Tag Archives: Women Writing

A Quilt, A Novel, A Field

AJ Quilt Indigo Field

Thomas Wolfe wrote,

“. . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door;”

in his seminal novel Look Homeward, Angel. I was inspired in part by Wolfe’s incandescent sense of place to write my first novel, about a Field. A Field so full of layers of history and mystery, plants and animals, people and hauntings, that it shimmers with life.

Over the many years of drafting, my talented friend AJ Coutu has been listening to my frustrations, my wine-infused rhapsodies, my struggles and triumphs on the page. We go on regular retreats together, where I tear out my hair and write, and she calmly quilts, draws, makes other kinds of art.

This week she surprised me with a quilt.

A quilt so full of life, it shimmers. A quilt that spookily tells the story of my Field, though AJ has never read my book in whole, only parts. Gorgeous images, a fish that is a rainbow, a wild woman dancing, suns and stars, patterns and squares, gros-grain ribbon that could be just the thing to mark a passage in the Bible, and spirits loose in the land. My heart is full. I will sleep under this quilt and dream. I will dream that this novel will somehow get loose in the world. And AJ can finally read it.

The marvelous fabric designer who created the center panel is Laurel Burch, an extraordinary California artist who died in 2007. Her inspiring life story is here. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Writing Workshop at Meredith

ImageA summer writing workshop is the dreamy creative home for every aspiring writer. Lord knows I’ve been to many of them. I’ll go to many more. But something has changed in my writing life. Now I teach them too. For the first time this year, I’ll be teaching at Meredith College’s summer writing workshops, June 23 – 27, 9-3,  a kind of day camp for women writers. I’ve just visited the campus for the first time, and it’s so lovely it’s like living in a Mid-summer Night’s Dream of a women’s college, with rolling lawns, riotous gardens, and big trees. The day I went was the day before graduation and the young seniors were floating around campus dressed in dreamy white dresses – a Meredith tradition. You don’t have to wear a white dress to come to my workshop, though I remember one summer writing workshop with a slim dashing poet teacher who wore a black eye-patch like a pirate. By the end of the workshop, all the women attending were wearing white flowy dresses like pirate’s wenches.

  • For more information about next year’s Meredith College summer workshops, contact Ashley Hogan at hogana@meredith.edu.