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August 21, 2015
Back from the Mountains - 11889642_10153590332619433_1052328457657306392_n

Early this week, my husband Nat, daughters Elizabeth and Annie, and Elizabeth's boyfriend, Greg, hiked up to Mount Garfield in the White Mountains and stayed at Garfield Ridge Campsite. Sixteen mountains in the United States are named after the president who was assassinated one year into...

July 16, 2015
Laura Ingalls Wilder devotees follow details - IMG_0020

I am at a conference of Laura Ingalls Wilder enthusiasts. It's called Laurapalooza. This name injects a lighter air to reality. Roughly 160 followers of the humble inspiration oin the Little House books research every lead they find leading toward what actually happened to the Ingalls family...

June 28, 2015
A Field Guide to a Morning - IMG_0130_0

In my workshop, Writing from Nature, we spent one morning collecting. Collecting can mean picking up some things like pine cones, leaves, bark, or acorns or it can mean drawing or taking photographs of plants, animals, trees.

When we got back from these solo walks, we set out our...

June 14, 2015
Writing From Nature, a wonderful first year  - IMG_2274

Writing From Nature has ended after a beautiful weekend on Squam Lake. Our group found new routes on and under Rattlesnake Mountain, wandered through fields and the forest, sat on the water, collected pine cones, wood, fern and other plants, photos of plants growing out of old logs, spiders...

June 1, 2015
Meet the Appalachia writers: Elissa Ely - ELY_Cooper2

A small white envelope hand-addressed to me appeared in the pile of bills and junk mail a few years ago. I opened it up and found a flowered card. It was from Dr. Elissa Ely, a Boston psychiatrist and writer. She has recorded and written personal essays for public radio and print for years. Ely...

March 29, 2015
Coming appearances - View_from_Mt._Cardigan_west_(4866117433)

Two writing workshops—join me!

Writing from NatureJune 12-14, 2015

I will help you meet ideas and produce new work through walking in nature. Our keynote speaker is...

March 25, 2015
Getting ready to find new ideas - Black path rock wall_Get This

My best ideas for writing come when I carry no pen, pad, or recorder. I trudge up a muddy hill. I pick up a branch that fell in the path and fling it off into the leaves. The mud smells like minerals. I'm fighting through an old dialogue with a difficult colleague, or mentally turning around...

February 10, 2015
Laura Ingalls Wilder died on this day in 1957 - Laura Ingallswilder-booksigning_newspaper photo 1952

A few days ago, on February 7, the world—that is, Google, and Laura Ingalls Wilder fans—noted the 148th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Today is perhaps a more significant anniversary: the 58th...

February 7, 2015

Today's Laura Ingalls Wilder's 148th birthday, and Google's Doodle took note. Americans are thinking about the pioneer author, and I know the time is ripening for my next book, Libertarians on the...

February 2, 2015
Announcing the keynote speaker at my June writing workshop - mark_kramer_CROPPED


Announcing the keynote speaker at my Writing from Nature workshop this June 12-14: Mark Kramer, narrative writer and teacher, director of Boston University's The Power of Narrative writing conference, my writing workshop leader, and author of the books...

December 30, 2014
New Hampshire circuit - Around the Lake

I have just returned from the White Mountains of New Hampshire. My knee has been acting up, so I did not hike very much—just the Around-the-Lake Trail in Crawford Notch. I gave two evening talks, one at the Highland Center in Crawford Notch, and the other in Pinkham Notch Visitors'...

December 27, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder's memoirs, and what they reveal - Pioneer Girl cover image

In her annotations to the newly released Pioneer Girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder's earliest-known memoir, editor Pamela Smith Hill perpetuates an idea that I think caters to a mistaken notion of fans—that Wilder was more in control of the famous children's series...

December 12, 2014
Testimonials from my writing students - Chris teaching at University of Hartford

In 2010, I taught a course called "Writing in Motion" at the Green Street Arts Center in Middletown, Connecticut. I still gather for meals, reading, and talk with three of my former students in that class. The class included a professional medical writer, a journalist who had taken a...

November 11, 2014
Looking Back on the Outdoor Season - River Nov 11

Armistice Day. Veterans' Day. Four months until my birthday. Opening day of late duck-hunting season. I took this photo of the Connecticut River in Chester, Connecticut, while out for a walk with my friend Priscilla. Shots rang in the distance, but we could not see the duck hunters in their...

October 7, 2014
Writing From Nature: Sneak Peek, June 12-14, 2015 - IMG_0079

Unearthing Ideas in the Elements: Three Days on Squam Lake with Chris Woodside

Many writers already realize that their work is not merely an indoor, sedentary pursuit but that the best ideas come in a flash while we are doing other things that have...

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