I find myself wondering what to do with this space. I'm not really a blogger. I'm not trying to sell anything. I don't have enough writerly news to post here regularly.
So here it is, almost a year since I updated my subscribers.
During this silence, my writing has suffered, but I have tried other creative pursuits.
My niece and I taught art at school this past year, spending every Wednesday going from classroom to classroom. We piloted the Tools for Creativity curriculum, created by Cynthia Jantz from Arizona, and I highly recommend it. First semester was drawing, second acrylics, third watercolors, and the short final semester was paper and clay.
At the end of March, I drove three hours to attend the Second Annual Missouri Writers' Conference in Latham, Missouri. I think they should insert the word "Plain" in that title somewhere, because it is open to Mennonite and Amish writers. I made some new friends, gave a fifteen-minute talk on "Light and Shadow: Mental Health and Writing," and sold 26 books.
It was interesting to spend an entire day talking about writing with Plain people. The variety was amazing. From Old Order Amish who write handwritten letters to Mennonites with published books. From a middle-aged male poet from Kentucky to a sixteen-year-old girl from my own town.
Most amazing of all was the Amish woman in her twenties, a teacher, with half her face wrapped in an ace bandage, due to a dodge ball game gone wrong the day before. She seemed unsteady on her feet and someone tended her constantly in case she fainted. Wow, she must really love writing, I thought, to have come out in public like that. And then they announced the next speaker, and guess who walked to the front of the room! (She was an animated speaker on Anabaptist historical writing, in spite of the injury!)
"Take a painting class" was one of the items on my "22 for '22" bucket list, so I chose the closest option: Pieces of My Art in Holt, Missouri. Lee agreed to join me (if you knew him, you'd realize the magnitude of that) and we invited another couple to go along. Lee and I did a quick practice run the night before, so he'd at least know how to hold the brushes. It's amazing how we all four followed the same instructions, using the exact same materials, and how they all turned out differently. (But well!)
One thing that has greatly improved the outlook of Jamesportians is our new coffee shop: Bricktown Coffee. I do my best to provide the proper coffee shop ambience, tapping away at my laptop and swirling Americanos with heavy cream.
Reporting live from the round table, after almost a year of silence...it's me. Thanks for tuning in.