Tag Archives: Whitefish

Montana Writing Retreat Registration is Open!

 

Glacier National Park

Montana Writing Retreat

 

With New York Times and international
best-selling author…
Laura Munson

September 26-30, 2012 (sold out)

September 19-23 2012 (still some spots left…)

I will be leading regular retreats in Montana in 2013, however at a higher cost, so this is a special offer.  I have a lot of interested people and so if you want to come, act fast!

I have called Whitefish, Montana home for twenty years.  I have written books here, mothered here, and wandered around in this deep wilderness on foot, horse, skis, kayak, canoe, river-raft, dogsled etc.  Montana has been my best teacher, especially for my writing, and I want to share it with you.  Like no other place I’ve been, Montana gets under your skin and stays there even when you are far away.  Its terrain, sometimes rugged and daunting, sometimes soft and beckoning, sometimes just plain heartbreaking…is that of the written word. 

What We Will Do:

Days:

We will spend three days in intensive small group sessions exploring craft and voice through various writing exercises, one-on-one workshop sessions with Laura, and private writing time.  There will also be opportunities to do yoga, go on guided silent meditation walks on the gorgeous 400 + acres of the Walking Lightly Ranch, and take equine therapy classes nearby.

Evenings:

Evenings will include student and instructor readings, visits from guest writers to share about the writing life, and fantastic meals overlooking the beauty of the woods of Montana.

Food:  All food is vegan, largely grown on property or locally grown, and lovingly prepared on-site by skilled chefs.  *We can accommodate special dietary needs.  And yes, coffee and wine are permitted (favorite question so far) !

Accommodations:  Each person will have a private room in the main lodge or in the guest lodge.  Each has a private full bathroom.

Cost:  The cost is $1,800 which will cover the conference, three daily meals including dinner on the night of arrival and breakfast on the day of departure, rooms, and sponsored evening wine hour.  This price does not include transportation.  

Application:  My retreats are limited to ten participants to ensure proper attention to your work, and are open to all ranges of writers, whether you are in the process of writing a book, have a book idea, or just love to write and want to explore self-expression on the page.  I do have an informal application process which helps to set your intention about why you want to join me on the retreat, and helps me to know what you hope to gain from it.  Simply send a statement of purpose, as well as a writing sample (no longer than 1200 words) to laura@lauramunsonauthor.com.  In your statement of purpose, please tell me about your goals for this workshop and for your writing life, and provide me with any other information about yourself that you feel is important.

Where We Are Located: 

Set in the northwest corner of Montana, The Flathead Valley, is my favorite part of the state– with Glacier National Park just 20 miles away, the 30 mile long mountain-flanked Flathead Lake at its base, and our Whitefish ski
resort at its top.  This is the still-pristine land of lakes, rivers, foothills and Rocky Mountains, charming little towns, and most important:  open space.  I know of no place like it left in the lower 48.  You might want to consider coming early and/or staying after the retreat to experience the magnificent Flathead Valley and explore.

The Walking Lightly Ranch is a ten minute drive from Whitefish, set deep in the woods on a lovely lake, with an organic garden, gorgeous yoga pavilion, and walking paths throughout.  It is a place of serenity and inspiration truly unique in our busy world.

Getting Here:  Flights: Delta, United, Alaska, American, and Allegiant go in and out of Glacier International Airport in Kalispell, with non-stops from San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Las Vegas, and
Minneapolis.  You might find cheaper flights in and out of Missoula (2 1/2 hour drive), Spokane (4 hr. drive), or Calgary (5 hr. drive).  Rental cars are available at the airport.  Taxis run $40.00 each way to the ranch.  Train:
Amtrak goes in and out of Whitefish.

For more information about my writing and my retreats, go to my website.    

Montana and I await your spirit and words…          

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Filed under A Place For Writers To Share, My Posts, Retreats

Forget a Pulitzer– I’m a Cartoon Character!

Wow– I think my ego just exploded! Thanks to Jen Sorenson from Portland for coming out to our neck of the woods and composing such an interesting study of our town for The Oregonian. Snowghosts and all! Here’s the permalink.

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Filed under Little Hymns to Montana, My Posts

Support The Whitefish Trail!


THE WHITEFISH TRAIL (formally known as The Trail Runs Through It project)

I have lived in Whitefish for 17 years. When I first moved here, I was a city girl. I didn’t understand the value of open space any more than I understood what it would be like to fall in love with it. How land gets under your skin and makes you whole. Calls you to be your best self by challenging you with its humility and inspiration. As I slowly made Montana my home, I fell in love with the freedom of hopping on a horse and heading into the hills. Of who I was when I mused upon the grit and grace of life out on the trail. The honesty and vulnerability it required of me, bald eagles soaring, bear scat front and center, moose moving like ghosts in and out of aspen groves.

And then I started to notice fences. Lots of them. I’d go into an area that had helped me grieve my father’s death, or celebrate my child’s birth—to greet it like an old friend, to learn from it– and it would be gone. “No trespassing” signs were left in its wake like a fouled eulogy. Suddenly in Big Sky Country, we had gated communities. Built by city people who, like me, didn’t understand the privilege of wandering rights. They understood the idea of us/them. Not us/us. They understood how to enthrone power and even fear. They didn’t understand what Montana has to teach.

A few years ago I had the privilege of sitting on a steering committee that built the foundation for what is now a trail system that is setting a new precedent for open space in the rural west. The goal is to have a hundred miles of non-motorized trail around our town, linking private to public land. The Whitefish Trail is as inspiring as it is inspired, and if we can receive our state’s support, we can continue to teach the developing rural west how to build future communities. Responsibly and, as Montana has taught so many, with respect and humility. Please support the Whitefish Trail. And to the powers-that-be, please honor our community’s good work by helping us continue our dream.

Yrs.

Laura Munson

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Filed under City Hits, Little Hymns to Montana, My Posts

Inversion

inversion
Inversion
by Laura A. Munson

It’s lonely in February with just one woodpecker and a few chickadees against the grey. They call it inversion.
Our valley is flanked by the Whitefish Range—foothills to the Rockies– what in summer looks like a towering garden wall. Then winter rolls in from the Pacific Ocean and gets caught along its jagged edges; and we are sequestered here under a low ceiling of grey, from as early as October, to as late as June.
I don’t have the mind for winter much past the end of January. I can’t sleep that long. Day after day of this grey, socking us in, pressing us down, depriving us of vitamin D. I try to work with what is left—with what is not dormant. I become fascinated by paw prints—are those snow hare prints? Mountain Lion? Fox? I go out with a field guide and a ruler. Scat becomes a symbol of communion. Even the deer start to seem exotic. Crows, prophets. The raven, a mystic holy one.
I walk in insomniac circles in the snow to prove that I am alive. Is that the actual dirt of my driveway glinting through the ice? Does the pond look like it’s opening up in the middle—just a bit?
I force bulbs in my kitchen window, missing the wildflowers that
cover the hillsides from June on to the snows—the yellow arnica, the pink roses, the purples of the columbine, wild lupine and geranium, the orange of Indian paintbrush, the blue flax, and on and on until the violet of the asters. The bulbs in my window come up so wan, knowing they are decoys.
I become good with the mawl, splitting kindling, never enough in this undying season. Sometimes I split wood just to hear the echo. Maybe the woodpecker will answer. Maybe it will be a Pileated woodpecker—maybe there will be red in the trees.
It is fashionable to complain. I do not want to complain. I remind myself that it is this precise grey that keeps our valley free from over-development, our hillsides thick with Larch and Fir, Ponderosa and Lodgepole pine– not thick with the “rustic chic” of log-accented condos and private ski chalets. These are not Colorado winters bedazzled with sapphire skies and relentless “champagne powder” days. This is still the great Northwest; fertile and wet and dense. And grey. Perhaps that which is so fertile must sleep deeper. Longer.
I slap skins on my skis and hike to the top of the mountain, above the cloud level, just to see what has been procured for pilots and high-flying birds who’ve had the guts to stay. I strap on skis and climb through the grey to remind myself—my skin, my retina– that there is a color in this world brighter than my orange down parka.
The sheen off Glacier National Park is garish. Like a confection. The sun so sovereign. The sky so blue with infinity. My heart rises then sinks: How could we be so…neglected?
And I remember the gluttony of summer. Dipping hot feet into mountain lakes turquoise with mineral-rich glacial run-off, melting lotion into golden shoulders, waking with the birds at the exact blush of dawn, little bundles of fingers purple from picking huckleberries, emerald green peas in a silver pail.
Maybe I’ve got it wrong.
Maybe we are being protected from something that only the sky knows. Maybe the inversion is a great grey net, preserving us, somehow.
It looks so quiet below. Not sinister.
Yes, I decide. We are being preserved.
I breathe into the blue and slide back down under, and for a moment, as the world vanishes into vertigo, I feel free. Floating in-between acute wakefulness and sleep again; a part of the gentle hand of ozone covering us all these months, year after year.
And then it’s the valley again, cut off at the shins. The lake, a white footprint in the middle of it all. And again, I am on my front porch, chin to the grey, but I am thanking it now.
For however else am I to remember the welcome the wildflowers deserve?

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Filed under Little Hymns to Montana, Stories