The Rhythm of the Natural World & our Ancestors

Since the lockdown years ago, when our longing to repair our connection to the living world was ignited, memoirs have begun to reflect our desire to connect to the rhythms of the natural world. Since then, there have been a surge of memoirs connecting personal story to all that is alive in the world, and some where nature is the protagonist! When we write of nature, our ancestors begin to emerge – those who tended the land, planted the trees, and those who desecrated it also. 

What happens when we listen to the voices from the land? What happens when we begin to listen to ALL of it? How might we feel our entanglements with the world to know the earth as home and treat it as such, even when we are unsure where we belong to?

For a writer, memoirs set around the world can be examples of place that is as alive as character and confirmation that place, wherever it may be, is story.

 

I can only think there is another force at work, deeper than physics

and what we know of wind, something that comes from a world

where lightning and thunder, sun and rain clouds live.

Nor can I say why it is so many of us have forgotten the mystery

of nature and spirit, while for tens of thousands of years

such things have happened and been spoken

by our elders and our ancestors.  

-Linda Hogan

 

Nature Fuels our Creativity

Mary Oliver often wrote about how walking through the woods and writing saved her life, Nature essayist Annie Dillard said “In nature I find grace tangled in a rapture with violence; I find an intricate landscape whose forms are fringed in death; I find mystery, newness, and a kind of exuberant, spendthrift energy.” These same themes show up in our lives and in our stories. Nature becomes not just a backdrop of our story, but the story itself, often turning into the protagonist.

Mary Oliver often talked about how her daily writing ritual involved carrying a notebook with her as she walked through the forest, and writing ideas down as they came to her, as if her body needed to be in motion for the words to come out.

 

Ancestors are Linked to Land

Naturalist Dough Elliott reminds us that “every being that shares the earth with us can have a lesson, a teaching or a message – and especially our ancestors, who planted the trees, tended the gardens, traveled to new continents and built the homes. We are all a part of the natural world and our lives are profoundly affected by nature. Even those of us who live modern, urban, insulated lives have to acknowledge our biological roots and the longing to be a part of the history of the world. We are biological organisms and we are intimately connected to and ultimately dependent upon the natural world and all those who came before us.

Perhaps our ancestors speak to us through the natural world – they are a source of inspiration for storytellers. How do we find that ancestral language and include it in our stories?

 

We do not inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

-American Indian Proverb

Infusing the Natural World in our Ancestral Stories

Sample topics explored*:

  

Wild Childhood

My friend Limor stuffed mud into her pockets when she was a child so she could feel and smell the earth inside her home. I endlessly wandered the woods, exploring snakes, ponds and streams, and watched my mother – who originally was from the city – sing to the spiders when she gardened.  Whether we grew up in cities or the country, nature called to us – an endless wild song to join her.  As children we looked to the sky and the mountains and the owls with wild, knowing eyes – we were part of it, and it was shaping us. We will explore how the natural world shaped who we are today, and what we bore witness to that spoke to our evolving souls.

Belonging 

Straddling  two lands often means straddling two cultures, and many of us have been in that place of in between, often without a sense of belonging to either place or culture. In this opening class we will explore belonging, and that in between place while we work to incorporate and honor all that shaped us as we embrace new lands and new cultures. What do we carry with us from the lands where we have lived? 

 

Ceremony & Renewal  andsideRemembering is an important part of renewal and restoration – the mending of a broken connection. Ceremony is meant to reconnect us and put us back together and back in connection with the world, including people and all living things, especially the land. Writers will delve into the ceremony, and relationships with the natural world that help us heal and thrive. 

 

Water

Water retains its mystery and fascination, and if we can start reconnecting to it in small ways in our own lives, we move ever closer to a sense of our ancient, natural human selves. In many cultures, water is considered the centre of life and holds a divine energy. From bathing, fishing, travelling and drinking, to worship, mystery and power. Water is the callback in many memoirs, poetry and essays, and we will explore the oceans, rivers, waterfalls and the way water speaks to us.

Songs 

Plato said music is a more potent instrument than any other for education because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul. Our grandmothers sang to us, or whistled, or hummed, and if we listen closely, we call still hear them. Certain songs shaped us, remind us of where we come from and where we are going, and our own songs will carry us forward.

Silence & Attention, 

Essayist John Cage has said “There is no such thing as silence”. In a divided world filled with war, genocide and greed, we need more silence, but what are we saying when we say that? We are saying we need more attention, and to give the world our attention, we need to quiet our minds and ourselves so the world can speak to us and we can hear.

 When we are able to silence our minds and ourselves, we are able to offer proper attention to the world.  Attention, in the end, is the heritage of all the people, and we are having a collective vision to listen, even as the birds are disappearing, even as the protests rage around us. 

       GUEST TEACHERS – AUTHORS LINDA HOGAN AND GARRET HONGO

Friday Speaking Dates to be Announced

AUTHOR LINDA HOGAN 

Linda Hogan is an award winning novelist, a finalist for the Pulitzer, a poet, essayist.  She is an indigenous writer, thinker, and environmentalist. Her memoir is The Women who Watch Over the World: a Native Memoir

Her book, Dwellings, A Spiritual History of the Living World will be used in this course, as well as other essays and poetry.  

Linda Hogan was inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame in 2007 for her contributions to indigenous literatures.

Hogan’s newest nonfiction is The Radiant Lives of Animals, from Beacon Press in 2020, and a new book of poems, A History of Kindness from Torrey House Press.

Linda will be offering an hour talk, the topic to be determined.

 

 

AUTHOR GARRETT HONGO

Poet, Memoirist and audio writer Garrett Hongo was born in Volcano, His book Coral Road was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize, and Garrett will be teaching from the book – it’s suggested all writers taking this course order Coral Road before Garrett’s Friday session.

Garrett Hongo will be offering an hour talk toward the end of the series, based on his book Coral Road. Laura will engage with a discussion with Garrett about his memoir Volcano, his work, and how straddling worlds and cultures influenced his writing.

He is a frequent contributor of audio articles to Soundstage! Ultra and lives in Eugene, where he is Distinguished Professor at the University of Oregon.

A sample of the books used for this course include:

Writing through inspiration

while exploring craft  

The way we experience story is evolving with the language needed for the world we live inside. By participating in this live 6-week class series, you will have the opportunity to explore your story through the lens of love. 

LEARN IN A SMALL, LIVE GROUPS

Rick Rubin wrote “the synergy of a group is an important if not more important than the talent of the individuals.” Joining this writing community is like joining a group of beginning and published  writers who support and nurture each other’s creative process. Each week, writers take the live online (or in person on Kauai) class with the same 10 writers from all over the world,  writing together and sharing  stories in a 2 1/2 to three hour class.

Writers work closely together for six weeks, deeply bonding and supporting each other’s creative growth. If anyone has to miss a week, they can audit the class with another live group on any day of the week, or opt to receive the class via Power Point. 

CREATE CONTENT FOR A BODY OF WORK

This six-week course is especially compelling if you are working on a book, blog, poetry or a series of essays.  It’s a wonderful way to explore an event and learn how step by step to be in a deeper discovery for yourself and the readers.

Every writer in this group is respected and honored, so that not just the story is honored, but the whole process of writing a story or poem.

Many of our students have gone on to publication through this process of writing every week, and many of our writers are authors writing beside writers who are new to the practice.

INSPIRATION TO WRITE BOLD

This six- week series has been developed to inspire writers to go deepear into their personal truths and philosophies, by looking at memoirs breaking literary rules and inspiring us to explore the canvas of our stories through inspiring techniques and writing prompts.

Writers receive literary inspiration from science philosophy, spirituality on a theme each week, followed by writing warmups in the form of list making. Pre-writing exercises lead us into a longer thirteen minute write.

After we write, we share our stories and deeply listen with positive feedback.  Writers become part of a private Facebook writing community.

MEET OUR TEACHERS

Click Here

Margaret Terry 

is a writer, inspirational speaker, and award winning author of Dear Deb, A Woman with Cancer, A Friend with Secrets and the Letters that Became Their Miracle. Her book, published by a division of Harper Collins US has been translated into Spanish and Russian. Margaret has written for The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Today’s Christian Magazine, and The Hamilton Spectator.

Margaret has taught workshops at conferences in the US and Canada on writing memoir as well as courses regarding how to secure an agent and the road to publication.

Margaret is a world traveller who has visited over 35 countries. She has lived in four countries before setting in Canada.

Margaret Terry joins Laura Lentz’ workshops as master facilitator and co-teacher.

 

Robin Gadient – Teaching Friday and Saturday

Robin Gadient just celebrated her third anniversary as a teacher with LIterati Academy. Robin is known for her intuitive feedback and love of story, her own essays and poetry.

Robin has developed a following as both a writer and a teacher. Robin graduated from UCSB with a BA in literature. Robin has the uncanny ability to hold space for all writers and respond in a way that creates the needed energy to create her community within a larger community.

Laura creates the curriculum for the six week series taught by Robin.

Educator: Laura Lentz

Laura Lentz is the author of an essay book  Freeing the Turkeys and STORYquest, the Writer, the Hero, the Journey. Laura develops inspirational curriculum with unique writing exercises inspired by themed literature. Literati Academy hosts intimate, interactive creative writing workshops online with students in ten countries for over a decade. Laura’s workbook helps writers explore every stage of their story inspired by the Hero’s Journey through 12-weeks of writing prompts and examples out of literature.

Literati Academy’  has become an inspirational writing community for thousands of writers, inspiring writers to create content and eventually move onto publication.  An anthology – “That’s the Best Thing You’ve Ever Written” is a compilation of the best stories and poetry from this talented community of writers, and will publish late summer 2024.

Laura creates the unique themed curriculum for the 6-week writing workshops also taught by Guest Teachers.

Laura serves on the faculty of The Kauai Writers Conference for four consecutive years.

WILD WRITING OPENS TO NEW  STUDENTS MAY 28th  

Contact Laurawriter@me.com  with requests & to be on the Wait List

Sunday Online

w/ Laura Lentz

10:30 am PST

1:30 pm EST

Class is 2 1/2 hours

June 9, 16, 23, 30

7/07, 07/14

____________________

6 sessions

plus 2 Guest teachers

dates To be announced

$247.00

Monday Online 

w/ Laura Lentz –

4 p.m. PST

7 p.m. EST

Class is 2 1/2 hours

June 10, 17, 24

July 1, 8, 15

____________________

6 sessions

plus 2 Guest teachers

dates To be announced

$247.00

Monday Online

w/Laura &

Margaret Terry 

4 pm PT / 7 pm ET

Class is 2 1/2 hours

June 10, 17, 24

July 1, 8, 15

____________________

6 sessions

plus 2 Guest teachers

dates To be announced

$247.00

Tuesday Online

w/Laura Lentz 

4 p.m. PST / 7 p.m. EST

Class is 2 1/2 hours

June 11, 17, 25

July 2, 9, 16

____________________

6 sessions

plus 2 guest teachers

dates To be announced

$247.00

Wednesday Online 

w/ Laura Lentz

4:30 Hawaii time

7:30 PST

Class is 2 1/2 hours

June 12, 18, 26

July 3, 10, 17

____________________

6 sessions

plus 2 guest teachers

dates To be announced

$247.00

Thursday Online

w/ Laura Laura

 4 pm PST

7 pm EDT

Class is 2 1/2 hours

June 13, 19, 27

July 4, 11, 18

____________________

6 sessions

plus 2 guest teachers

dates To be announced

$247.00

Friday Online

with Robin Gadient

11 a.m. PST  

2 p.m. EST

Class is 2 1/2 hours

 

June 14, 20, 28

July 5, 18, 19

____________________

6 sessions

plus 2 guest teachers

dates To be announced

$247.00

Saturday Online 

with Robin Gadient

10:30 am  PST

1:30 p.m. EST

Class is 2 1/2 hours

 

June 15, 20, 28

July 6, 12, 19

____________________

6 sessions

plus 2 guest teachers

dates to be announced

$247.00