Posts Tagged ‘writing retreat’

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .


Jen loves to have visitors at her B&B farm property in Breaux Bridge, Bonne Terre.  Bonne Terre in French means good soil.  While I’m sure this is good earth, I can see that Jen dedicates lots of her time to making it good.  There are signs of her everywhere, in the mown lawns, the growing vegetables, and the attractive, rustic sculptures.  Even in the bathroom, she has selected special aromatic soaps and adorable decorations.  I have to admit I’ve had trouble settling down to write.  I’ve moved positions at least five times.

I asked Jen how many chickens she has.  She had to do the math because she has a variety of breeds, but she came up with 71 (or was it 79?).  Nevertheless, chickens are everywhere.  They are a humorous, noisy lot that make me feel like I am out in the country at grandmother’s house.

I’ve been meaning to treat myself to a full day of writing all summer long.  With only a few weeks left before school starts, I finally did it.  I worry that I will fill this day with things other than writing.  Jen told me, “It doesn’t matter if you write or not.  The point is you gave yourself this space to be present.”

I’ll likely spend the next few hours reading blogs, walking the grounds, and having coffee with Jen, but whatever I do is bon travail on this bonne terre, good work on this good earth.  And look at me!  For what it’s worth, I got a blog post written.

I think this dragonfly wants to be in a poem!

Please hop over to Amanda’s post on Persistence and Pedagogy.  She’s a stop on the Bayou Song blog tour, and I love what she did with her kiddos.

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View from the porch at Old Bedlam Farm


My summer is quickly coming to an end.  School starts in a few short weeks.  It’s time for me to focus, get into the classroom, and make plans for the year.

But first, I want to celebrate the summer life, that laid-back time when the day is completely empty.  When you can take time to explore a used bookstore in the woods of upstate New York.

When you can take time to peruse an antique store down the road in Salem.  Don’t forget to open the tiny drawers to find the smallest treasures, like a mustard seed pendant.

Leaning on my friends Julianne Harmatz and Kimberley Moran.


When you can take a lawn chair up the hill, find the shade of a tree, and write in the quiet of the morning.

Tara writes on the hillside. Sophie explores nearby.

When you can “Live like Heaven is on Earth.”

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Poetry Friday round-up is at Books 4 Learning

Poetry Friday round-up is at Books 4 Learning

wagon wheel

I dedicate this post, a prose fairy tale poem in three parts, to my writing friends Tara Smith, Kimberley Moran, and Julianne Harmatz.  We spent the week together in upstate New York laughing, eating, drinking, touring, shopping, and oh yes…writing.  These verses were inspired by Petal People notecards by Martha Starke. 

I. Julianne

Once there was a girl from Los Angeles
with a head of curly hair.
She walked the hills of New York state
gathering wild flowers–

verbena, hosta, bleeding heart,
Johnny-jump-ups, bridal wreath–

placing them all in a clear glass jar.

The flowers captured sunshine,
the wild air of summer.

She looked at the flowers in the center of the breakfast table,
and smiled a sneaky smile.
She found the key to happiness–
Gather wildflowers in a glass jar.
You will have sunshine every day.

II. Kimberley

There once was a girl from Maine
who walked the hills of New York state,
looking for something, though she knew not what.

She picked up a wreath of wild flowers
arranged in the shape of a heart.

This heart of hydrangea petals
surrounded by Queen Anne’s lace
touched her very own broken heart.

She hung the wreath on her own front door
to show the world and herself
that this was enough.

III. Tara

Once a girl from New Jersey
walked all the way to New York
searching for wisdom,
(perhaps words on a bumper sticker),
a message for the secret of life.

On a bedlam farm,
dirty from long disuse,
she met a man selling seeds.

He told her to plant this tiny seed,
(so small she could hardly see),
water it every day, speak in a soft voice.
The seed will grow into the finest of flowers
more beautiful than hollyhocks.

One day when the sun rose
& the fog lifted,
she saw the flower,
finer than anything imagined,
and she said, “It is good!”

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved,
with incredible respect and love
for the gift of time that is born at a farm in New York


Queen Anne's Lace





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