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

Mrs. Frost’s Veggie Chili

Does the Internet need another recipe for veggie chili? NOPE! But I’m planning a kid-friendly vegan recipe round-up as part of my resources for The Boy From Tomorrow, and I figured it would be better to tell you exactly how I make it rather than linking to some recipe I’ve never actually tried. This chili is as minimalist as I can make it, mild while still flavorful; I don’t use a spice mix, just chili powder and cumin with a pinch of cayenne. It’s basically the chili of my childhood with soy crumbles instead of ground beef, and in this version, there’s enough salt in the (store-bought) veggie broth that you don’t have to add any. If you’re skipping the soy crumbles, add another tin of beans or a cup of green lentils (which will require extra water).

Serve with Gena Hamshaw’s no-fuss cornbread recipe. Simple cashew sour cream recipe to follow.

Vegan Chili

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 onions, diced
1 ½ tsp. chili pepper (or to taste)
2 tsp. ground cumin (or to taste)
pinch (or more) cayenne pepper
2 large potatoes, diced
4 cups veggie broth
2 bell peppers, diced
2 15.5-oz. cans of beans (black and kidney, but any kind will do)
1 large can (28 oz.) of crushed tomatoes
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 package soy mince crumbles (I use Light Life)

Sauté garlic and onions in olive oil until translucent, adding spices and stirring well. Add chopped potatoes and continue cooking. When potatoes have softened, add the veggie broth followed by the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for a good while. The more times you reheat the pot, the tastier the chili will be! Serves 8-10.

Cashew Sour Cream

This recipe is tweaked from DIY Vegan by Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman (they offer the garlic and mustard as a suggestion for extra zing, but I say these ingredients are essential; add even more if you want!)

1 ½ cups raw cashew pieces, soaked in hot water (the longer they soak, the less you’ll need to process them)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. mustard
½ tsp. salt

Drain soaked cashews, preserving ½ cup of the liquid, and blend well, adding remaining ingredients. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour to let the “cream” firm up, and the flavors mingle. Yields a full pint jar and is also delicious on baked potatoes.



Compassionate Creativity Beta Coaching FAQ

When I announced that I’d be offering a creativity coaching beta program early next year, several lovely people replied to communicate their interest. I’m going to keep this group small so I can give you more bandwidth, and so that you guys can actively learn from and inspire each other. Here’s what you can expect from this six-week program beginning Monday, January 8th:

  • weekly presentations followed by Q&A and informal group discussion (75-90 minutes total; if you can’t attend live, you can watch the replay any time)
  • fun assignments to integrate each module, usually a combination of journaling exercises, worksheets, and trying something new (in or outside the kitchen)
  • Recipe roundups based on you and your family’s preferences and needs, meal planning resources, and personalized suggested reading lists
  • a private Facebook group to make it easy to share questions, experiences, and resources with your cohort

Now it’s time to tell you “the catch”—it’s the awesomest catch ever, though. In order to participate in this six-week program, I’ll ask you to commit to a vegan diet (or as close to it as you possibly can) for the duration. I experienced the most amazing boost in productivity that has continued uninterrupted since the day I went vegan (going on seven years ago), so I can tell you that adopting a more compassionate diet will enhance your creative output and outlook big time.

Got questions?

What does my diet have to do with my creativity?

Apply to the program and find out! Seriously, though, I’ll explain this in my first presentation. In the meantime, read this post and watch this video of slam poet Saul Williams explaining why he required his students at Stanford to eat vegetarian for the semester.



I’m really interested in trying out a plant-based diet, but what happens if I cave and eat a slice of my mother’s meatloaf? Will you kick me out of the program?

I will not. Let me tell you about my friend Teri, who set a goal of eating vegan during the week we spent at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake in New Hampshire, eating three meals a day in the dining hall. At one point she articulated that she was so tempted by the macaroons on the dessert table (which were made with egg whites) she didn’t think she’d be able to resist, and I said, “If it’s between eating the macaroon, feeling guilty, then going back to eating meat and dairy, and eating the macaroon and returning to eating vegan at breakfast tomorrow, then go for option #2.” I haven’t felt a single craving for non-vegan food since I stopped eating eggs and dairy almost seven years ago, but I do understand that for many people, “weaning” oneself off animal products is the more sustainable method. I simply ask that you make a good-faith effort. I’ll provide you with all the resources and support you need (unless you need official nutritional or medical advice, which I am not qualified to give you, though I can refer you to someone who is.)

Can’t I just try Meatless Mondays, to start with?

I totally acknowledge that going vegan won’t be as seamless a transition for everyone as it was for me. That said, it is much too easy to bolster our current habits and worldview with a framework of self-reinforcing excuses. I’m looking for a six-week good-faith commitment from you. If you embarked on a new relationship, you probably wouldn’t say, “but I can date other people while you’re at your bowling league on Wednesday nights, right?” If you started an exercise regimen, you wouldn’t work out once or twice a week and sit on the sofa eating junk food all the other nights, would you?

If you’re feeling more stressed than excited at the prospect of going plant based, then it’s probably safe to say you’re not ready for this. Don’t worry, I will offer some version of this program again, and in the meantime, remember that every resource you could ever need is literally at your fingertips. Google “vegan 101” or “easy vegan recipes.” When you throw up your hands and say “this is just too complicated,” notice how you are buying into one of the narratives of mainstream carnist culture. The livestock, dairy, and pharmaceutical industries profit from you eating the same foods you always have.

This program sounds like a lot of work for you. Why is it free?

I received a vegan lifestyle coach certification back in 2013, but for the past four-plus years I’ve been focused on book projects. Now I’m finally ready to move into this new phase of my professional life! By participating in this beta program, you’re helping me hone my content for future (paid) programs as well as a book I’m writing about veganism and creativity. Some testimonials will be nice to have, too!

I’m already vegan. Can I still participate? 

Yes! While this program is geared toward making veganism feel do-able for (current) omnivores by exploring the creative benefits of compassionate eating, it’ll still be helpful for current vegans in terms of moving through creative blocks, creating a solid foundation for a new artistic practice, or adding another dimension to your animal-rights advocacy work. And your knowledge and insight will prove invaluable to everyone else in the program.

Want in? Look for the application link in the email update I’ll be sending on Monday morning (December 11th).



Email Marketing and “Authenticity”

The notion of marketing myself and my work really squicks me out. I regularly entertain fantasies of reverting to my dumbphone, dismantling my website, and living in a cabin in the woods with a kitchen garden and a 19th-century water pump. No more social media. If you find my work, great; if not, oh well, it wasn’t meant to be. I don’t need to be a bestselling author, somebody with “clout”—it only matters that I’m using what I’ve been given in a way that feels authentic.


This mindset is problematic for several reasons. First, of course, it espouses a sort of reverse-snobbery, as if every person making a living using social media has had to “sell out” for the privilege of working at home in their pajamas whenever they feel like it. Sure, lots of people have sold out. But there are also plenty of people who are using new platforms and technologies to share a useful and inspiring message, and we discount their efforts when we point only to those who are using manipulative marketing techniques to sell and up-sell their coaching packages, online courses, et cetera.

Secondly, it is very possible to skip out on undertaking one’s Scary-Big Work under the guise of humility. That is essentially what I am doing when I say I don’t want to collect anybody’s email addresses, I don’t want to network, I don’t want to promote or sell something people don’t want or need. Not only am I “playing small,” but I am preemptively dropping out on those who could actually benefit from my experience and insight—and that includes people who haven’t been born yet.

I can talk about not hiding my light under a bushel, but I’m only one of many people I poop out on when I engage in cowardice-masquerading-as-modesty. This is not the same kind of pretension you see in Facebook and Instagram ads in which entrepreneurs brag about making a six- or seven-figure income online—creating an enviable persona to get people to sign up in hopes of getting what they think you’ve got—but it is a pretension nonetheless.

So enough of all that. I’m giving myself permission to state my desires, loud and clear:

I want to inspire people to grow into the most fulfilled, most vibrant, most loving versions of themselves.

I want to help my students expand their capabilities: their literacy, their creativity, their compassion for all creatures.

I want to cultivate joy in the hearts of everyone I meet, in person and online.

And yes, I want to make a comfortable* living doing it—every cent exceeding “comfortable” funneled directly into hands-on philanthropic projects. As artist and creative consultant Rachael Rice writes, “Can we imagine the impact of our work beyond those who can afford it?”**

That is my dream. And to live my way into it, I’ll need to use the Internet with integrity (which I already know how to do!) and without false humility (which I shall continue to work on!) So—gulp!—I’ve started an email list. To sign up, just click here (although there is also a neat little link at the tippy-top left corner of this page). I’ll send you updates roughly once a month—with new-book news, of course, but also scrummy vegan recipes and practical advice on rejuvenating your creativity. Over time there will be an expanding emphasis on social, animal, and environmental justice projects—and if that sounds heavy, well, you can choose not to look at it that way. I believe that everything we do in this life, we must do for one (or ideally both) of the following reasons:

  1. To be happy [provided it’s not at someone else’s expense; eating bacon most definitely does not qualify.]
  2. To grow into ever-more-loving versions of ourselves [see above!]***

To clarify, this isn’t the same as subscribing to blog updates (but thank you very much for signing up for those!) Newsletter content is pretty fresh, meaning that you won’t find much of it elsewhere on Comet Party. I won’t be reposting the recipes I share in my emails, though some of them will appear in books (!!) later on. Even more exciting, next year when I start taking on beta coaching clients (probably five max), it’s the list I’ll be looking to—because if I’m going to work with someone for free in exchange for critical feedback (and hopefully a testimonial), those five have to be people who already appreciate and support my work! (And you’ll hear all about the aforementioned philanthropic projects when the time is right.)

Thanks so much for reading this, everyone, and big love to my brilliant friends Dr. Giavanni Washington and Joelle Renstrom for helping me through this evolution (and to Elizabeth Johnston for lighting a fire under my desk chair).

* I define “comfortable” as enough to cover basic living expenses, occasional domestic and (backpacker-style) international travel for work and adventure, and regular contributions to a retirement fund (not that I see myself retiring EVER, but you never know what might happen in the future. Gotta be prepared!)

** I had my ideas (and some very rough plans) in place years before reading that blog post—inspired by my experiences in India and Vermont and at Yaddo and Hawthornden—but Rachael distills my motivations more directly than I have yet been brave enough to do.

*** After writing out these two basic reasons-for-living, it occurred to me that I have simply reformulated the Golden Rule. Yessssssss!


Squam Fall 2017

I’ve been home from Squam for a week and a half, but I am still totally basking in the afterglow.


I was on the support staff full time this go-around, but there was time each day to go for a swim. The weather was glorious. G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S. I have never gotten to spend this much time in the lake—swimming every single day apart from the Sunday we arrived—and I felt so very lucky for that. I did indeed sleep on that screened-in porch every night; I kept thinking the temperature would plummet (when I slept outside in Vermont at the end of September 2010 I remember shivering no matter how many layers I put on), but I was perfectly snug. From my pillow I could see the moon shining through the trees, and in the morning I opened my eyes to the rising sun glimmering on the water.

Pine resin sticky in my crazy cropped hair; pond scum between my toes. Bliss, I tell you. BLISSSSSSSSSSSSS.


This was quite possibly the most special retreat since Elizabeth first started organizing them, because she announced after dinner on Friday evening that our friend Meg Fussell would be taking over as retreat director next year. You can read more on how that decision came about on the Squam Art Workshops blog. Meg is an utterly delightful human being. She has the magic combo of organizational prowess and social finesse one would need to rock this gig, and I’m so excited to watch her put her own stamp on the retreat and continue to expand our creative community.


Giusita, Teri, Giavanni, me, Elizabeth, and Meg. Photo by Amy Gretchen.


I expected to make myself useful (this was the first time I got to drive a golf cart, but it definitely won’t be the last, heh!), celebrate with friends old (as in longstanding) and new, enjoy the lake and the woods and the loons and the stars like I always do—but I did not expect to feel quite so inspired or quite so loved by people I am only just getting to know. You’re going to hear a lot about my new friend Dr. Giavanni Washington in the months to come: she is an intuitive percussive healer and coach who regularly hosts sacred circles and retreats for women of color in the LA area, but her work really is for everyone. I have no doubt that we have known each other many times before, but even so, it’s kind of mind-boggling how quickly someone can become one of your dearest friends.


I love a pretty mess! #theultimatesquam #squamlove #squamlake #squam2017 #newhampshire #travelgram #art #collage

A post shared by Camille DeAngelis (@cometparty) on

There’s a good bit more I could write—isn’t there always?—but I’ll just leave you with this. On Saturday night, across the road from the art fair, our friend Em Falconbridge was doing her doTERRA “oil fairy” goodness while her daughter Yindi was offering hand massages using said oils, and Giavanni set up her space for oracle card readings, all in the same warm inviting room.

Yindi didn’t have any “customers” yet, so I went over and asked for a massage. I told her that I used to do the same for my grandfather, and that I was definitely going to cry while she did it, and she was so sweet and kind to me. I am getting quite comfortable with crying in public, let me tell you. Afterward I asked her if she was taking tips, and she gave me this incredulous look—imagine “nooo!” said by a ten-year-old girl in the most adorable Australian accent.

It was healing, and I was grateful.


I’m PERCUSSING! Photo by Lauren Teller.

(All blog posts on Squam Art Workshops.)



Goodnight, Johnny Starr

I have put off writing this post for four weeks, because clicking “publish” on a blog post is a public announcement that one more person who loved me is gone from this world. It’s selfish to grieve for that reason, but I don’t care. He loved us for how we made him feel, too. And I could not possibly have felt any more loved.

On Friday, August 11th, my sweet, affectionate, hilarious grandfather ate lunch (at the rehab facility we hoped he’d soon be getting out of), closed his eyes for a nap, and did not wake up again.


In the six months since our grandmother passed, he told us often that he was ready to go. That he could have suffered a heart attack in the middle of the night, slumped on the bathroom floor for who knows how long before his aide found him in the morning, just goes to show you how tough he was. At 92, for crying out loud!

On my last visit home before he died, I gave him a hand massage (when Kate and I were visiting together we’d do both hands at once) and, for the first time, asked if he’d like me to massage his feet as well. It makes me sad how embarrassed elderly people can be about the state of their toenails—who cares, right? you’ve been using the same pair of feet for how many decades?!—but he wanted a footrub too much to demur.

I was just about finished the first foot when his lunch arrived, and afterward he was drowsy so I let him sleep and promised I’d do his other foot the next day.

The next day, he slept all through my visit.

The day after that, I met my aunt and uncle at the rehab facility, and he napped through that visit, too, except he did this weird thing where he’d respond to people talking in the hall. “You don’t mind if I sleep, do you? I’m sorry,” he said at one point when he realized we were there, and we told him not to apologize, he could sleep all he wanted.

As we left I gave him a kiss on the forehead, and that was that. I never got to finish his footrub.


He loved helping me wind my yarn because he used to do the same for his mother, who was pretty much a genius with a crochet hook.


I’d totally forgotten how he’d twist a cloth napkin into the shape of a bird and make it look like it was darting out of his hand, so I was delighted all over again browsing through iPhoto just now.


The two most important things to know about my grandfather were his playfulness and his devotion. Even after he retired, he always worked too hard mowing and shoveling and whatnot—he literally had a heart attack and lost consciousness in the garage one hot summer day. And when my grandmother became ill, he remembered his wedding vows. No matter what, he was not going to let her go into a nursing home. He took care of her—with help from home health aides most days—every single day for the rest of her life.



My grandparents weren’t up for attending Kate and Elliot’s wedding back in February, but I recorded a mini-interview with them that we could play at the rehearsal dinner.

Me: What do you think of Elliot?
Grandmom: Oh, I think he’s fantastic. Nobody better than him.
Me: Nobody better than him, right?
Grandmom: That’s right. He’s the best.
Me: The best of all men!
Grandmom: The men of all men! That’s right.
Me: I know another great man. A good husband! What do you think about Elliot?
Grandpop: [through a mouthful of dinner] I think he’s a very nice felshon. I’m in love with him!

I just think it is so adorable that he couldn’t decide between “fellow” and “person” so he went with the portmanteau.


At the Petty Magic launch party, October 2010.


Summer 1984.

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My aunt Kathy (who has done an AMAZING job of juggling finances and healthcare headaches for the past four years, bless her soul!) told me not too long ago that my grandfather’s definition of success was to be able to save enough money to leave an inheritance to his children. By that measure (and others), he was absolutely a success. When I called him he sometimes used to say, “Didja make any money for me today?”, which used to irritate me when I was out of print and flat-out broke, but eventually I realized I needed to lighten the hell up. So when he’d say, “Didja make any money for me today?”, I’d reply, “Oh, yes. Potloads of money. Tomorrow I’m going to send you a check for a million dollars.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about all that these past four weeks: what a good worker and saver he was, how devoted he was to the people he loved. I’ve been clinging to the notion that the best way to honor him right now is to work as hard as I can—and when I get paid for that work, to put a good bit of it aside for something bigger than my own keeping.

My grandfather showed me how to be a good-hearted human. So I will work hard. I will remember to laugh at myself. And I will always show my family how much I love them.


Summer 1997 (I think?)


(See also: Hat for a Wise Man; Pizzelles!The Big Sixty; In Memoriam.)



Ireland Top Ten


I keep meaning to announce that the revised Moon Ireland (along with its mini-me, Moon Dublin) is now on sale! This new edition is absolutely beautiful, and I hope you get the chance to use it sometime in the not-too-distant future.

To celebrate pub day (which was going on four months ago now, eep!), I’ve winnowed all my favorite places down to ten must-sees, in north-to-south order, with guidebook page numbers for easy reference.

County Donegal.
Literally anywhere in Donegal—because it takes more time and effort to get to, most visitors never even contemplate a visit. So much the better for you! Spend a night in Donegal Town before heading west to Kilcar, Killybegs, Glencolmcille, and/or Slieve League, or north to Glenveagh National Park, Gweedore, and/or Dunfanaghy. (Pages 369-388.)

The Mussenden Temple.

Downhill, County Derry.
Wandering the Downhill Estate gives me those delicious gothic shivers, not just for the ruins themselves but for the over-the-top character behind them: the infamous Bishop Hervey, whom George III referred to as “that wicked prelate.” Local legend says the bishop—an entrepreneur, playboy, and self-described agnostic—played a game of cards here with the devil himself. Perched on a cliff near the ruins of his mansion, the jewel-like Mussenden Temple was built to house Hervey’s library, mistress, or both. The rest of the estate is comprised of a forest park perfect for an easy ramble, and a gatehouse tea room was in the works when I visited in 2016. If you have time to spend the night here, the Downhill Beach House is highly recommended. (Page 425.)

Loughcrew Cairns, County Meath.
It took me years to make it up here, and when I finally did I could have kicked myself for taking so long. Newgrange may be the official “must-see,” but (partly because there’s very little tourist infrastructure, and they aren’t easy to get to) these “hills of the witch” are infinitely more atmospheric. After tracking down the key from the coffee shop at Loughcrew House, you’ll climb to the top of Carnbane East and unlock the door to Cairn T, venturing into the darkness to view spiral carvings made more than three thousand years ago. All told there are about thirty megalithic tombs scattered over these hills, and it’s said you can see seventeen counties from the peak of Sliabh na Caillighe. (Page 90.)

Galway City, County Galway.
I went to grad school here, learned and loved and wrote here; there’s no city on earth quite like it. Wander the charming old streets and lanes downtown, check out the many excellent pubs and restaurants, rent a bike and cycle through Salthill out to Barna Wood. (Pages 288-299.)

Killary Fjord, Leenane.

Inishbofin, County Galway.
The Aran Islands are glorious, don’t get me wrong, but Inishbofin is much less touristy—what it lacks in spectacular prehistoric and early-Christian ruins it makes up for in peace and quiet. (Page 316.)

Letterfrack, Leenane, and Connemara National Park.
Wild mountain, sea, and fjord views, not-too-strenuous hiking, quiet country pubs: this is my favorite little corner of County Galway. (I’ve read several recent decidedly-not-positive reviews of the Old Monastery hostel, but there are many more accommodation options in the area. I’ve also stayed at the Leenane Hotel and can recommend it, although you’ll want to go to the Blackberry Café for dinner. (Ring ahead if you’re vegan.) (Pages 317-321.)

St. Kevin’s Kitchen, Glendalough.

Glendalough, County Wicklow.
It’s super touristy, yes, so definitely spend the night—once the coach buses leave you’ll feel like you have the place almost all to yourself. The Wicklow Heather (1km down the road in Laragh) is an excellent (veg-accommodating) spot for dinner—and if you stay at Heather House, you’ll have breakfast here too. (Page 110.)

The Kerry Cliffs (and Skellig Michael), County Kerry.
This relatively new attraction rivals the Cliffs of Moher in breathtaking clifftop views, and while the owners of the land are unabashedly opportunistic, I still think it’s worth the entry price (€4 per person here versus €6 per person to park at the Cliffs of Moher). The Skellig Ring makes for gorgeous and relatively peaceful driving, since the coach buses are too big for these roads—take a day trip out of Killarney, and you will miss this. I haven’t been to the Skelligs since my first trip to Ireland back in 2000, and I’m holding off on a return visit out of concern for the fragility of the environment. (Pages 223 and 226.)

Ardmore, County Waterford.
St. Declan’s monastery and cliff walk is just about the most picturesque experience you can imagine. I’m amazed at how untouristy Ardmore still is! (Page 159.)

Union Hall and Glandore, County Cork.
I have a special place in my heart for these postcard-pretty twin villages in west Cork: it was at a tiny beach near Maria’s Schoolhouse Hostel that I wrote the first pages of my practice novel. While the hostel is long since closed, you can still go on kayaking trips with Maria and Jim. (Page 185.)


Glandore bridge, West Cork.


There are lots more places I’m terribly fond of, and I’m hoping to profile them in future posts. And if you’re wondering why I’ve listed only one place in Northern Ireland, I might as well tell you that the overall vibe up North creeps me out in a bad way. That said, on my next visit I’ll be checking out the Gobbins (closed, alas, when I was in the area in 2016) as well as Rathlin Island, and after that trip I’ll be sure to blog more about the Causeway Coast.

Glenveagh Castle, Donegal.

One more thing to note: due to space constraints we had to cut most of the Midlands coverage, which I very much regret. So I’ll be blogging about Athlone, Kinnitty, Birr, Emo Court, the Rock of Dunamase, Blacklion, and maybe Boyle in the near future, too (we did manage to fit Clonmacnoise and Leap Castle into sidebars in the Galway chapter). An ultimate vegan guide to Ireland is in the works as well (I’m SO bummed to hear my fave veg B&B is closed so they can focus on the farming side).

If you have any other places to recommend, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!



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

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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.



In Memoriam

Today would have been my Grandmom Kass’s 89th birthday. She passed in her sleep one week after Kate and Elliot’s wedding in February.

I wrote in my journal:

I thought I had done my grieving in advance, bit by bit over the past four years. Turns out that’s not how grief works, at least not for me.

It took me awhile to post about her death (for reasons I won’t get into), but here’s what I eventually put up on Facebook:


Today we’re back in New Jersey, gathering with relatives for a Mass said in her name (in lieu of a funeral, which she definitely did not want) and takeout from our favorite Italian restaurant afterward.



I miss her, he says when we call, and we can hear the tears in his voice.

You had a good long life together, we tell him. I can’t begin to imagine what it feels like to lose the person you chose to share your life with, especially when you’ve been inseparable for seventy years. Even if she was leaving you little by little.

But I do know one thing: it is not possible to say “I love you” too many times.



Sugaring Season

There is something inexpressibly sad in the thought of the children who crossed the ocean with the Pilgrims and the fathers of Jamestown, New Amsterdam, and Boston, and the infancy of those born in the first years of colonial life in this strange new world. It was hard for grown folk to live; conditions and surroundings offered even to strong men constant and many obstacles to the continuance of existence; how difficult was it then to rear children!


A few years back I read Alice Morse Earle’s Child Life in Colonial Days as research for a project currently on the back burner. Here’s my favorite passage, which I kept forgetting to post at the appropriate time of year (until now!):

The first thought of spring brought to the men of the New England household a hard work—maple-sugar making—which meant vast labor in preparation and in execution—all of which was cheerfully hailed, for it gave men and boys a chance to be as Charles Kingsley said, “a savage for a while.” It meant several nights spent in the sugar-camp in the woods, a-gypsying. Think of the delight of that scene: the air clear but mild enough to make the sap run; patches of snow still shining pure in the moonlight and starlight; all the mystery of the voices of the night, when a startled rabbit or squirrel made a crackling sound in its stealthy retreat; the distant hoot of a wakeful owl; the snapping of pendent icicles and crackling of blazing brush, yet over all a great stillness, “all silence and all glisten.” An exaltation of the spirit and senses came to the country boy which was transformed at midnight into keen thrills of imaginative fright at recollection of the stories told by his elders with rude acting and vivid wording during the early evening round the fire; of hunting and trapping, of Indians and bears, and those delights of country story-tellers in New England, catamounts, wolverines, and cats—this latter ever meaning in hunter’s phrasing wild-cats. Think of “a wolverine with eyes like blazing coals, and every hair whistling like a bell,” as he sprung with outspread claws from a high tree on the passing hunter—do you think the boy sat by the fire throughout the night without looking a score of times for the blazing eyeballs, and listening for the whistling fur, and hearing steps like that of the lion in Pilgrim’s Progress, “a great soft padding paw.”

What forest lore the boys learned, too: that more and sweeter sap came from a maple which stood alone than from any in a grove; that the shallow gouge flowed more freely, but the deep gouge was richest in sweet; and that many other forest trees besides the maple ran a sweet sap.


Marvelous News

For the past two and a half months, whenever anybody asks me how I’m doing I say “I’m great, apart from this insane political situation!” I am angry and depressed. It feels weird and wrong to promote my work at a time like this. But then, as Mexican refugee poet (and 2016 Writers’ Room of Boston fellow) Ari Belathar remarked last week at Together We Rise, the purpose of an artist in times of oppression is to make art.


That said, my marvelous news has to do with art I made five years ago. Remember my children’s novel? Well, my indefatigable agent finally found a home for it. I’m speaking with my new editor at Amberjack Publishing a little less than an hour after I hit “publish” on this post.

Here’s the announcement in Publisher’s Lunch today:

Alex Award winner Camille DeAngelis’s THE BOY FROM TOMORROW, about two twelve-year-olds living in the same house one hundred years apart who form a deep and life-changing friendship using a spirit board, to Kayla Church at Amberjack, by Kate Garrick at The Karpfinger Agency (NA).

You can read more about The Boy from Tomorrow on Nova’s blog, the Main Street Vegan blog, and on its own shiny new book page. (Still trying to figure out how to make the title appear in the drop-down menu up top.) Coming to a bookstore near you on May 8, 2018!

A couple quick clarifications:

  • This book is for middle-grade readers (ages 9-12, approximately), but it is intended for children of all ages, which means you and everyone you know.
  • It is very much in keeping with my earlier novels—a pocket of magic inside the ordinary world, emotionally resonant (I hope!), bittersweet.

Four-plus years on submission, and now I’m hooked up with an indie press who have asked for my birthday so they can mail me a treat. Feeling very, very grateful!


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.