clear thinking and good writing in and about the West.” I treasure the four writing workshops I was fortunate to attend there in astonishingly beautiful Wallowa County, OR.

Genealogy: DNA testing can enlarge your ancestral understanding, but be ready for surprises. “DNA doesn’t lie, but my grandmother did.”

Grand Canyon National Park Artist-in-Residence program at the North Rim: Where I spent three life-changing weeks in June 2011.

Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks/Let’s Go Outside: I’m a founding docent with this org and grateful for all the opportunities to lead writing hikes on these protected lands.

Jane Friedman: My favorite guru among writing/publishing industry gurus. Her book The Business of Writing is a must-have: “the business education writers need but so rarely receive.”

Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing: My MFA alma mater—excellent instruction plus a supportive writing community (for the rest of your life).

Neuroplasticity: Why and how we all can keep learning new stuff.

NOLS/WFR: (National Outdoor Leadership School/ Wilderness First Responder certification)  So many adventure opportunities opened up after I became a WFR at age 55! NOLS’s brief description doesn’t begin to reveal the intensity (with lots of fake blood and bruise make-up) of the course, a “10-day WFR curriculum [which] is meticulously crafted to foster an in-depth understanding of medical intervention in outdoor scenarios.”

Peter Elbow: He’s one of the “pioneers of freewriting,” and the author of 1973’s groundbreaking Writing Without Teachers; studying his ideas during my mid-1990s MA (rhetoric/composition) program at Cal State Fullerton completely (note the adverbial escalation! I mean this!) revolutionized my approach—previously perfectionistic—to writing.

Procrastination: so many reasons why . . . but here’s one book (of gazillions on the topic) I’ve read that provided a new-to-me and thought-provoking link between writer’s block (i.e. procrastination) and childhood attachment issues (don’t get me started):  Write. 10 Days to Overcome Writer’s Block. Period. by Karen E. Peterson, PhD. The title is kinda click-baity, but the book is full of fun/enlightening info and activities.

“Resources for Writers”: Just google this phrase and you will find so much stuff to keep you so busy learning about writing that you may never find time to actually write (says the person who has spent her lifetime . . . fighting this urge.)

Trail Sisters: their mission statement says it all: “To increase women’s participation and opportunity in trail running and hiking through inspiration, education, and empowerment.”

St. John’s Lutheran Church: Our church home and K-8 school for our three kids and me. “St. John’s mission is to deliver the restorative hope of Jesus.” To which I can only reply, “Amen!”

SCBWI: “The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators provides the resources, professional networking, and community-building opportunities that support writers, illustrators, and translators throughout their careers.”

Write Night: My post-retirement writing group, first in person and then (after March 2020) online. We do quick bursts of timed writing in response to crazy prompts. The result? Surprising word combinations and much appreciative laughter.

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