Bella the Cat

Too much laundry in the laundry basket, not enough cat room. Bella took care of that.


Twentieth Saturday, eight days late

Purple-hulled tugboat —
White wheelhouse, white frothy wake —
Rides on pale river.

Bagpipes, drums on pier,
Robins, chickadees, in trees,
Drowning out traffic.

Sailboats inching north.
Hard-nosed ferry plowing south.
Cormorant fishing.


Horses, too

The Cedar Valley Retreat Center has rolling grounds, many outdoor spaces for sitting and thinking, hills to climb, woods to stroll through, plus of course a couple of buildings for residence, meetings and classes. The place has another mission, too, carried out in a few buildings and fields at the front of the property. Besides hosting retreats like the the Wisconsin Writers’ Association Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp, they also do horse rescue. The first year I was here a couple of retired goats were also in residence, and their climbing structure remains though they seem to be gone. But at least two horses are living out their twilight years here. One of them plodded out of the barn yesterday to post picturesquely for both a long shot and a close-up.



Chapel on the hill

Cedar Valley Retreat Center, where I’m teaching right now, is a non-denominational (but Christian-leaning) religious retreat a group like this one can rent. One of the buildings on the grounds is a chapel. This is its interior in the morning light.


I Love New York

Although currently in Wisconsin, I could not resist letting you in on this. And I don’t want to see them becoming the butt of jokes.

I love New York.

Well, it is Wisconsin


The pond at the edge of the 100-acre wood

The Wisconsin Writers’ Association Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp, where I’m Writer-in-Residence, is held at the Cedar Valley Retreat Center. 100 acres of woods and streams surround the buildings, which include the main building where the guest rooms and classes are held, a larger meeting house, a chapel, and a small screened outdoor room. Here’s the pond, where a pair of killdeer are nesting on shore and the trees are full of tweeting, chirping, chipping, and singing. A certain amount of honking and quacking can also be heard.


Teaching in Wisconsin

Spending a week at the the Wisconsin Writers’ Association Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp. Thought you’d like to see my office.


Old friends

Nothing like them. Teaching this week in West Bend, Wisconsin, at the Wisconsin Writers’ Association Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp (like bootcamp for books, get it?). Took advantage of the trip to come a day early, do some birding this morning (sandhill cranes!) and get together last night for dinner with some people I’ve known for many years and see too seldom. Here we are:

Gary Niebuhr, me, Al Abramson, Maggie Ley, Ted Hertel. Photo by Denise Niebuhr, who didn’t want to be seen with us anyway. Dinner was yummy — Ted and I had a wine called 19 Crimes — but really, a sandwich and a cup of coffee would have been fine, in that company.


I Love New York

Duke Riley, an artist, has trained 2,000 pigeons to fly with lights on their ankles (did you know pigeons had ankles?) as an art event at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Click on the link; it’s very cool. I love New York.