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Evergreen of the Mind

A seasonal offering to sustain creative folks year round

Enrollment opens September 2022.

Image by Irina Iriser

Some people might laugh or shake their heads at this title. 

 

Evergreen of the mind.

 

They might say, just say obsession.

 

Just say interest.

 

Why make it so...frustratingly specific?

Well, because with everything in my work, my own interest is specific.

 

And there is something special about evergreen trees. Their presence burns bright in my mind, and never diminishes. Horticulturists and arborists might nod and say, well of course: the defining feature of the evergreen is that they remain green. They stay vivid as things around them dull and drop. 

For that reason, I think the evergreen is a good way to talk about persistent fascinations.

By persistent fascinations, I mean the creative themes and threads that always want to make their way into our work.

The ideas that make our creative minds what they are.

The thing that burns bright when we read a story or hear a poem or look at a painting or digital image, and we feel a thud of relief and thrill, knowing that someone else shares our fascination, and was fascinated enough that they committed it to paper or canvas or pixel.

If you've read this far and are having trouble identifying what your persistent fascinations--your evergreens--might be, try this:

 

Imagine you're at a party. It's a little bit boring--a lot of small talk, no one you know well enough to really have a conversation. You look around, wonder if it's too early to leave. Condensation from your drink has soaked through the cocktail napkin in your hand. It's been long enough, right?

As you go into the other room to look for your coat, you overhear a conversation. And it stops you in your tracks. Two people in the other room are talking about the thing YOU think about all the time. The thing that lives in the back of your mind and creative life. And here they are, talking about it in the open. Suddenly, you don't even feel the wet cocktail napkin in your hand. You've forgotten about getting your coat. You hover, maybe float, over to the two people talking, and forget about decorum, you just cut in. "Right?" they say. And you're swept up in it together. 

Whatever THAT conversation is about, that is your persistent fascination. Or, it's one of them. Most people have a few. 

I'll tell you some of my persistent fascinations. One is memory, and how time can splice around you if you are a person who dwells in memory.
 

Over my life, different birds have also fascinated me. They tend to make their way into my creative writing, even when I don't intend it. Kingfishers, owls, snow buntings, and other winged creatures have all assembled to help me tell stories. 

A third persistent fascination is the complexity of platonic relationships, particularly those that are rich in intimacy. I am always thinking about this when I write characters, and of course, I'm always thinking about it in life too.

But, truthfully, it does not matter what my persistent fascinations are.

 

For our purposes, right now, it does not even matter what your partner or child or writing partner or studio buddy's persistent fascinations are.

 

All that matters is your persistent fascinations.

Because your persistent fascinations, your evergreens, are what's going to fuel you in the dark. When all is quiet and the page or canvas is not just blank, but is scorched with erasing and deleting and nothing being right. When you are in the middle of a project that you deeply care--or cared-- about and you realize you're at the bottom of the well with seemingly no rope, no bell to ring.
 
No ideas. 

 

It's then that the evergreen shakes the snow from its bough and says, look, I'm here. I've always been here. 

NOVEMBER

What is evergreen in your mind?

What do your boughs reach toward?

What are the creative threads and themes that continually surface for you? Whether they are the focus of your current projects or not, what ideas stay green in your mind, continually captivating your interest or showing up where you least expect them? 

 

In November, we'll focus on identifying the evergreens in your creative life. Then, we'll determine where these ideas belong.

November's structure:

Week 1: 60-minute Alongside Session 

Week 2: Curiosity Exercises (you'll receive a message from me every weekday, and 4 exercises total) 

Week 3: Pause or go slow

Week 4: Reflection Exercises (you'll receive a message from me every other weekday, and 3 exercises total)

DECEMBER 

 

What is your soil and sunlight?

What is your shade and shadow?

December's structure:

Week 1: 60-minute Alongside Session 

Week 2: Curiosity Exercises

Week 3: Pause or go slow

Week 4: Reflection Exercises 

JANUARY

Who (or what) is your forest? An evergreen is rarely alone. 

January's structure:

Week 1: Pause or go slow

Week 2: Curiosity Exercises

Week 3: 60-minute Alongside Session

Week 4: Reflection Exercises 

 

PRICING

This offering is available at a sliding scale with the accessibility price reserved for people who are most harmed by systems and oppression, including Black folks, Indigenous folks, non-black people of color, disabled folks, and folks who are LGBTQIA+. Please feel very welcome to join the offering at this tier.

The reduced price is for anyone who may be on a budget. 

The standard price is for folks who are financially able. 

Accessibility price: $333

Reduced price: $444

Standard price: $555

Payment plans are available for all tiers. If you are limited financially by the options above but would like to enroll, please do not hesitate to reach out to me to arrange something. I believe that access to art is vitally important for our future existence.

Enrollment opens September 2022. Sign up to get notified. 

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