KATE’S GO FUND ME DRIVE IS A SMASHING SUCCESS! THANKS TO ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED! Now for Haven to hold her muse!
Do you ever meet a young person and think:
That’s me. Decades ago. I can see their heart and their passion and the very real struggle ahead of them. And I know an excellent cure!
And then you reflect on your life:
It took me until now to find it– it took me years and years of brutal searching and suffering. If only they would do this one thing NOW, instead of wait… How can I save them that long slog? How can I watch them struggle when I know there’s a solution right in front of them? And why does it have to come down to money?
Years ago, I served as a local judge for a national student’s writing contest here in Whitefish, Montana. Year after year, from elementary school to middle school, and finally high school…there was one writer whose work leapt off the page and into my heart. The authors’ names were kept secret, but I couldn’t help but open her entry, read a few sentences, and think, I bet that’s her again. I can hear her voice. It’s growing and getting better. Good for her! As much as I considered all of the entrants, she was the winner. She had to be. She was that good.
I yearned to mentor her, yet I had to remain anonymous. Still I’d go to the award ceremonies and privately cheer her on, just to see her in body, not only muse. She truly shone– a town golden girl. Eventually, I heard that she’d been one of the rare ones who’d gone off to the Ivies back East. They, I’m sure, courted and cajoled her, and I wondered if she’d forget about her writing once she got to the land of such spit and shine. I knew full well what that life inspires. I’d lived it. And I’d left it because I knew that if I stayed in that world, I’d never be true to my muse. And I’d probably never be successful by society’s standards, either. Still…I had to heed the call, and to do so, I headed west– found myself in the very town she’d eventually launch from. Mostly, I wondered if she’d forget her muse and her Montana and give herself to all of those brass rings.
And then one night this spring, I went to our local Whitefish Review launch to hear one of my favorite all time writers (and friend) David James Duncan speak, walked in to the venue, and there on a stool, reading with poise and passion…was…
…I met author Laura Munson, officially, at Casey’s Bar in Whitefish, Montana several weeks ago. We were at a release party for The Whitefish Review, a reputable journal based in Whitefish. I’d been accepted for publication and was reading part of my story. After shakily sharing my words with the crowd, Laura embraced me. “I’ve read your work since the beginning,” she said. She’d been the secret judge of all of those writing contests, the ones I entered every year as a child. “Here you are.”
There I was. After the reading, Laura and I kept in touch. She shared her story. She validated mine. Her Haven retreats, nationally known and highly respected, emerge from her own story of the pursuit of words, one that feels similar to mine. Laura herself gave up the hallmarks of the east, the shininess of ambition, to come to Whitefish and write. Her retreats scrutinize what is powerful; they encourage conviction. They work mindfully and rigorously through the art of retreating within, and telling a story, and sharing one’s particular voice.
When she suggested that I attend her retreat in June, I felt honored. I felt once again, for the thousandth time, that curious emotion of surprise: “If I was still in New York….” I said I would come. But I had no idea how…
It was true. Kate had stopped writing. And then the shininess became un-shiny, and after enduring an abusive relationship, she bravely returned to her roots, this time in another small, vibrant Montana town. I am thrilled to say that she is writing her first book about…you guessed it: Montana. Needless to say…I want her at Haven. It is exactly what she needs. I know it the way I knew her muse all those years ago. Haven would be the very thing to set her up emotionally, psychologically, craft-wise, and project-wise to have the writing support, mentorship, and community that she deserves. I am holding a space for her in June, but it comes down to cost. The Haven Foundation has given her a substantial scholarship, and now she needs help raising the rest of her tuition. No one likes to ask for money, and she is the last one to even consider it. I have encouraged her to start a crowd-funding campaign on Go Fund Me. Please…if you have ever looked a young person in the eyes and thought…I am she/he…consider donating whatever feels right, to her cause.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, (and Kate’s too),
To donate to Kate’s fund, click here!
To donate to future scholarship funds for Haven Writing Retreat attendees, contact Laura@lauramunsonauthor.com
The Haven Writing Retreat 2017 Schedule:
June 7-11 (one space left)
June 21-25 (one space left)
For more info, and to set up a call with the Haven Team, click here!
Also, I’d like to use this page as a forum in the comments section: if there is any young person you know who is raising funds for their dreams to come true, add them there, and hopefully we can be the village to help our next generation bloom into their wildest dreams.