This morning Piper and I did our most adventurous hike. We left the house at 7:15am and hiked a mile and a half up the Parkway (going south from our house). After the first mile it was straight up but oh the wonderful reward of this view. The Parkway is closed going south from this lookout as they repair the stone work. After resting for a while we walked home. I must have been inspired by my great-niece Christa, who wrote about hiking 15 miles with her grandfather (my brother) last week. Inspiration will take you places you never thought you could go...but now I'm just tired!
Pictured here is my latest wildflower find. I don't know the name of this plant/flower - it's not in my little wildflower book. It is really pretty and grows quite plentifully along the side of the road. The top is a silvery pale green and I'm not really sure it is even a flower. It may be a kind of foliage.
So, given the below picture would you say that Piper has found her comfort zone here at my house? She does have a dog bed on the floor (actually under the dining room table) and she sleeps there at night, but this is her daytime napping place. She is such a long lean puppy dog!
Saturday I went to Winston - Salem to a writer's workshop with Pat Schneider. She is the founder of the Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA). The philosophy of AWA is that everyone is a writer and every writer deserves a safe environment in which to experiment, learn and develop craft. The website for AWA is www.amherstwriters.com. There were about 60 people at the workshop which was free (sponsored by the Winston-Salem Writer's Guild). We listened to Pat speak for about an hour and then split into 3 groups to write together. The environment for reading the work we did afterwards was incredibly safe and encouraging. No one was forced to read their work but when a piece was read it was treated with respect. Everyone offered their own reflections about what was meaningful to them in the poem or story.
I remember the first poetry workshop I attended (which cost quite a bit of money). I had submitted poems to the instructor before the workshop. When I read one of the poems to the group the instructor began by saying, "This poem does not tell us anything about the subject - it lacks creativity and style." I really don't remember anything about the workshop after that and I attended very few of the classes. It took me a long time after that workshop to even want to write again. The Poetry Workshop I attended last summer at the Iowa State Summer Writer's Festival was completely different from that first one. The teacher, Elizabeth Robinson, created a safe environment for learning and she wrote with us, asking for our reflections on her writing. I wonder how many of us would feel more confident about writing if we had been given a safer environment at some point along the way?