Fishtrap Week 6: Reflections

@font-face {
font-family: “Cambria”;
}@font-face {
font-family: “Book Antiqua”;
}@font-face {
font-family: “Georgia”;
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }a:link, span.MsoHyperlink { color: blue; text-decoration: underline; }a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { color: purple; text-decoration: underline; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

Last in last week’s reflection, I wrote about videoconferencing with the NYC Nomad and the discussions we had about place, placelessness, and the organic possibilities that arise from extended intentional travel. (You can read more about his take on our conference here.)
Continuing in that vein, this weekend I attended the annual Winter Fishtrap writing retreat in the historic Wallowa Lake Lodge. Keynote speakers were Winona LaDuke, Charles Goodrich, and Tammy Strobel. The theme was “getting small” and discussion ranged from square footage of homes to simple-living role models for today’s techie-addicted youth. As I participated on and off throughout the weekend, poet Charles Goodrich’s advice was most interesting to me: Feed your soil, he advised. Of course “soil” is a metaphor here for whatever your bottom line in life might be.
For Charles, I gathered that his is the soil of possibility. He works in academia but is most actively engaged in and passionate about the Spring Creek Project, which brings together multiple disciplines and artistic mediums to invite the possibilities of clear, original thinking. For Tammy (whose blog Rowdy Kittens is worth checking out), her soil is the soil of connectivity. She strives to downsize her life in every sense of the word, but recognizes that hers is choice of privilege and therefore volunteers and makes connections in her local community in addition to her practical, life-coach-toned eBook writing.
As a fiction writer, I believe my soil is a blend of imagination, fact, and real-life implications. In other words, when I seek to feed my creativity, I’m looking to strike a balance between something that evokes mystery, something that informs, and something that—no matter what—matters to contemporary society. You can use imagination and fact and write porn, so that last bit about “meaning something” is especially important because what all boils down to is: So what?
So what? A good short story can invite a reader to reflect, it can give a person pause, and most of all I believe a good short story encourages empathy. Last time I checked, porn doesn’t do that. Point being, my soil is a soil that’s going to grow something that makes a difference.
What’s your soil? How do you feed it?
I think Charles’ advice might be the most succinct way of articulating why I’m on the road for 2 years right now. Feed your soil. Thanks, Charles.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.