Care & Feeding In Albuquerque


At the end of September, I retreated. I spent four magical days in Albuquerque, New Mexico surrounded by other authors, learning and editing and talking and listening and laughing and writing and just being… still. Which is something I’ve talked a lot about14457348_10211129525020922_5240464678755916991_n here lately– this idea of rest and stillness, and the fact that it seems simultaneously necessary and a bit out of reach.

Leading up to the trip, I was very aware of what hadn’t happened since I attended last year. Most specifically that I hadn’t finished a book. I felt a little queasy about admitting I was still working on it. That it had been a slow year. That I still wasn’t quite sure where the whole thing was 14354956_10211120518395762_4196198396467923707_ngoing. And then suddenly I was in the Atlanta airport and there were familiar faces. People that I had become accustomed to seeing only as tiny square profile pictures were right there, in person. Giving hugs. And I knew instantly that this was going to be everything I needed.

Post retreat, Jessica Topper, wrote a lovely reflection in which she described the experience as “the care and feeding of writers.” I keep coming back to that phrase. About how really when I talk about rest and stillness, I think I’m talking about being kind to myself and seeking experiences that nourish instead of tearing down. I didn’t sleep all that much more than usual in Albuquerque, but I was heard, understood and encouraged. And I have rested. Now to finish that book …


Huge thanks to Women’s Fiction Writers Association for creating this fabulous tribe (and especially to Orly Konig and the conference committee) and to Barbara Claypole White, Jessica Topper, and Mindy Miller for the photos in this post (because we all know I’m terrible at documenting my travels, or mostly anything except food & beer).

The Evolution of Tribe

A few weeks ago, I read this lovely post on women and connection and support.  It has stuck with me (as so many things I read there do) and I have found myself reflecting on the concept of tribe quite a bit; specifically about the shifts and changes in my personal tribe over the years.

The times of large groups of friends and those of smaller clusters.  The people who have been in my life for years and those who have been with me for a season.  Those that I lean on daily and those who were there for me in one pivotal moment.  Those who make radically different choices and those whose life’s trajectory could be my own.  Those I’ve actually met and those to whom I am connected to through words.

My tribe has been everything from dinner with a huge table full of women in my college residence hall; to beers at the bar with one dear friend.  It’s made up of mothers by birth and marriage; aunts both familial and chosen. Cousins and friend-siblings.  Mentors, advisors and godparents.  Co-workers turned friends and bloggers whose words speak to my soul.

As I think of this kaleidoscope of women, I realize that there aren’t really adequate words to express their collective and individual impact on my life.  I can only simply state that I am grateful.  For the women I know, have known and will know.  For my tribe as it exists today and for what it will evolve into tomorrow.

Thank you.