Friday, June 11, 2010

New Website!

I am now blogging at at my new website. Archives of this blog can be found there. Thanks! ~Kimberly

Monday, July 20, 2009

Updates on A Writing Retreat, and Starting Goodbye Hugs

I am sitting drinking a glass of port at Mackaye Harbor Inn, a Georgian style bed and breakfast on Lopez island. I first stayed at this B&B when I was 13. I last stayed here when I was 22, right before my senior year of college. I now sit here about 2 weeks away from moving across the country to Connecticut, hoping I will get to come back and stay a night again one day. B&B's have always been to me the height of traveler's delight: fancy pillows, chocolates and tea, all sorts of travelers to make friends with over breakfast. Growing up, we usually camped, but once every so often, we got to enjoy a B&B. Happy memories.

For this trip to Lopez I am actually staying in my usual spot—a little cabin Holly B. the baker owns. But, I was out for a drive tonight, listening to Patty Griffin and watching the light in the trees, and I happened to end up here at Mackaye Harbor Inn. I got out of my car and went down memory lane, peaking into the windows and such. The owner soon arrived on his bike, and he offered me a glass of port and said I could sit in his carriage house, which overlooks the water. So, here I sit.

I forgot my camera, or I would let you in on this view. The water is shimmering and the lone sailboat is elegant. A few people are finishing up kayaking for the day.

It's my last night on Lopez this summer and the conclusion of yet another writing retreat. My first such retreat was here 3 years ago, a retreat that actually helped me produce a story that ended up being my first published piece. It's good to reflect on the last several years and feel all the gratitude for a journey that proves ever mysterious, though grace-filled.

Today, it's been harder to focus on my writing, because I think I'm starting to really get it that I am saying goodbye to Seattle in less than 2 weeks now. These past few years have been a season of such exquisite community—so many people who taught me about love and kindness and joy and generosity. I am glad it is hard to leave, but the gratitude doesn't make the parting easier.

I am never good at endings, even the simple endings of regular moments in a day. I want to hug Seattle a 100 times before I leave. This particular technique is how we say goodbye in my family. Lots of hugs. You start the hugs about 20 minutes before you leave because there are ever so many rounds of them. So, I guess it's time to start my hugs....

At least at this point in my life, I've come to trust that there is a place prepared for me as I step ahead into the unknown. But, I hope life circles back; I hope there can be an integration of favorite people to come and the dear ones I will be saying goodbye to.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Classes for this Summer

Writing (and Living!) From Your Body 

~A seminar for writers, therapists, and entrepreneurs~

or anyone who wants to explore the value of mind/body connection in the work that they do

We don’t live in our bodies well.

Since at least the time of the Enlightenment, Western science and philosophy has privileged the “rational” mind over the feeling body. “I think therefore I am,” said Descartes, famously locating human existence—and the knowledge we gather of the world around us—solely in abstract mental processes. To Descartes and the ensuing rationalist legacy, trustworthy knowledge was not in a sensing, experiencing body, but rather in the “objective” mind somehow removed from the body.

And yet, in more and more postmodern disciplines (from psychotherapy to linguistics to feminist theory), we are seeing a resurrection of the “body as text”—the idea that the body actually houses a wellspring of knowledge about ourselves and our world. This class is space for you to consider the value of integrating “body knowledge” into traditional assumptions about how we come to know what we know. We will ask questions like:


·      In valuing the mind as apart from the body, and in defining reason as abstract and transcendent, how have we lost the concrete, incarnate nature of knowledge?

·      How has disconnection from our bodies affected our work? Our relationships? Our connection to our physical environment?

·      How could the practice of writing and journaling serve to reconnect us to “body knowledge?”


The class will both explore relevant theory from diverse discipline and offer practical techniques for living, writing, and creating a more embodied life.


Dates: Fridays, June 19 & 26, July 3, 10, & 17

Time: 9:30–11:00 a.m.

Location: 444 Ravenna Blvd., #309, Seattle, WA 98115

Instructor: Kimberly George

Cost: $125 for the 5-week course. $25 deposit will hold your registration. Class limited to the first 5 people who register. To register or receive more information, please email:


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fairy Dust, Walden Pond, and Yale Divinity School

My friend Elizabeth says I have fairy dust—meaning, that I seem to have a knack for sprinkling some magic in my life and making my dreams come true. Other people have said similar things: "Just how did you get that opportunity?" or, "It seems that one moment I hear about you setting a goal and the next I hear you've done it."

It's funny. I usually get a little defensive when these comments come my way, especially if the person saying them doesn't know my daily life. (Elizabeth, of course, has been there every step of the way these past several years. She totally understands the sweat and the tears that go into a fairy-dusted life, so she can say that!)

But, to those who don't see my daily challenges that come with dreaming my dreams, I often want to explain that I don't experience my life the way it may seem at a distance. My fairy dust comes at a cost. What looks like fairy dust is actually heaps of unrequited desire, hard work, and long periods with little feedback from the world that my life trajectory makes much sense. I mean, I am a young, unknown writer; for many hours a week, I sit alone at my computer, writing away for me, myself, and I. Meanwhile, the world doesn't really care. I don't get a paycheck. At the end of the day, I get a few more steps forward in the direction of my dreams.

And here's my life dream—it's fairly simply, really. I want to have my life set up in a way that I get to wake up every morning, have a cup of coffee, and write for 3-4 hours. Then, I want to teach for 3-4 hours. Then, I want evenings filled with good books, people I love, and lingering dinners. And in the midst of the writing, the teaching, the being, and the loving, I want to hope and labor for a more just world (equality between men and women, economic justice, care for our earth). There you have it. In the midst of all my ideals, I really just want a daily life filled with satisfying work, financial stability, community, and creativity.

Achieving all that is not easy...not at all easy. Just to afford to be a writer requires way more risk-taking and personal growth than I could have ever predicted, because it means on one hand I have to become a business woman, and on the other hand I have to be an artist. It is hard to develop my skills in both of those worlds.

Speaking of risk-taking, Elizabeth was beside me last summer when I determined I needed to figure out a way to go on a 3–4 week writing retreat in the fall. I knew that I needed to really enter the psychological space of my book and get about 10,000 words written and figure out what this whole 2-year project was really about. But, my dream felt silly. Who can take three weeks off work—the kind of work that pays one's bills (and yes, I do that kind of work, too)—to write a book that might never be anything but a manuscript in my drawer? On the one hand, the idea of the retreat felt so luxurious, and on the other hand, I was terrified. Three weeks of just writing? Three weeks of wrestling my inner critic? 

But, as it happened, Elizabeth and I went camping on Lopez Island last August, and I decided that Lopez was the place I simply had to be in fall of 2008 for my new imagined writing retreat.  I had pictured the details perfectly in my mind: the strawberry scones from Holly B's Bakery for breakfast, afternoon walks by the water for inspiration, long hours in the village library spent drafting my chapters. During the camping trip, I put up advertisements  ("Looking for Walden" was the title on my flyer). I chatted it up with the people at the local market. I even emailed churches and individuals all over the San Juans trying to find a reasonable place to rent anywhere in the islands. 

No one ever wrote me back, which is a curious thing in retrospect. Elizabeth says she is pretty sure angels were guarding the door.

I ended up going to Boston for that writing retreat (thanks to a surprisingly cheap plane ticket and Holly hooking me up with a lovely place to housesit). And before I left Seattle, I was unreasonably frightened. It did not feel easy at all to do this trip. If Lopez for 3 weeks felt crazy, flying across the country just to nurture my writing felt even crazier. 

While in Boston writing this book on gender and spirituality, I ended up spending one glorious day in a Harvard library doing research and looking at manuscripts of the feminists of the history books. I couldn't believe the resources available at an institution like that. Eventually, I had a few conversations that led me to look at the programs at Harvard Divinity School. I proceeded to fall head over heels for the classes they offer in gender studies.

But, as things go, I applied to another school, too: Yale Divinity School. Which was a good thing, because I didn't get into HDS, but YDS has been kind enough to offer me a full scholarship  in their gender studies program. So, I am overjoyed for where I get to be this fall, and's been an adjustment. There were reasons I wanted Harvard—there were classes there quite unique to my field of study that are really not the same at Yale. 

And yet...there is a reception and hospitality at Yale that is striking. And, more and more, I am finding new paths to explore at Yale that I am most excited about, like the focus on environmental issues at YDS that actually pairs brilliantly with gender studies. My path will look different at Yale—I know that—but I am getting more and more thrilled about the unknown that awaits me this fall.

All that to say,  it is always a curious thing when what you thought you wanted doesn't happen...and yet the gift you are being given is pregnant with so much possibility. Perhaps, our deepest desires are meanwhile being lived out, despite the doors that have stayed the midst of the surprising ones that are opening.

The other day, I was cleaning out my files on my desk, the antique, leather-topped one my dad bought me when I was 13 so that I could write "a great American novel" on it. While sorting through forgotten papers,  I found a crumpled up advertisement: "Looking for Walden," it read. "Young writer looking for a cabin to rent on Lopez Island...."

I gasped. 

But, I found Walden. The real one. 

While in Boston last fall, I had spent a morning walking Thoreau's Walden Pond, a small lake about 45 minutes outside of Boston. But I had never connected this walk to my original message to the universe....

My move to Connecticut this fall feels something like this—mysterious and inspiring and unpredictable— and deeply connected to the desires that have been gestating in me.

Thank you to those of you who have been part of this journey of getting me there. I am more and more convinced that dreams are born from supportive communities, for an individual cannot live her dreams alone. Achieving life goals takes hard work and lots and lots of love from family and friends...and I will concede, perhaps some fairy dust to mix with the love and the sweat.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Seminar for Artists and Writers

Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.

-- Helene Cixous (from "The Laugh of the Medusa")

Readers! I have posted information below on the 5-week writing class I will be teaching starting next Friday. I would love to have you join. Here is a summary of the course and the sign-up details you will need to know:

Title of Class: Writing From the Body

Course Content:
What does it mean to attend to the body when we write? When we read? How does reading one’s body open up the creative process? Most artists are already aware that their bodies are “texts”; however, since Western epistemology so strongly reinforces a mind-body split, one task of the artist is to be intentional about healing the schism. This seminar will delve into questions like:

• In valuing the mind as apart from the body, and in defining reason as abstract and transcendent, how have we lost the concrete, incarnate nature of knowledge?

• How has disconnection from our bodies impacted the manufacturing of inauthentic self-expression?

• How would “writing from the body” gift us with freedom?

• What is the role of caring well for the body in the life of the artist?

The seminar will both explore relevant theory from diverse disciplines (including relational psychology, feminism, literature, and linguistics) and offer practical techniques for creating embodied writing/art. While the seminar can serve as an aid to those specifically practicing creative writing, it is more broadly designed to be a class on the creative process itself and how to unlock artistic expression. People of all skill levels are invited to join.

Dates: Fridays, March 27, April 3, 10, 17, & 24
Time: 9:30-11:00 a.m.
Location: 444 Ravenna Blvd., #309, Seattle, WA 98115
Instructor: Kimberly George
Cost: $125 for the 5-week course ($25 per 1.5 hour session) due the first week of class. $25 deposit will hold your registration.

To register or receive more information, please email:
writeexpressions at gmail dot com (That's obviously the spam-proofed version of my email, so change it to the real thing when you write!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

5 Things.

1. With the aid of a daily dosage of antihistamines, I am falling in love with two dogs—Cali and Danali, who are roommates of mine in my new home. I have never gotten along with dogs, and not because I am an unkind person, but rather because their dander makes me miserable. But, I seem to have found the right combination: medication that works, and two dogs who are great at keeping me company, but who understand that I can’t cuddle with them. On rare days, I let myself pet them, but that is dangerous territory. Usually, I just talk to them a lot and remind them not too feel rejected even thought I can’t touch them. I really like, though, how Cali just puts her nose on my lap when I write, and Danali just flops beside us looking sagely. Dogs are great company for a writer.

2. Soon, I will know my fate for next fall. If I don’t get into school, then I need to come up with a great plan to travel the world or something. Actually, England keeps popping to mind…perhaps I could live in Bath or London…or work on a farm somewhere in Ireland…or a vineyard in Italy…or…hmmm…just trying to remind myself that the world is vast. (However, just so the Universe doesn’t get confused here…my openness to possibilities doesn’t mean I don’t most desire to be in academia again, amidst great classes and conversation and resources for the topics that most excite me….) I will find out the answer from the Universe, or rather the answer from admissions teams, on March 15.

3. I need Spring to come. In more ways than one. Daily, I check the little patch of crocuses in the front lawn…they are mentoring me. They know when to be still as little seeds. They know when to follow the sunshine. They know when to offer their bold expression to the world. Rest, patience, tenderness, strength, beauty. This is what I am learning under their tutelage.

4. My friends are all preparing to graduate this May from their counseling psychology program, which would have been my degree if I had not decided to pull out of school, delve into my book project, and research a new school. It is always interesting…that road not taken. I am glad life has so many choices. I seem to get to know myself better with each new choice I make. And while I have never regretted not completing that Masters program, it is an odd juxtaposition these days as I wait to hear back from schools.

5. I have fallen for all things lavender. If you want to delight me, you can send me lavender salad dressing or shampoo or lip balm or ice-cream. Yes, lavender ice-cream. It’s delicious. Like anything in life that I get excited about, I tend to over-do it. I am trying to pace myself with my lavender love, but it does often seem that the fun is in not practicing moderation, but simply plunging in.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Re-thinking Today's Verbs

I read an article today about one of the best violinists in the world, Joshua Bell, playing musical masterpieces on a 3.5 million dollar instrument at a metro station in Washington D.C, while hundreds passed by oblivious.

The article explains, “No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?”

The answer, in a nutshell, was no. Joshua Bell got a few nods and some spare change.

Arguably there are many reasons for a thousand people to walk by and hardly notice brilliance. We are busy. We are late for work. We are out of a context to recognize genius. We are inundated with requests for our time and our money. Our eyes our weary, spending their days bouncing back and forth between inboxes, bank accounts, Facebook pages. Our ears have grown deaf to the chatters and hums and beats that mark the monotonous rhythms of the afternoon. Our thoughts are obsessing, calculating, and getting lost in our unspoken griefs or hopes or plans.

We are, as T.S. Eliot reminds us in Burnt Norton, “distracted from distraction by distraction.” Many of our “distractions” our entirely necessary and good: bills certainly need to be paid, emails need to be written, grief needs to be grieved, hopes need to be dreamed up, stored up, pondered.

And yet this article still made something explode inside me, even if I know full well why hundreds of people ignored Joshua Bell. I just know that I don’t want to live my life ignoring beauty. I don’t want to not see the “trees with the lights in it,” as Annie Dillard writes. 

Somehow, as I have gotten older, my brain has gotten re-wired more for to-do lists than rest; more for frenzy than presence. I want to remember how to take a walk and notice the sky and the air; observe the murmurs of life; see that whimsical boy delighting in bugs on the sidewalk.

After I read this article today, I looked up at my day’s to-do list, which I hang every morning on my dining room wall. In a blue Sketchers marker, its notes remind me to read, teach, write, call, email, plan, pack….Perhaps the list needs a few more verbs.

Listen. Notice. Receive.