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The Daily & the Doing

I started to write a list of the year’s highlights—a fun gratitude practice. But I discovered that the entire list could—like a good caramel sauce—be reduced down to this one, sweet dollop from Julia Cameron: “Creativity lies not in the done but in doing.”
I first read that line seventeen years ago, and it has taken me all of these years to begin to learn it. In fact, as I was fiddling with the now-defunct list and getting annoyed at my inability to get it to flow, I took a break for gingerbread and cloud-watching. This little post and yours truly are both the better for it. 
And so, in this season of celebration and on this shortest day of the year, here’s to celebrating each short moment of our days—whether writing a to-do list or a cycle of poems, warming leftovers or concocting a five-course feast, sketching a poinsettia or painting a twenty-canvas series, sitting still for five breaths or walking five miles. Even beyond any good outcome, let the daily and the doing be our creative delight.  

Bells & Angels

The Guardian Angel of Mount Angel Abbey
As I begin to write, the bells begin to ring across the monastery courtyard. Between the bell tower and my window, a statue of a guardian angel stands in the rainy courtyard. I woke to bells ringing at 5:20. They have names, which I’ve already forgotten.
I came here on a mini-retreat, bringing my own bag of coffee and zero expectations. As a Protestant visiting a realm of Catholicism and monasticism, this feels more observational than participatory. I am partly here because I read Kathleen Norris’ book The Cloister Walk, about her seasons spent at a Benedictine monastery in the Midwest. I made this reservation after finishing the book this past summer when I imagined the weather being exactly what it is at this moment: rainy and gray.
Earlier this month, I thought I knew the reason I was coming here, but that morphed to the real reason: to not need a reason. To simply take time away to rest for no other purpose: no multitasking, not even the justification of a tax-deductible tripas most of my freelance artist-writer life is. I logged no miles driving here, even though I will spend this morning in the curvilinear, mid-century library looking through books on Saint Teresa for a current writing project. Therein the happy problem when your work is your love: what does rest look like?
The guardian angel stands, implacable, in the rain. I write like I’m trying to rest: with no purpose. I see the angel. I hear the bells. I drink my coffee. I stare at my socked feet, propped up on the squeaky bed I slept fitfully in. Soon, the library will open. Before long, I’ll start craving not just spirit food but food for this body. Maybe I’ll eat the kale-beet salad I brought. Maybe I’ll walk into town and treat myself to spaetzle at the German restaurant. Maybe I’ll fill myself with bells. I have learned to live with hunger.
The angel keeps watch. The bells will ring again soon.

Reminder: Poets & Painters Workshop Nov 11 - Register Now!!

Hello creative friend!
I hope this finds you very well on this cozy fall day. 🍁🍂

I'm writing today to let you know that the next Poets & Painters (& Pie) Workshop 
is coming up right around the corner. Last one of 2017...hope you can join us! 
This time it's at the charming historic Pennington Farms Bakery in the Applegate. 

This is a fun inspiring day of writing & painting, pie indulging & coffee sipping. 
Anna Elkins leads you through a freestyle writing & poetry exercise (hint: it will 
involve pie) & I will guide us through a still life painting of...you guessed it, 
pie, seasonal flora & vintage props. If you haven't been to Pennington Farms, 
the entire surrounding is a painting waiting to happen. Inspiration everywhere! 
And workshop promise: you will leave with a finished painting. ❤️🎨

Please email: [email protected] to hold your spot.
Treat yourself to a Saturday afternoon of poetry, prose, painting & pie. 
Poets & Painters & Pie workshop with Anna Elkins and Mindy Carpenter at Pennington Farms, Applegate Vallte Valley, November 11, 2017Poets & Painters & Pie workshop with Anna Elkins and Mindy Carpenter at Pennington Farms, Applegate Vallte Valley, November 11, 2017

Yummy Alliteration: Poets & Painters & Pie at Pennington Farms!

We couldn’t resist! Join us for a fun afternoon of playing with words & paints & Pennington’s signature “cutie pies.” You’ll leave with a finished 8″ x 10″ painting, a poem, and a tummy full of goodness. $95 for all supplies & pie & instruction. Email me to register: [email protected]

Anna Elkins – Goodness: Past, Present and Future

Anna Elkins

Goodness: Past, Present & Future

Autumn is about to officially begin. I look forward to it—not just because it’s my favorite season, but because this has been a summer full of opportunities to remind myself that joy transcends circumstance. My season started with getting a gum graft along all of my lower teeth in June, and it ended with most of my home state of Oregon covered in hazardous smoke from raging forest fires that are finally being doused with rain. But my joy was not in my gums or the air quality, thank goodness! I was grateful when I could chew again, and I looked for a way to support Oregon’s valiant firefighters.

Gratitude and action are my solutions to such seasons. So I thought I’d share a bit of both—celebrating a few points of goodness: past, present, and future.

Past: La Via Poetica 

Two years ago, I traveled to Chile to visit the three former homes of poet Pablo Neruda. I wrote about how a poem was born on that pilgrimage. In August, I was delighted to have the essay published in Hidden Compass. Thanks again to the wonderful editors!

A few lines from activist-poet Neruda himself:

We need to sit on the rim
of the well of darkness
and fish for fallen light
with patience
.

The Honeylicker Angel by Anna Elkins

The Honeylicker Angel: Second Edition

Today, I’m happy to announce the second edition of my novel, The Honeylicker Angel—spiffy new cover and all. As Kirkus Reviews wrote, it is “the nuanced story of a woman who finally sets out to face her fears and maybe—just maybe—reach for her dreams, too.” And since so many people’s dreams were affected by the wildfires this year, I’m donating profits from the book’s sales this first month of its second edition to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Future

And in addition to gratitude and action, there is anticipation. Want something to look forward to? Deep Travel Workshops is thrilled to announce writing retreats to Mexico, Spain, and Morocco in the winter/spring lineup for 2018:

The Art of Tranquilo
January 2-7: Tim Cahill in Yelapa, Mexico
January 11-17: Dot Fisher-Smith in Yelapa, Mexico
Enjoy this car-free paradiso on the Bay of Banderas where you stay in open-air casitas…

In Search of Duende
March 11-17: Erin Byrne in Granada Spain
Practice flamenco, savor paella, and dive into Lorca’s theory of duende while staying in swanky caves…

The Art of Adventure
March 22-29: Larry Habegger in Fez & Moulay Idriss, Morocco
Explore both the lively byways of ancient medinas and the centered peace of a zellij fountain in the courtyard of your riad

Want more info on any of the trips? Visit DeepTravelWorkshops.com
Want to register? Email [email protected].

Good things are in store!

I’ll close with another line from Neruda: “Every day you play with the light of the universe.”

Here’s to playing with light,

Anna

UPCOMING

Here are some events & workshops on the horizon (more info for each on the events page of my website):

Vignettes in the Vineyard: A writing workshop, 13 October 2017, 2-4 pm at Red Lily Vineyards (Jacksonville, OR) Limited spots…email me to register:[email protected]

The Pilgrimage of Poetry at the Writer’s Forum, 21 October 2017, 10:30am-12:30pm (Redding, CA) More info here.

Eyes of the Heart: Prophetic Art Workshop at CCFC (Crescent City, CA). Register here.

Winter Blessings: Paintings by Anna Elkins at Weisinger’s Family Winery (Ashland, OR) Reception on First Friday, 3 November 2017, 5-7 pm. Enter a drawing to win a free painting! Paintings will be up through December 28.

Copyright © 2017 Anna Elkins, All rights reserved.
*ae newsletter*

My mailing address is:
PO Box 509, Jacksonville, OR 97530

Vignettes in the Vineyard with Anna Elkins

My favorite season is almost here, & I decided to celebrate by offering a writing workshop at Red Lily Vineyards. In this accessible class, you’ll craft a vignette—a short, impressionistic passage of poetry or prose.

 

Time: Friday, 13 October 2017, 2-4 pm

Place: Red Lily Vineyards:  11777 Highway 238, Jacksonville, OR 97530 (We’ll be meeting in their event barn)

Price: $35: includes a little set of Take Heart greeting cards

 

No….

~No experience required

~No pressure to read

~No worries!
Yes…

~Yes to bringing a journal/notebook & a favorite writing pen

~Yes to discovering your inner wordsmith in a casual & caring space

~Yes to getting yourself a glass of Red Lily’s award-winning wine to enjoy the writing time!

 

Register:

Space is limited & registering in advance is a must. Email me at: [email protected] & I’ll let you know how to proceed with payment (check or PayPal).

 

Let’s play with words together during the peak of autumn colors!

 

Mexico, Spain, Morocco–Join Us!

The Deep Travel Workshops early-2018 lineup
Today is unofficially the last day of summer. If you didn’t get enough adventure this season, plan for a future season! Think Mexico in January. Spain and Morocco in the springtime. Here are a few Deep Travel Workshops to look forward to in 2018:
January 2-7 with Tim Cahill
January 11-17 with Dot Fisher-Smith
For both trips, you can enjoy a retreat in the car-free village of Yelapa on Mexico’s Bay of Banderas. Study in an unpolished paradiso fueled by sun, cerveza, and seafood. After waking in your open-air casa, amble down the beach for a morning workshop, and then enjoy the rest of the day sketching, swimming, hiking, boating—or all of the above! Tim’s workshop will focus on writing, and Dot’s will focus on Practicing Presence, but both will give you plenty of inspiration to fill your journal.
March 11-17
What is duende and where do we find it? The great Spanish poet Federico García Lorca defined it as the dark beauty found in Andalusian art: the bullfight, the fierce flamenco dancing, and the strains of a guitar. You might recognize it closer to home in the haunting chords of your favorite Leonard Cohen song. Wherever we find it, duende can transform struggle into art and sorrow into revelation. This spring, Deep Travel will journey to Lorca’s hometown of Granada, Spain to explore duendeat its source. We will stay in swanky caves, hold readings by candlelight, marvel at the Alhambra, and enjoy a sunset paella party with local flamenco dancers in the Sacromonte. Along the way, award-winning author Erin Byrne will spark your writing with the cante jondo—the deep song at the heart of duende.
March 22-27
Come experience sensory-rich Morocco with travel writing guru Larry Habegger. Larry co-founded Travelers’ Tales books and edits the Best Travel Writing anthologies. He is also known for skillfully coaching many novice writers from first draft to their first publication. We will begin our writing workshop in the Fez Medina—a UNESCO World Heritage Site of over 9,000 byways. From there, we will venture into the Middle Atlas for some retreat time in the mountain village of Moulay Idriss. While in Moulay, we will visit the 2000-year-old Roman ruins of Volubilis, tour Morocco’s wine country, and enjoy daily life in this small, enchanting city before returning to Fez. Along the way, we will meet local artists, restaurateurs, change-makers, and traditional storytellers. An adventure awaits you!
DISCOUNTS:
*Get $100 off any of these trips if you register by September 10.
*Get $500 off if you register for both the Spain and Morocco trip. These two adventures are just five days apart; we designed them so that you can experience the historic connections between Southern Spain (Al-Andalus) and Morocco.
For more info, visit DeepTravelWorkshops.com.
Register for any of these trips by emailing: [email protected]

Mexico, Spain, Morocco–Join Us!

The Deep Travel Workshops early-2018 lineup
Today is unofficially the last day of summer. If you didn’t get enough adventure this season, plan for a future season! Think Mexico in January. Spain and Morocco in the springtime. Here are a few Deep Travel Workshops to look forward to in 2018:
January 2-7 with Tim Cahill
January 11-17 with Dot Fisher-Smith
For both trips, you can enjoy a retreat in the car-free village of Yelapa on Mexico’s Bay of Banderas. Study in an unpolished paradiso fueled by sun, cerveza, and seafood. After waking in your open-air casa, amble down the beach for a morning workshop, and then enjoy the rest of the day sketching, swimming, hiking, boating—or all of the above! Tim’s workshop will focus on writing, and Dot’s will focus on Practicing Presence, but both will give you plenty of inspiration to fill your journal.
March 11-17
What is duende and where do we find it? The great Spanish poet Federico García Lorca defined it as the dark beauty found in Andalusian art: the bullfight, the fierce flamenco dancing, and the strains of a guitar. You might recognize it closer to home in the haunting chords of your favorite Leonard Cohen song. Wherever we find it, duende can transform struggle into art and sorrow into revelation. This spring, Deep Travel will journey to Lorca’s hometown of Granada, Spain to explore duendeat its source. We will stay in swanky caves, hold readings by candlelight, marvel at the Alhambra, and enjoy a sunset paella party with local flamenco dancers in the Sacromonte. Along the way, award-winning author Erin Byrne will spark your writing with the cante jondo—the deep song at the heart of duende.
March 22-27
Come experience sensory-rich Morocco with travel writing guru Larry Habegger. Larry co-founded Travelers’ Tales books and edits the Best Travel Writing anthologies. He is also known for skillfully coaching many novice writers from first draft to their first publication. We will begin our writing workshop in the Fez Medina—a UNESCO World Heritage Site of over 9,000 byways. From there, we will venture into the Middle Atlas for some retreat time in the mountain village of Moulay Idriss. While in Moulay, we will visit the 2000-year-old Roman ruins of Volubilis, tour Morocco’s wine country, and enjoy daily life in this small, enchanting city before returning to Fez. Along the way, we will meet local artists, restaurateurs, change-makers, and traditional storytellers. An adventure awaits you!
DISCOUNTS:
*Get $100 off any of these trips if you register by September 10.
*Get $500 off if you register for both the Spain and Morocco trip. These two adventures are just five days apart; we designed them so that you can experience the historic connections between Southern Spain (Al-Andalus) and Morocco.
For more info, visit DeepTravelWorkshops.com.
Register for any of these trips by emailing: [email protected]

Poets & Painters

Join us for an autumn afternoon in the delightful gardens of Del Rio Vineyards as we paint and write. You don’t have to bring anything–not even any artistic experience! You’ll leave with a finished 8″ x 10″ painting and a poem…and have a whole lotta fun in the process.

Poets & Painters

Join us for an autumn afternoon in the delightful gardens of Del Rio Vineyards as we paint and write. You don’t have to bring anything–not even any artistic experience! You’ll leave with a finished 8″ x 10″ painting and a poem…and have a whole lotta fun in the process.