Posted by: wordrunner | May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014

Dear Literary Folk,

Right now is a great time to be thinking about summer writing, travel, workshops, and conferences to move whatever you’re working on (or avoiding working on) a little further out into the world. The Workshops and Conference pages have the upcoming offerings, and you can access either of both in a click. Space may be limited, so best to register soon.

We are very lucky to have two excellent conferences just over the Sonoma county borders. Registration is open for both the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, July 30-August 2; and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, July 27-August 1, 2014. Here are the links to their websites: MCWC:; NVWC:

Summer Retreats
Writing Retreat with Pam Houston in Santa Cruz Mountains: June 13-15, 2014:

Point Reyes Writing Retreat with Patti Trimble and Susan Bono, Friday, June 13, 6:00 p.m. to Monday, June 16, 2:00 p.m.

Tracing the Path: Exploring Your Spiritual Journey through Memoir & Craft, a one day women’s retreat in Sebastopol with Noelle Oxenhandler and Susie Stonefield Miller. Sunday, June 22, 2014, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

New Workshops
Dan Coshnear’s popular writing and editing workshops return to the Sitting Room: 5/10, 5/17 & 5/24, 5/31. 9:30 to 12:30 Saturday mornings. Contact or 707-869-0329.

Poet Terry Ehret, storyteller Cathryn Fairlee, and poet-musician Jabez Churchill present a one-day free workshop on the myth of Medea and the legend of La Llarona, on Sunday, June 22, 9 AM to 4 PM. Film, performance, music, pot-luck lunch, discussion, and writing prompts. Contact to reserve a spot.

No time to get away to write?
Check out Katherine Hastings’s Poet Laureate Page, where each installment of her “Digging Our Poetic Roots” project is featured. You can stay wherever you are and enjoy the mini-workshop for free. This month’s topic is Ekphrasis (not to be confused with the sound your cat makes coughing up a fur-ball!)

And just for fun!
Thursday, May 8, 8:00 p.m. Conspiracy of Beards present the Songs of Leonard Cohen performed by an a cappella men’s chorus and poet Rusty Rebar at the Mystic Theatre, 21 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma.

Saturday, May 10, 10 a.m.-noon. Redwood Writers hosts the next Library Open Mic at the Santa Rosa Central Library, 211 E St., Santa Rosa. The theme in May is “Young at Heart,” in honor of Older Americans Month. The general public is invited to sign up to read.

Happy Birthday, Sitting Room!
The Sitting Room opens its doors on Sunday, June 8 2-5 PM for its annual birthday party and reading from the 2014 publication: I Knew I Was a Feminist When . . . . For a list of upcoming Sitting Room events and workshops, visit the website:

Writing and Travel
I’m looking for five fellow writers and travelers to join me on a return trip to enchanted Wales in the summer of 2015. Dates have yet to be set, depending on the schedules of the travelers. That’s more than a year away, I know, but this is the time to give it some thought. I’ll be taking sign-ups this fall. You can visit the website for itinerary, accommodations, costs, etc. at Contact me at if you’re interested.

Thoughts on the Drought
Back in January, I invited members of the literary community to send me their thoughts on the California drought, and each month, I have featured those I’ve received at the end of the new post. Given the recent glorious rain, it may not feel that we’re still in drought conditions, but, of course, we are. This month’s poems are by Jonah Raskin and Lilith Rogers.

If you have a short piece (250 words or less) on this subject, please send them to me at Use the subject line “Thoughts on the Drought.”

Terry Ehret
Co-editor, Sonoma County Literary Update

Click here to download a pdf of most of the pages on our website.

Drop of Rain
by Jonah Raskin

I have watched the world
unfold in a drop of rain,
watched the raindrop
kiss the earth,
the earth embrace the solitary drop
as you and I, as he and she,
take turns,
as the world returns,
as dawn and dusk collapse the sun,
as the river enters the sea,
as the soil exhausts and renews itself,
as you and I, and he and she,
take turns
on altars and in fields,
as the silver slither of the moon
rises over the dry dry valley and as
the world unfolds in a drop of rain.

After the First Rain of the Season
by Lilith Rogers

I was hanging out
in the redwoods
down the road
from here
and I could feel
and even—
it seemed to me—
to taste
their happiness.

This wasn’t just a light fog
these trees had to work hard
to harvest
with their thin little needles
high up at their tops
and send all the way down
to their roots.

This was a REAL rain
that fell and fell
and just a few hours after
the rain has started
these happy trees
are already free
of roadside dust
and shiny
with new life.

Oh, and now
I’m further down the road
in amongst some oaks and firs
and they seem happy, too.
But not as exuberantly so.


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