Motherhood & Words

I spent last weekend once again at Faith’s Lodge with an incredible group of women. And once again I was blown way by the amount and the quality of writing that emerged in those few days together. But it’s more than that; it’s community, it’s safety, it’s healing.

Just before we wrapped up on Sunday, one of my lovely students shared this poem, which she’d written Saturday night as a few women we were sitting together, putting down words.


Writing Retreat

By Heidi Fettig Parton

We are not a sisterhood of the traveling pants,

not a knitting circle nor a council

of wise ones. We’re not even a book club,

though we do read together—at times.


We are a half dozen women

sitting together in a shared

and respectful silence.

With but mere presence

we create this sacred space

for the puzzling together of pasts,

sighing our way along,

letter by letter, towards

the points of greatest attention.

There, we string together words,

like sparkling beads,

making beautiful sentences;

these flowing gorges,

that cut meaning

from the stories of our lives.


See how we sit together here,

in an oblong circle,

on the lodge furniture

in front of an unlit fire,

our computers on our laps.


See how we sit together here,

in this community of solitude,

accompanied by the brilliant

May evening night sounds

of mating frogs,

chippering birds, and the

deep voice of a singing wind chime.


See how we sit together here,

writing, writing, the far away;

pulling it in close.


Thank you for letting me share this, Heidi! (It’s cross-posted on Heidi’s blog.)

My next retreat is at Madeline Island School of the Arts, July 5 – 10. Come join in this incredible community of women writers!

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Sue LeBreton on May 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing Heidi. The two of Kate’s retreat that I attended were so healing and motivating, simply magic.

    • Kate on May 21, 2015 at 7:43 am

      Thank you, Sue! I’m going to miss you and your wonderful writing so much this summer. Next year! xo

  2. Angie Mizzell on May 21, 2015 at 8:04 am

    So lovely!! I have missed my time away from my personal writing… I think the space was needed but I’m ready for my slow return this summer.

    • Kate on May 21, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Yes, Angie! I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  3. Suzi Banks Baum on May 21, 2015 at 11:04 am

    What a beautiful capture of a familiar potent moment.
    I can hear the frogs!
    Kate, you foster such a rich environment.
    I look forward to the day we write together.


    • Kate on May 21, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Oh Suzi, that would be so amazing! xoxo