Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, is a poet, writer, and founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College who writes poetry, fiction, memoirs, and songs. She offers workshops and writing coaching, and roams the prairies as a visiting scholar. She's pictured here with her administrative assistant, Shay.

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Read Caryn's Words in Everyday Magic, her blog, essays and interviews, and books of poetry, fiction, memoir, and anthologies.

Coach with Caryn: Caryn offers coaching on writing, the writing life, and right livelihood, and finishing your book.

Create Your Own Right Livelihood Through the Arts

Check out the Transformative Language Arts Network's Right Livelihood Professional Training with Laura Packer and Caryn, July - Oct., 2019.

Write With Caryn: Attend a workshop, online class, or "A Leap Forward Workshop."

Come to an Event: Come to a talk or reading around and beyond the Midwest, including Osher Institute and Humanities Kansas events.

Bring Caryn to Your Community: Have Caryn present a workshop, talk, reading, or collaborative event in your community.

Find Your Brave Voice: Join Kelley Hunt and Caryn for Brave Voice: Writing & Singing for Your Life retreats.

Catch Caryn's Newsletter: Read The Writing Life for a monthly writing prompt, and news.

Getting Through February (the Longest Month): Everyday Magic, Day 965

A moment yesterday (big round thing is rain barrel we’re repairing). Note approaching deer.

As life has repeatedly, February is the longest month. Maybe it’s the overwrought repetition of cold, ice, and snow after months of winter. Maybe it’s the shy hints of spring to come — often snow drops before they get snowed under, or days like Thursday, when Harriet and I walked unfettered by heavy coats andg ear in 55 degrees — before the heavy hand of the winter storm warmings land again. Maybe it’s more personal because this is the month when my beloved father-in-law died (10 years ago as of the 10th) as well as my dear friends Weedle and Hadassah died during the shortest month that is anything but short.

Yesterday it snowed, enough so that much of my area of the country was closed to all but those intrepid drivers who ventured out while the accident blotters grew.  Tonight, maybe some freezing rain. Tuesday, more snow. Our local school district has now had so many snow days that even the teachers I know are jonesing to get back into the classroom.

But it’s not just snow and ice flying around in single-digit winds. February is often when I see the most winter birds, having tried of thrashing against winter enough to just watch the bird feeders and Cottonwood Mel fill with juncos, black-capped chickadees, cardinals, bluejays, flickers, red-bellied woodpeckers, cedar waxwings, and usually at some point soon, bluebirds. Squirrels stand on the deck railing, ferreting out the leftover black sunflower seeds. The deer bravely slink across the field to surround the bird feeder too while we hold the anxious-to-protect-us-from-them dog by his collar and tell him to chill out. Yesterday, in the middle of the whirling snow, it looked like a scene from Snow White outside our living room window while beef stew made its way to perfection in the crockpot and I whipped up a batch of applesauce muffins.

As the first February in 23 years that I’m not spending half the month at Goddard at a residency (on unpaid leave this semester), my view is uninterrupted (although Vermont does February seriously). When the sun returns, like right now pouring over my typing fingers as I watch a chickadee hop across the snowy deck, I forget the length and weight of February. Instead, I see how much there is to be with right now. Spring will come, but here is the continual flight of winter wrapping us in its surprises and surrenders.

Big Picture Days and Little Animal Moments: Everyday Magic, Day 964

I am watching a happy squirrel make his way through the birdseed buffet I poured along our deck railing, his tail in full fluff as he bends to gingerly pick up another black oil sunflower seed. Meanwhile, the snow around the legs of the chair melts slowly, the dog snores, and the cat takes in the big-picture field and sky.  It's an oasis moment in the middle of big picture days: stretches of long conversations with myself and others about how my work is evolving, where I feel led, and how I can discover more about the metaphoric wells in [...] Read More

There But for Grace: Everyday Magic, Day 963

Forest a few months ago with his Aunt Linda Eighteen years ago, we almost lost our youngest son Forest in a car accident involving black ice, three kids and me in a van, and the only spot on the road that led to a deep ditch. Our van plunged, flipped and spun around, ejecting five-year-old Forest through the broken window to land about ten feet away. He was unconscious, his jaw  broken in multiple place, and his brain bleeding in three spots. But through superb and swift medical care (including being life-flighted to Children's Mercy Hospital [...] Read More

In Praise of Mary Oliver: Everyday Magic, Day 962

"I started early -- took my dog" begins an Emily Dickinson poem that speaks to Mary Oliver's generous life and poetry. She loved her dogs, getting outside early to wander  for hours ("Tell me, what else should I have done?" she writes) and, along the way, inviting countless people to  love poetry early, or at least earlier than never. Oliver's writing is a gateway drug to poetry, gently and fiercely cajoling would-be readers into the wilds of the shining earth and living poem. I can't remember when I first encountered Oliver's poetry, but I know this: it wasn't when I [...] Read More

Looking for Patterns and Finding Them Everywhere: Everyday Magic, Day 961

A Mount St. Helens Vista When Ken and I went to Mount St. Helens with friends several years ago, I was dazzled by the patterned forests full of checkerboard green across green. Ken explained that this pattern, so unlike all other mountains of forests I've ever seen, was because all the trees were the same age, starting anew together after the volcano blasted all this land clear and bare. I'm a pattern-hunter, watching, tallying, and seeking to understand patterns that come through my life. This particularly appeals to me when happy things tumble together, like in [...] Read More

Upcoming Events

February 15, 2019 - 9:30am
Matt Ross Community Center, 8101 Marty
Overland Park, KS
March 14, 2019 -
Hutchinson Community College
Hutchinson, Kansas
March 21, 2019 -
Emporia State University
Emporia, KS
March 29, 2019 - 8:00pm
Temple Sha'arey Shalom, 78 South Springfield Ave
Springfield, N.J.
April 13, 2019 - 10:00am
Private home near Lawrence, KS (directions will be sent to you)
Lawrence, KS
May 19, 2019 -
May 24, 2019
White Memorial Camp
Council Grove, Kansas
April 16, 2019 - 2:00pm
Eudora Senior Center, 706 Main St
Eudora, KS
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