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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 collections on tables and spent 20 minutes writing. We then gave the others guides to our collections and the ideas they'd inspired.

Here's part of my field guide.

1. Birch bark. For 40 years I've considered birch bark a leftover....  Something I write on or put on my shelf,...

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 resting, and sun-bleached branches. We told narratives about ourselves with Mark Kramer as our guide. We met and chatted with visiting writer Howard Mansfield, author of The Bones of the Earth and many other books about the New England landscape, and more. 

Mainly we reinforced the great...

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 notices moods and fears everywhere she goes. She is a master at the very-short essay form. She calls her work "little pieces" but they leave big impressions.

That letter led to a correspondence. She wanted to write for ...

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