Connection as magnificent and treacherous wilderness

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I went backpacking over the weekend. And while that’s a story for another day, we encountered the ruins of an old train station built specifically to serve the Nehasane/Forest Lodge (a private estate on Lake Lila in the Adirondacks that was demolished decades ago). The history of the Lodge is pretty interesting (see pp. 20-31 here), but what’s sticking with me post-hike is what’s left: the tracks, the station and a few poles presumably for electricity. It has me thinking about how we’re connected to one another and to wilderness… and how being connected to one another is its own magnificent — and treacherous — wilderness.

Considering that kind of wilderness isn’t new for me. In fact, it’s primarily what I write about (likely what we all write about). But the tracks and poles reminded me of the networks themselves: the lengths we go to, what’s kept, what’s abandoned. Writing-wise, this blog (including prior iterations) has been a huge part of how I’ve connected with fellow writers and Internet friends of all kinds. Most of the energy around that kind of networking moved to social media long ago, but many of us kept our blogs.

I go in and out of mine, but one thing I learn over and over again is that it helps my writing practice. For whatever reason, even though it takes time, blogging sits like an angel on my shoulder: an extra set of eyes, another pair of ears, a reminder that there are poems and essays to write, the encouragement to sit down and write them. It’s a version of my own voice, of course, but the heightened awareness is helpful. I miss it when it’s not there.

For lots of writers, November is National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO). Once upon a time, November was also National Blog Posting Month (NABLOPOMO), and many poets — wanting *another* month to rapid fire new work — have used November for poem-a-day (PAD). For me this year, November is going to be a kind of Alt-NANOWRIMO. Thanks to a serendipitous email from an old connection from my early blogging days, I was invited to participate in a group that’s using NANOWRIMO to support each other’s writing projects (whatever they may be).

Here’s mine: My purpose this month is to tend to my blog, which is the BFF to my writing practice. I will not publish a blog post every day, but I’ll *work* on a post each day (progress!) and aim for at least 10 new posts in November. I’m also committing to continuing my short daily free write (13 minutes) which I use to spark new poems.

And here’s the really important part –> For months, I’ve been placing writing on my list of obligations and suffering the usual self hatred when I fail to get it done. And so this November is about a different approach: allowing myself to be a writer tapping into her love for and wonder at the *impulse* to write.


  1. Good for you. I hate letting my blog sit too long, but then I do. That’s something I want to change because it has been so critical to (I think) my best writing, but it’s an odd shame how it’s come to feel a bit anachronistic like wearing a wristwatch.

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