The end of the year sometimes feels to me like the end of the world. I can't get my head around the 1,001 decisions to make about gifts and visitors and family-of-origin stresses, clothing when it's so cold outside, and for heaven's sake, what to make for another potluck?
On the other side of it now, I see the writing subjects everywhere: How the real presents were the people. How Christmas could be just me and Patrick. How the holiday was also a rainy afternoon three days later, when our grown kids carpooled from Phoenix to see us. How that night I even got to be part of the kids' thoughtful exchange about identity, privilege and discrimination.
On a whim I sprang for a vintage bookshelf for $35. I gave away books I'd clutched for years. One morning I sat with a friend who cried into her coffee. There was an improv show, a house party and a good family dinner.
Another afternoon we roamed with our used Nikons through a ghost-town wilderness. We shot pictures through the ruins of a stone hotel, and stepped over rusty cans and peel-back-with-a-key sardine tins from the '40s. Saguaro stood in sprays to the south. Clouds wandered overhead to purple the landscape, then scooted away.
Just photographers in that wide open place, we walked silently in every direction. The light was magic. We framed what we wanted to frame. Even the weeds were beautiful.
This month we're writing stories like these, whether they happened to us last month or ten minutes ago.
The lovely Listen & Flow returns to Tuesday mornings. You may know how rich this writing can be, and how you change once you enter the front door. I'll brew the coffee. Toss a notebook in your bag and come... Or skip the drive and join us for the online version of Listen & Flow starting Sunday 1/20. It's just as deep as the live class, and you can write in your comfy-est clothes.
I'm taking Words Over Coffee on the road this month to Monsoon Chocolate Factory, a classy retro cafe (formerly the Buena Tortilla Factory) with antique desk chairs and sturdy mugs of great coffee. Stop by and see us Saturday morning 1/19 for a friendly exchange with good people.
I round up the month with two classes of Writing for Self-Reflection, (one of which is free!). Here we explore the therapeutic and just-for-you practice of journaling. Pick your favorite day: Thursday 1/24 or Tuesday 1/29.
For a longer list of all my spring events, click here. Thanks for all the words you add to the world. I'm happy to tell you they matter. :)