It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could, you know. That’s why we wake
and look out—no guarantees
in this life.
But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
—William Stafford, from The Way It Is
The title of the above poem, YES, is my word for the year, inspired by the yes’s of 2022.
The nonprofit, Centrum, said yes to my application for a residency as an emerging literary artist. Every morning in October, as a ferry coasted in, I poured out my heart on paper while overlooking the sunrise on Admiralty Bay in Port Townsend.
My biggest YES from my experience was reframing my roles.
When I left on September 30, I was a coach who writes.
When I returned on November first, I was a writer who coaches.
I said YES to scheduling writing. I said YES to a new writing office. I said YES to creating quality time for stories, poems, and novels, rather than squeezing writing into spare moments. I saw that my energy and enthusiasm and joy would benefit every writer and creator I work with.
I learned to say YES to finishing a story rather than first answering an email. To quit wasting time on social media. To say YES to what I love, rather than something Instagram fans might like.
I braved rejection. I relaxed ideas of how my house should look, how I should celebrate Christmas, and whether I’m being “responsible.” I chose to be responsible to my most personal, creative, and spiritual goals, and in turn, to let this responsibility flow out into the world.
I found balance despite the discomfort of doing things differently.
I witnessed your YES’s, too. In Clark College classes both live and virtual, Zoom sessions short and long, a Vancouver women’s workshop, a stunning group of Master class writers, and in the blossoming Mastermind writers’ series. I enjoyed hundreds of awe-striking one-to-one sessions with phenomenal writers.
I feel grateful not just to be your coach, but to be one of you.
Wild Words Camp in July, along the Siuslaw River North Jetty, was a landmark event. Thank you to the writers who were part of the longest and most rustic adventure I’ve ever led: three nights leading the way to YES, unfolding in vulnerability, authenticity, trust, and community.
Thank you for showing your power and creativity at Wild Words Retreat in August at serene Siltcoos Lake, where fantasy stories mingled with southern roots on an old river dock in the fog. We kayaked, hiked to the beach, and journaled in sun and wind by the waves.
I felt awe leading your December adventure of Write at the Light at Heceta Head Lighthouse. We climbed forest hills, combed beaches, and witnessed night beams of the lighthouse sweeping through mist over craggy ocean cliffs and velvety trees. Toasty beside our Victorian-Christmas fireside, we shared darkness and light.
We writers say YES when we boldly take time for ourselves or our work. Whenever we sit with pages and laptops and notebooks. Every time we listen to each other, admire what we’re reading, or treat ourselves to adventures, classes, cohorts, and coaches.
Without guarantees, but with a full heart, I’m saying YES to whatever is next, for me and for you.