Winner's Circle

Attention! Attention! I'm very happy to announce the winners of the
one-of-a-kind book journals created by Ex Libris Anonymous

And the winners are . . . 

Lisa Carter

Julia F.


Cosmos Cami 

Kelli Russull Agodon 


Is this you? If so, zip me an email with your mailing address. Reach me at 

This was a fun giveaway, and I enjoyed visited the websites and blogs of so many interesting writers and artists. Thanks for reading, writing and participating in this creative life with me.

And many thanks to Jacob Deatherage, the mastermind giving old books second life. He generously donated six journals to give-away. Give him a gander at

 Write on! 


Wine, flowers, and a book?

On the rare occasion in which I am invited to dinner, I always take a bottle of wine. Sometimes flowers. (I've read that you should never take flowers as it creates more work for the host. I disagree. I love to get flowers. And really, how hard is it to fill a vase with water and plop 'em in?)

As much as I like wine, I like to shake routine.  And so, I've been giving books! 

I enjoy the process of considering my favorite books and then matching those to what I think my host may enjoy — Do I choose funny? thoughtful? irreverent? mainstream? I'm not sure I hit the mark — or that my hosts wouldn't rather have wine — but it's fun to try. 

A few of my favorite hostess book-gifts are: 

How Not to Act Old by Pamela Redmond Satran

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

I'd like to expand my offerings (I once took my own book, a painting/poetry collaboration, but that felt self-promoting and weird). What books do you suggest? If I was invited to your home for dinner, what book would you like me to bring? 



The road in 

It is not what you write or what you produce as you write that is important.

It is what happens to you while you are writing that is important.

It is who you become while you are writing that is important.

— Louise DeSalvo

Well, that takes some pressure off.

After last week's writing retreat, I'm picking through the ruins of my journal, searching for nuggets of promise. This is the mix of hope and dread; I felt so 'in-the-moment' while writing and later, upon rereading, time and distance diminish the heat and my words seem flat and routine. Does this happen to you, too? 

I am heartened by DeSalvo's sentiment of process over results. I also find perspective from Candice Crossley, whom I met at the retreat. Using Lonesome Pine Special, a poem by Charles Wright, as our prompt, we lifted his line: 

The road in is always longer than the road out, 
Even if it's the same road. . .

As I dig through the muck of my journal, Candice's response offers me much-needed perspective:

There is no arriving
There is only the going

You can fashion a beautiful writing
And drop it on the side
You have not come to the end
Of that small perfect poem
You will find another . . . 

That is not the last dark stand of trees
Or burst of flowers
Or glorious vista
The horizon is always there in front of you
And you will never reach it
You will only move towards it

— Candice Crossley
excerpted from The road in is always longer than the road out. 



Thankful Thursday: Writing at Menucha

It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause of appreciation. Because gratitude begets appreciation begets joy, I offer thanks.

This week I am thankful for Creative Arts Community. CAC offers residential art workshops at Menucha, a historic estate located 20 minutes east of Portland,  in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. 

With the good fortune of time and opportunity, I recently spent a week in the company of painters, potters, sculptures — and seven writers enrolled in a workshop led by poet Ann Staley.

"Refuge" was our theme, and Staley, a kind and generous instructor, led an intense dive into essays, poems, words and ideas. We were equal parts saturated and invigorated as our group was quickly knitted together in laughter, tears, wine and encouragement. With a focus on generating new work, we spent day and night reading and writing and writing and writing. Nestled among wooded trails and soft rolling grass, we were at play in an adult version of summer camp. 

After a week immersed in creative community, I am grateful to feel awash with words, and to swim again in possibility.

This poem (inspired by a line from workshop colleague Tom Tucker, in a phrase exchange) served as both prayer and praise — and is best read aloud:  

Make Alive Again the Magic of Art and Word 

An Invocation

Bring back the joy 

Make words easy, effortless

Let them float across the page


Let sadness cease 

as the vehicle for art 

Let art rise as a 

messenger of joy


Let the music of the day 

be heard

and called

and cooed


Let my steps be light

an invocation

a benediction

a psalm 

Let me hear again

Let me here

Make me

Wake me


Help me set aside 

tricks and cues

clever plays

tricks of phrase


Make alive again


placed together

strung along

passed and pleased


Make the magic 

rise and slip

sleight of hand

graceful steps


Let the mystery

of art   stutter


start again


like a child 

dressed in shoes too big

a wand in hand

Let the magic of art


fill every blank page 


- Drew Myron 




Win! Old books. New life.

You've heard me prattle on about 
Ex Libris Anonymous
— my very favorite journal company — and now, just when I think I can't be any more in love, my heart grows another chamber. 

Jacob Storm Deatherage, the creative genius who turns vintage books into one-of-a-kind journals, is not only innovative but generous, too.  He's sent me SIX fabulous journals to give away.

I'm spreading the book journal love. 

To win one of these wonderful book journals, simply add your name in the comment section below. On Friday, August 27, 2010, I'll place all names in a hat and randomly pick six winners.  Winning is that easy  — and I'll pay the postage. Not only will you get a free journal, but you'll also receive real, handwritten mail in your old-fashioned mailbox. It's a double win, really.

What will you do with your journal? Sketch, paint, collage? Write songs, poems, stories, confessions? Just think, this journal could enhance your joy, feed your spirit, and change your life!

The possibilities begin NOW!