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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Spring Squam 2017

It’d been awhile since my last Squam Art Workshops retreat: I taught a writing class there in September 2014 and daydreamed about returning as a student again for printmaking and other yummy classes, but life conspired against it. And like everyone else, I was sad when I heard 2017 would be Elizabeth’s last year running the retreats—though I know very well the desire to move on from what you’ve already proven you’re good at.



Photo by London Kaye.


A few weeks ago Elizabeth seemed anxious to connect, and when we got on Skype she told me her writing teacher had pulled out and could I fill in. COULD I?

So I got to go to Elizabeth’s last June Squam after all. My iPhone is busted and I decided not to pack Aunt Kathy’s Nikon, so this post is going to be 100% other people’s photographs. It was lovely not to spend the energy documenting everything. I texted a few pictures of the cabin to Matt from my dumbphone and got on with the nature worship.


I drove up with Elizabeth on Sunday and helped decorate and organize registration stuff—the most relaxing and enjoyable “work” you can imagine. Check out Elizabeth’s blog recap for a nice photo of Meg and Coop, a.k.a. Team Squam Mice (Meg arranged the table above)—and here’s a photo of Terri and me taken by her partner Tom at the end of my last class on Saturday morning:     


(You may recall I took Terri’s woodworking class in June 2014. Elizabeth likes to say she is an angel passing for human and I wholeheartedly agree.)



With Laura-Lynn and Rosemary (two of my Nirvana cabinmates in 2011) on Wednesday afternoon.




I hadn’t seen my dear friend Anne in three years, so we really reveled in getting to be roomies again—talking about our families and creative aspirations on the sun-baked dock and late into the night.   


  Writing on this porch, enfolded in the magic of the trees..💖 #squamlove   A post shared by Jane (@sepiaandglitter) on


Both my classes were full of smart, enthusiastic, open-hearted women of all ages, teens to seventies. In theory we were writing personal essays (for a clear definition of what constitutes a personal essay as opposed to memoir, read this), but in practice each student shaped those six hours to her own ends. The mind mapping was a big hit.


    I connected with mind-blowingly talented teachers (see if you can spot me above having our last breakfast with my cabin-mates Mary Jane Mucklestone and Karen Templer), caught up with friends I made way back at my first Squam in 2011, and got ideas for future projects that absolutely light me up. More on that…eventually.  

Evening lights at my cabin Cragsmere. We are all cozy. #squamartworkshops #squamlove #squamlove2017 #rdcsquam A post shared by Cordula (@handherzseele) on

Knitting from this porch for the next few days, byyyeeeeee everyday life #squamartworkshops #squamlove #squamlove2017

A post shared by Claire Allen-Platt (@claireallenplatt) on

I know I keep saying I’m going to get back into blogging more frequently and consistently, but after teaching this time around I do feel more motivated—I had several conversations with similarly ambivalent bloggers (“I feel silly writing and putting it out there when it feels like nobody’s reading it”), and I figured we could just make a point of reading and responding to each other’s work. Community is what we come for, after all!


See plenty more pics where these came from using the Instagram hashtag #squamlove2017.


3 Comments to Spring Squam 2017

  1. June 15, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Read it! Looked at the pix.Envied!

  2. Kelly's Gravatar Kelly
    June 21, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m reading. Glad it was lovely and hope the experience continues to inspire you.

  3. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    August 1, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    That lake, cabin and porch look like a dream!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.