Melanie Bishop


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Countdown to Release of Nature Love Medicine: Three More Days!

Highly recommend this book!
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Honored to have an essay on loss and grief in this important anthology. Each day leading up to publication date, the editor Tom Fleischner features one author/essay on the book’s FB page. My essay is featured today, 3 days till release.
Here are three excerpts from “In the Form of Birds.”
1.
The movement gets larger and has a sound. Birdlike and big, it quickly overwhelms the small room. Still, I don’t feel wide awake, don’t get up, turn on the light, do any of what you might normally do hearing something strange in your room at night. Whatever level of consciousness I inhabit, I know that the movement is my father, shown up in the form he was able to. 
2.
Consulting my bird book now, I see that the new birds I listed that summer were the Western Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Canyon Towhee, Plain Titmouse, Phainopepla, Black-headed Grosbeak and Northern Flicker. The journal I kept reveals this note: If the bird isn’t my father, the fact that I’m even noticing him, paying attention, is my father’s influence, so isn’t that the same thing? Doesn’t matter if the winged visits from my father can be verified; doesn’t matter if they are real or imagined. What matters is this bird love is something he gave me.
3.
It was a harsh grief for me, incomprehensible pain. I thought that having been through the loss of my father, when the time came for my mother to leave, I would do grief well, like someone who’s practiced. Instead, I was a wreck. This grief was an entirely different beast.
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Reading from “In the Form of Birds” at Peregrine Book Company.

Excited to participate in the launch of this important anthology: Nature Love Medicine: Essays on Wildness and Wellness, (Torrey House Press) edited by Tom Fleischner. Thanks, Tom, for including “In the Form of Birds” in the book.

Peregrine’s event included readings by Tom Fleischner, Editor, and by fellow contributor, Edie Dillon. Book’s official release date is Nov. 14th. 

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Photo credit: Ted Bouras.


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New in 2017: Lexi Retreats in Prescott, Arizona

Last October, Lexi hosted our first Write & Play retreat in Prescott, Arizona. Nicknamed “Everybody’s Hometown,” “The Mile-High City,” and “Arizona’s Christmas City,” Prescott is known for its comfortable climate, natural beauty, tree-lined town square, clean air, and small-town charm. Surrounded by National Forests, Prescott’s hiking and biking opportunities are plentiful and close to town. Lodging and food costs are very reasonable.

 

Here’s what Andi, a poet from Massachusetts, had to say after her four-day Write & Play in Prescott retreat. Andi was working on essays and memoir.

Let’s start with location: Prescott, Arizona is the real deal – an old western cowboy town whose pioneer spirit and rustic nature (not to mention famous Christmas lights!) have attracted writers for decades. It’s steeped in western folklore: think Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. It’s the wild west in the 21st century, equal parts untamed and cultured. Which means that after you mosey past the old frontier saloon you can work on your latest draft over a locally-sourced, micro-roasted café latte. In a coffeehouse overlooking a body of water called Granite Creek. The main drag downtown is called Whiskey Row: seriously, what are you waiting for?

All the ambiance in the world though, doesn’t mean a lot on a writing retreat without a great guide (teacher, leader, etc.).  Personally, I look for an insightful, intelligent writer who knows pretty much every one of my hesitations, fears, excuses, writerly joys and heartaches because she’s experienced them herself.

Wisdom is hard-won in the writing world: you know this.  Do you want someone with credentials? Yes, ok, Melanie has those in spades. Many people do. What she offers that not many others do is this: keen insight, intuition, compassion, hard truths, empathy, new ways of seeing your work, and of opening possibilities. What this retreat offers is Melanie’s own brand of wisdom – and it works.

A Lexi retreat isn’t about lolling on a beach while your journal gets margarita stains, or strolling Italian vineyards with a hopeful pocket notebook (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). It’s not about hobnobbing, networking, or schmoozing. It’s about giving yourself a focused few days or week or however much time you crave where the focus is you & your writing. And about giving yourself a generous, talented guide.

These are the reasons you go, the reasons you read and sit still and listen. From afar, such a time can appear to be a luxury, especially in these tumultuous times, when the world can feel like it’s unraveling before our eyes, and there is so much work to do.  And yet, you’re a writer. This is your work. It’s time to get started.    –Andi Werblin

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Andi Werblin is the author of two books of poems, Lullaby for One Fist (Wesleyan University Press) and Sunday with the Sound Turned Off (Lost Horse Press). She works as a freelance creative director in the Boston area. Orange is her favorite color.