Thursday, July 29, 2010


I didn't intend to pause my blogging for the Cascade Lakes Relay - but I am. I planned to put together this coming Friday's Razors Edge and have it magically pop up while I was, again, away from technology (at least the big technology I use to pull the pieces together for my weekly prompt).

But the big event itself has taken so much time this past ten days that I didn't get it done and so, there will be a short intermission as I head over to central Oregon tomorrow.

I have printed reams of paper (and I'm really not exaggerating: five sets of race guides, five full maps, volunteer packets, directions from Portland to the car rental pick-up to the campground to the start line and so on - then tonight even more: phone lists and car rental reservations and campground reservations). I have bought a heaping cart-load at Winco: mini-bagels, many packages of meats and cheeses, many pounds of bananas and clementines, five pounds of Red Vines and black licorice, and suckers, and raw almonds and five cases of water. And more.

I've spent many hours on the phone with insurance compaines and the rental car company and AAA and another supplemental insurance company.

And checked red flashing lights for operability, tested the new pesticide sprayers (thanks to a couple of running teams - we learned that these handy inexpensive garden tools make great cooling equipment for runners/walkers in the desert in summer), sorted the supplies into storage boxes for each van.

And put out little emotional or excitement or "what if" fires among the team.

And the day is here. Tomorrow I will somehow stuff all of the equipment and food that is taking up a chunk of my living room into my compact sedan. My partner will drive me to the meet-up spot, where I will offload everything - including the five cases of water in my trunk - into the RV, in which several of us are making the drive over to the Bend area to pick up the cars and go to our campsite.

Oh - did I say that we are camping this year? We have a nice little group campsite right on the edge of a little lake. Should be gorgeous. The RV is small and is for the inactive van's walkers to chill out (literally) if it's hot - but otherwise, we're sleeping in tents.

I'm excited. A little anxious - I didn't train as hard as I did last year for this. But I'm also in better general fitness shape than I was. So while I know I will be a little sore and I know my pace will (I want to say "probably" but I know the reality is it *will*) be slower than last year - I will still do it. And I will be okay. I've done some walking, focusing on the downhills since I am again doing the six miles down down down leg (six miles, 1,400 elevation loss). My IT bands will notice my reduced training - but I started taking Arnica on Sunday, along with Ibuprofen, and I saw my chiropractor today who gave me some kinesio tape with instructions. My recovery time from working out aches is really great (on indicator of improved fitness) and I have promised several people I won't overdo it and push myself beyond what is reasonable. So - I know I will be sore and I know I will be slower - but I also know I can do it. How great to be able to say, "three miles? that's easy!"

It's been a little hectic and I'm a little low on sleep.

So this week's Razor's Edge will wait. Or be skipped.

Or you can hop over to YouTube and search for "Cascade Lakes Relay" and pick a video as your inspiration. Pick a character from those on screen (or pick a whole team!) - and tell a story about who they are and how they got to CLR.

Friday I'll be on the road with the MissFit WiseWalkers. Making our way from Silver Lake through the Cascade Lakes Highway and on up to Bend.


photograph from OregonLive's RunOregon blog

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Moonlight Paddle

from Serena Barton's blog... It was a beautiful evening paddle.

"Boating in the Moonlight
Saturday night we celebrated my son Ian's birthday by taking him and his fiancee, Ruby, on a "Moonlight Paddle" on River Lake, a tributary of the Columbia. Despite all my stepfamily and my partner being avid kayakers, I had not even stepped into one before! It's never too late, and I had a wonderful time. Can't wait to go again. The event was put on by Ridgefield Kayak who did a wonderful job.

I don't have any photos yet, but the "Wabi-Sabi" piece below is an impression of how I felt as we paddled in the light from the full moon with small lights clamped onto the back of each boat. We paddled up to a beach where we picnicked and roasted marshmallows. The area where we were was once home to about 900 Native Americans. It must have been so incredible then..."

Moonlight Flit
by Serena Barton

If you visit Serena's blog, she includes a description of how she created the above piece.

We had a wonderful time. It was the first time I'd done Ridgefield Kayak's Moonlight Paddle and it was perfect. Other than well over 50 mosquito bites (yes, I put on repellant; lots of it), it was exactly what I needed and was perfect for Serena as a first-time kayaking experience. And Ian & Ruby enjoyed the birthday outing. We paddled for a little over an hour up to the confluence of Lake River and the Columbia River, where we pulled out for the fire and s'mores. Then we paddled back to the boathouse with the full moon reflecting on the river and following the trail of small white lights on the back of each kayak.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Call for *Plein Air* Writers

Thank you to Soapstone for sending this out on their announcement list. It looks amazing - I've never done it but will try to participate on one day. Off to check my schedule and see when I can be there. I love this idea!

Pacific Northwest Plein Air

Columbia Center for the Arts (CCA) will host its sixth annual PACIFIC NORTHWEST PLEIN AIR 2010 in the Columbia River Gorge, from August 26 to 30, 2010. As in previous years, the event features both a “Paint-Out” for artists, and a “Write-Out” for writers.

The writing portion of the Plein Air show is an open-call event that culminates in publication on the CCA website and a public reading in the CCA theater. Writing can be prose or poetry (or any combination thereof). The registration fee is $15, or $25 to include admission to the Painting Preview party on Thursday, September 2.

August 10 Registration deadline
August 26 – 30 Write-out days, locations TBD
August 30 Submission deadline
September 19 Public reading & online anthology launch party, 7 p.m.

Locations for the Plein Air Write-Out/Paint-Out are:

Text Box: Photographs by Darryl Lloyd Top: Columbia Gorge Bottom: Mt. AdamsThursday, 26 - The Gorge White House - Hood River Valley

· Friday, 27 - Timberline Lodge - Mt Hood

· Saturday, 28 -Springhouse Cellar Vineyard - Mosier

· Sunday, 29 - The Dalles Mountain Ranch at Columbia Hills State Park – Washington

· Monday, 30 - Downtown Hood River

NOTE: The gallery exhibit (which will also include posting one piece from each writer) will open September 3 and run through the end of the month.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is plein air?
En plein air is a French term for painting in the out-of-doors with the goal of capturing a moment—the lighting, the clouds, the mood—as quickly as possible.

How does a writer do this?
The idea for writers is essentially the same as for painters, but with an important difference: capture a moment before it disappears. Of course, writers are not bound to re-create visual portraits of the landscape—the “moment” might involve other people in the area, sounds or conversations overheard, smells and sensations, or even inner thoughts. The goal is to capture a snippet of time as deftly and quickly as possible and paint a picture for others to “see.”

Do I have to be present each day to participate?
It’s the most fun to go to the scheduled venue and join the other writers and painters at work, but it is not a requirement. However, it is a requirement that the piece you submit for publication and/or present at the public reading be something that was created during this year’s plein air event.

Should I revise my piece before I submit it?
Minimally—while you want to present your best work, you don’t want to lose the “in-the-moment-ness” with which you wrote it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Razor's Edge for 7/23/10

Serena Barton just announced another opportunity to take her Altered Books workshop next weekend. In these workshops, participants start with printed books (I was going to say "old" books - but they don't have to be old, they just have to be actual hardcover printed books!). They add things, layer things, cut things out, attach things, paste/glue/stain/rip, and more, with the end result being these fabulous artistic creations that started with a story someone else wrote and are now the creative expression of the artist.

Today's Razor's Edge is the opposite of Serena's altered books workshop. Below are a series of pictures and you are to write a story using these pictures. My original idea is that you would use the pictures in the same order as the original book - but I know some of you will be thinking that you want them rearranged. So - if your story wants the pictures in a different order, go ahead; it will be your story.

After you've written your story with these pictures, here is the original story by Hayes Roberts from MagicKeys; don't even look at the title (which is why I'm leaving it off!) - make your altered book with your own title and words! And have fun.

Once again, here is a link to the original story by Hayes Roberts that goes with these pictures. But I encourage you to create your own narrative out of these scenes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

from Tricycle Magazine

Being fully present. That is one of the gifts I received in the Grand Canyon a couple weeks ago. How fitting today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle Magazine: being present and removing the barriers to interconnectedness.

July 21, 2010
Tricycle Daily Dharma

Uproot the Core Problems

In the Buddhist path we are bringing together our actions, our view, and our practice. It is a balance of awareness, insight, and action, working harmoniously together. In that way our energy is no longer divided or scattered, but we are fully present in whatever we do. That is what it means to be a genuine human being.

In Buddhism, the point is not simply to be accomplished meditators but to change our whole approach to life. Meditation is not merely a useful technique or mental gymnastic, but part of a balanced system designed to change they way we go about things at the most fundamental level. In this context, it is a way of exposing and uprooting the core problems of grasping and ego-clinging that separate us from one another and cause endless pain.

-Judy Lief, "Is Meditation Enough?" (Spring 1997)Read the complete article here. 


Monday, July 19, 2010

Trigger or Jogging Your Memory

I hadn't thought of this before - but it came up in discussion today.

In about a month I will be taking a writing road trip. I'm excited by the trip because I think it's just what's needed to help get me moving along on the memoir I've been writing for a while. I've taken little breaks from it here and there - blocked or stumped or unable to make any progress. And that's okay (how often have I said or written that little phrase? A gentle reminder to myself to not beat myself mentally up for taking a break from an overwhelming project or missing my target time on an event by a minute or things like that).

So I will be taking a road trip to jog my memory. Some parts of the trip to this place I have forgotten. Forgotten or blocked - yes, it could be either. I remember enough key elements to know the route we drove. I know where we started and where we ended and why we went. But to make the story work and make it readable and not put everyone to sleep or stop the tale in its tracks - I need more visuals. I need to be able to visualize what I no longer can in order to be able to write about it.

So I was talking with my writing buddy about this and we decided it would be useful and fun to take a road trip. You see, she has a destination, too, for her memoir. So we go to my 'special place' and we go to her 'special place' and we will be able to fill in the details and bring the pieces together.


But, today, something came up in therapy and I thought - huh. I didn't consider that an option. See, I think of this as a writing trip - a fact finding mission so I can write this part of my story. My significant other wanted to go along and was surprised that I didn't ask her - she was thinking of this as an emotional memory lane trip and that I was taking this other person as support and not her. Not true.

No, I said. It's fact finding for writing. That's all. It will not be emotional; I'm long over that.

But the question remains: will I simply be jogging my memory or will I be triggered? And if there is triggering potential, will the likelihood be increased if my life partner is along, who already knows the story and was a witness to some of it?

Questions. I'm still excited that the opportunity to make the 20-hour round-trip drive presented itself. Now I need to think about what I need and the possible outcomes. I'm calling it a "road trip" - but it's ten hours each way, with one day in between, just enough time to find a couple of places, take a few pictures, sleep and head back home. Looking for a sense of place of a time long ago and a city I haven't visited for 30 years and don't intend to visit after this trip.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Razor's Edge for 7/16/2010

The Paddling Poet workshop on Lake River in Ridgefield went beautifully last night. The temperature was just right, there was a little wind, clear skies, and a variety of birds and some other critters.We paddled, talked about writing, I read a cinquain poem and we talked about structures of poetry. And paddled - with our eyes and ears open, open to what Lake River offered us as fuel for our creativity.

Good company, good setting, physical and mental and spiritual all at the same time.

With all of that in mind, today's Razor's Edge is about water and cinquain poetry. I'll give you a definition of this form and, as an example, will use the cinquain I wrote last night in response to being on the water.

In any order you want, watch the River Song flute video, the kayaking video, and look at the picture of the Blue Heron.

Pick the strongest image for you. Look at the description of form for the Cinquain Poem,

Write a cinquain for the river object you selected.

five-line cinquain 

line 1 - one word name of the subject
line 2 - two words  describing the subject
line 3 - three words describing an action related to the subject
line 4 - four words describing a feeling about the subject or a complete sentence
line 5 - one word referring back to the subject of the poem

My cinquain from our paddle last night (7/15/2010)

Lake River Native

sleek, whiskered
gliding, diving, observant
seeking a path home

"River Song" by Cesar Espinoza

photograph credits
paddlers near Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge : Team Hymas on flickr
Ridgefield boat launch : Columbia Trail Org.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Write to Wreck Your Life"

(note: It is not that I don't have anything to say, but it is that I have been over the top busy recently: my first Paddling Poet - kayaking and writing - workshop is tonight and I've been making final plans for that; the Cascade Lakes Relay is in two weeks and, as captain, there has been increased activity in final preparations for that; training for the relay; a yard that needed - needs - immediate attention 'or else' ... Then there's the novel in revision and still working on completing the final draft of the memoir... So, luckily, there are many great events coming up and I'll pass them along as I run across them. I will return to writing more original posts - I promise! Meanwhile - this looks like an entertaining evening. I will be there at the Willamette Writers Conference - as volunteer and attendee.)

....from New Oregon Arts & Letters...

Write to Wreck Your Life: Chuck Palahniuk Live at Willamette Writers

Chuck-palahniuk1 There's no one quite like homegrown Northwest writer Chuck Palahniuk. Author of Fight Club and Tell-All, Palahniuk is a sometimes prankster who writes about death, sex, fighting, and fidgeting in a style that has been described as minimalistic and nihilistic, and that is apt to make audience members faint at some of his readings.

Chuck will inform Portland audiences how to “Write to Wreck Your Life (and Get a Better One)” at the Willamette Writers Conference banquet August 7.   “Writing about the most‐risky, most‐challenging subjects can feel miserable," he explains, "but that suffering will vault you to becoming a stronger, braver person. You might have to sacrifice your short‐term comfort and happiness, but that effort will bring you more happiness and success than you’d ever dreamed possible."

More information and reservations at or 503‐452‐1592.
—by Lisa Parsons

Monday, July 12, 2010

Night of Writing Dangerously

Over the last couple of years I have written frequently about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month ). It has been a great exercise, an amazing and inspiring experience, and the novel I am currently revising towards publication originated during the event. This year I am going one step further and plan to attend the "Night of Writing Dangerously" in San Francisco. This fundraiser is not for me - but for the parent organization and their Young Writers' Program, as well as NaNoWriMo.

The following is the official fundraising letter.

On November 21st, the Office of Letters and Light will be bringing together the most mighty of endurance novelists for an event that will define our generation forever. I'm speaking, of course, of National Novel Writing Month's Night of Writing Dangerously. It's a write-a-thon, and it will take place in downtown San Francisco at the beautiful Julia Morgan Ballroom.

I will be there, writing my heart out and raising money for the Office of Letters and Light, NaNoWriMo's parent nonprofit. Attendees like me must raise $200 to get in the door, and from there, a rich array of prizes, delicious food, and sumptuous writing time awaits.

But this is not about me getting a treat-filled night of literary abandon. This is about children and adults getting the encouragement, structure, and inspiration they need to achieve their creative potential. Proceeds from the event will fund National Novel Writing Month's free creative writing programs in hundreds of schools and communities around the world.

The Office of Letters and Light does inspiration like nobody else (did I mention they're making me write an entire novel this November?). And on their behalf, I am asking you to donate.

Thank you for supporting me in my novel-writing quest, and for helping the Office of Letters and Light create a more engaged and inspiring world.
If you'd like to make a donation to help support the Young Writer's Program and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) - which will help get me qualified to be a Night of Writing Dangerously participant, visit my fundraising page - every $5, or $10, or $20 will help!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Not-to-miss Event

If you're in the Portland, OR, area on August 15th, this is a not to be missed event. Unfortunately, I am already scheduled for work or I would defninitely be there.

This has been one of the highlights of my year for the last few years: The Richard Foreman Mini Festival, sponsored by Linda Austin of Performance Works Northwest.

There are two performances - mostly different, with one or two overlaps - that have been on separate nights. This year there are two performances on one date.

This event is great for writers, performers, musicians, visual artists, playwrights - anyone who likes creativity and performance. This mini-festival has it all and I love the premise.

A phenomenal lineup of venturesome theater, dance, video and literary artists from Portland have accepted PWNW's dare to put together a short performance piece in ten days based on text selected from the notebooks of avant-garde writer/director Richard Foreman.

At 12:01 am on August 5, the performers will be given the text plus a few simple restrictions; ten days later audiences will be amused, bemused, shocked, and/or enlightened by the performance, dance, video that overflow the Someday Lounge stage. This year's text---which the artists will have the freedom to cut, paste, rearrange, and add to from other sources---will be selected and the rules of engagement devised by Chris Piuma.
Richard Foreman's "notebooks," which he makes available for anyone to use, are available to peruse here:

Event: 8th Annual Richard Foreman Mini-Festival
Time: Sunday, August 15 at 5:00pm - 9:30pm
Where: Someday Lounge
Purchase Tickets: Brown Paper Tickets

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Paddling Poet" Writing Workshop Reminder

Reminder: There are still space available in the first kayaking-writing workshop that is taking place on Thursday, July 15th! Call Ridgefield Kayak to register (see below for contact information).

Paddling Poet:
a creativity series that is not for poets only

Dot Hearn, poet and author, has teamed up with Ridgefield Kayak
to offer creativity workshops on the water.

A two-hour guided paddle on Lake River with the intent
to be in flow with the water, the wildlife,
letting nature be our guide
and our muse.

Join us as we share poetry and inspiration,
being present as our creativity blooms.
Writing and note-taking time will be included.

Thursday, July 15th; Thursday, August 5th; Friday, August 27th

Ridgefield Kayak in Ridgefield, WA
visit their website for directions 

Thursdays we will meet at 6:00 pm for paperwork and discussion; paddle begins at 6:30, returning to the boat house at 8:30.
Friday we will meet at 10:30 am, and paddle from 11 – 1.

$55 each session, which includes kayak rental, paddle, PFD, and guide.

Pre-registration is required
by contacting Ridgefield Kayak at (360) 727-3120 or (503) 319-1146
and paying the $35 paddling fee. The balance of $20 will be due at the time of the workshop, payable to Dot Hearn.

photograph c. Ridgefield Kayak

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

truth in a picture

I still haven't found the words to describe my experience rafting the Grand Canyon. The saying about a picture being worth a thousand words comes true in the picture below. My MissFit Dragons teammate, Joanie, and I went on a little hike exploration the first day. We climbed up and over some boulders and a couple of rock ledges; she went up another layer of boulders and rocks to see if there was a path up there and didn't see one. (We found out the next morning that there is one up there; but, it being our first night on the river, we didn't want to get ourselves into trouble when we couldn't see a path or a trail...)

I didn't realize Joanie took this picture of me. And I'm glad she did. It summarizes quite accurately how I'm feeling right now about being there for eight days - wow, big, openness, incredible, amazing, inspired, happy. Awe.

And, yes, I would go back. I will go back.

photograph by JD Sampson

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Big Tent Poetry event

I admit that I'd never heard of "Big Tent Poetry" until today. But there it was in my blog reader - via Sage Cohen's blog, "Writing the Life Poetic." Unfortunately, I can't go to the event - but I am reading up on Big Tent Poetry and will be reading up about that group and their offerings (readings, workshops, etc). It looks great - and I wish I could go - maybe the next one!

...from Sage Cohen:

July 17, noon: Big Tent Poetry reading and celebration

I'll be hosting a Big Tent Poetry reading on Saturday, July 17 featuring a number of poets involved in Big Tent Poetry, an online site that provides weekly poetry writing prompts, friendly community, inspiration and fun. Come on out and celebrate poetry with  Big Tent Poetry founders, contributors and participants. Featured poets will include Tiel Aisha Ansari, Sage Cohen, Dale Favier, Deb Scott and Carolee Sherwood. We'd love to see you there.

Saturday, July 17, 2010
12:00pm - 1:00pm
St Johns Booksellers
8622 North Lombard Street

You can read more about the poets at Writing the Life Poetic.

photograph, Boys Looking Into Circus Tent,
   on Flickr by Wisconsin Historical Images

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I arrived home yesterday afternoon from the 8-day rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. It was an amazing experience: incredible people (friends, new friends, guides, and swampers), scenery that makes one's mouth drop open, water and water and more water, layer upon layer of rock with the oldest dated at 1.8 billion years. And more. I'm still integrating it all and wondering how to incorporate the vastness of space and time and breath into my life here.

I will write more soon - but, for now, here is one picture of our descent into the lower Havasu pools. The two rafts are on the other side and down a little, tied tightly to the rocks because the pull-over place for the large rafts is in the lower end of a rapids. We climbed up and over and around the slabs and rocks and into the Havasu canyon. Then we had to wind through a trail over more rocks and sand, and then, as seen below, make a descent where it required sitting on our butts and sliding, letting our left foot catch on a small lump of a rock in the slick surface and find our footing with our right. Then climb and step over more boulders to get to where I am standing to take a picture. We went up further to what our guides called the "big kids' pools" - which were amazing. A few of our group hiked up another three or so miles into the heat of the canyon to another squat waterfall; I stayed with the majority of the group at the big pools. More on that later.

More on all of it later.

For now, enjoy the view!

Descent Into Havasu Canyon
by Dot Hearn

Friday, July 2, 2010

day 8: Grand Canyon rafting

This is the final day on the river. We will motor the last 40 miles or so to the take-out. Then a three-hour or so bus ride back to Las Vegas. To a shower, clean clothes, a real bed. I followed their advice and will be staying overnight. The time we'll get back to Las Vegas is unknown and they recommend not trying to catch a late flight in case it's later than expected.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

day 7: Grand Canyon rafting

I think this is the last day of rapids. I know that tomorrow - the final day on the river - has 40 miles of flatwater through which we will be motoring.  I thought this video with a view from within the raft was fitting. And fun. Hold on!