Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.




Near Big Sur, Coast of California on Highway 1
Photo by Elizabeth Munroz

with Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux, and Joseph Millar
August 4 - 9, 2013
Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

There is a world inside each of us that we know better than anything else, and a world outside of us that calls for our attention. Our subject matter is always right with us. The trick is to find out what we know, challenge what we know, own what we know, and then give it away in language. Mainly this will be a writing retreat—time to explore and create in a supportive community. Though we’ll focus on poetry, prose writers who want to enrich their language will find it a fertile environment. For more information, click here.

September 28 - October 5, 2013
La Serrania, Mallorca, Spain
In this small, intimate workshop, you have the opportunity to create writing that is more vivid, more true, more complex and powerful than you've been able to do before. This will be my seventh year teaching at La Serrania and it's always a deep pleasure to return. La Serrania is remote, gorgeous, and inspiring. If you'd like a chance to sink deeply into your writing, enjoy delicious food, go to sleep in a simple, yet elegant room, wake to sheep bells, this is the place. For more information,click here. For information about La Serrania, visit www.laserrania.com. To register, contact La Serrania. If you have questions, you can email me.


How to Make Mistakes?

"We have all heard the forlorn refrain: "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!" This phrase has come to stand for the rueful reflection of an idiot, a sign of stupidity, but in fact we should appreciate it as a pillar of wisdom. Any being, any agent, who can truly say: "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!" is standing on the threshold of brilliance. We human beings pride ourselves on our intelligence, and one of its hallmarks is that we can remember our previous thinking and reflect on it – on how it seemed, on why it was tempting in the first place and then about what went wrong.

I know of no evidence to suggest that any other species on the planet can actually think this thought. If they could, they would be almost as smart as we are. So when you make a mistake, you should learn to take a deep breath, grit your teeth and then examine your own recollections of the mistake as ruthlessly and as dispassionately as you can manage. It's not easy. The natural human reaction to making a mistake is embarrassment and anger (we are never angrier than when we are angry at ourselves) and you have to work hard to overcome these emotional reactions.

Try to acquire the weird practice of savouring your mistakes, delighting in uncovering the strange quirks that led you astray. Then, once you have sucked out all the goodness to be gained from having made them, you can cheerfully set them behind you and go on to the next big opportunity. But that is not enough: you should actively seek out opportunities just so you can then recover from them."
Cognitive scientist and philosopher Daniel Dennett is one of America's foremost thinkers. In this extract from his new book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, he reveals some of the lessons life has taught him

Mellow Yellow is the New Uptown Brown!

Lemony Lemon Brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs, large
2 tbsps lemon zest
2 tbsps lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the tart lemon glaze:
4 tbsps lemon juice
8 tsps lemon zest
1 cup icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

3. Zest and juice two lemons and set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined.

6. Pour it into the flour mixture and beat for 2 mins at medium speed until smooth and creamy.

7. Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 mins, should turn golden around the edges.

8. Allow to cool completely before glazing. Do not overbake, or the bars will dry.

9. Filter the powdered sugar and whisk with lemon zest and juice.

10. Spread the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula and let glaze set.

11. Cut into bars and serve.


I'm not sure of the original source for this recipe. It was posted on a friend's facebook. But, I love lemon! So, I'm sharing this.


To the Children of My Heart

An open letter to my "Heart Children"

Dear Ones,

I've adopted you over the years as my special Heart Child. (or maybe you adopted me) Perhaps it is because you have no mother, or have an estranged mother, or have had to develop your own "inner mother". Perhaps you have a perfectly wonderful Mom, and I'm happy for you because of that.

Perhaps you walked into my life alongside one of my own Birth-Given Children, and my heart was captured by you because you brought joy to my child. Perhaps you and I are still in touch even though the old ties with my son or daughter are gone. Or you both may have gone your own ways as your life paths diverged. Perhaps you are no longer in my life either. Whatever the reasons, it doesn't matter. You are still a child of my heart.

You've shared your life and loves with me. It pleases me when you have joy. My heart aches when you are discouraged. Sometimes you've turned to me for guidance. Sometimes you've given me guidance. Though we have this special friendship, it is not always expressed. It is understood. But, I sure do love it when you refer to me as your "other mother".

You know I love my Birth-Given Children more than the world itself. They are my heart and soul. But, Dear Ones, there is room in my heart for you, too. I'm sending you my best wishes and love today wherever you are.