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LETTER FROM A FRIEND : SEPT 2023



♡ Hi Friends ♡

This Lush and flushed is how I'm feeling this September – how is everyone else arriving into fall? I haven't sent one of these letters or offerings since May, and below I've got four juicy summer-into-fall playlists for you to throw on while you tidy the hallowed halls of your homes, work, or creative spaces, jump into new routines, clear clutter, sharpen pencils, and metaphorically (or literally) get back-to-school for a whole new year of learning and growth. Cliché or not, September always gets me with its beauty, crickets, cicada-calls, night air, goldenrod-tinged everything – which just so happens to be the color of a No. 2 pencil... coincidence? I think not – and of course the studious vibes. This year is no different. It feels like an edge: a nebulous near-end of the wild freedom of summer and a burgeoning new cycle that hasn't quite landed. It's a moment to pause. Revisit. Revise. Clean out the pipes. Straighten the drawers. Edit the lines. Cull the summer gardens. Collect the apples, can the tomatoes. Revisit the song you started but never finished and tighten the lyrics down to a quiet distilled gem.

There is much to be learned from the practice of return. To revisit something lost, retrieved and re-examined. Something forgotten, but in the pause of this season called back.

This is what I spent most of the summer doing, in fact, and this September the process of retrieval has reached a concentrated crescendo. It was a summer of new directions, but also reckoning with the past. A year ago this month I started chemotherapy and what would be one of the most grueling and frightening 9 months of my life. After an experience like that there is a lot to untangle. You may notice the nostalgic hits in all the playlists I've been making... that's no accident. It was an intentional choice to help me feel into older versions of myself, to get back to something I felt I had lost. Something lost to cancer, yes, but also things lost over the past decade that I didn't realize were slipping away until they were already gone. I didn't have a name for what it was I was missing, just a feeling. Like my pockets had once been full of bright pebbles and suddenly they were empty and I had no words.

The retrieval process began in June when I spent 10 glorious days at Hewnoaks, an artist residency in Lovell, ME, to work on a new project. It was a wildly generative time and two additional projects emerged while I was there, almost fully formed. Alongside everything burgeoning, however, I dipped a toe into the past. I had brought 15 years worth of journals with me as fodder for a project and I combed through them, each and every one. I'm still working through some of what came up from this experience, both creatively and personally. But it was necessary, I'm realizing, to reckon with what was in order to take full stock of what is.

Other returns from the summer include an extended visit to the Adirondacks, my home of origin, with my kids, as well as an exciting foray back into teaching. I've wanted to return to this love for many years and given September's scholarly sheen I'm happy to share that I'm offering workshops in a number of places this fall. I recently taught a Sound & Landscape workshop at Colby College and this month I'll be teaching a writing & visual art workshop at the University of Southern Maine here in Portland. BUT FRIENDS FAR AND WIDE TAKE NOTE: I'm teaching a workshop online next month via Four Queens, the venture of an old teacher, mentor, and friend, Selah Saterstrom. Poet and diviner, channeler of energy and wisdom from high and low, she tends to the interstices when we all need it most and I'm elated to share some of my work and creative process with her greater community. You can get in on it too - sign up below ~

Lastly, I'm thrilled to share with you a return to my early love of astrology. I've been studying traditional western astrology since I was about 15 years old, and this year I started offering private readings, as well as a monthly "astrological weather" column in the local independent newspaper here in Maine, The Bollard. More on this below, too ~



In this online workshop – TRANSLATING THE SUBTLE BODY – I lead participants on a one-hour journey into the etheric realm and back again, gently guiding the group with a shared intention of uncovering what we need to know, when we need to know it. Via group meditation, notation, drawing and writing, participants will leave this workshop with new threads teased onto the page through your own subtle bodies, and a more clear connection to the information that serves you and your work in this moment. $10. ♡♡♡



Mainers, if you don't already read The Bollard, you should start now. It's old-fashioned reporting on the real lives of people in Maine. Irreverent and geared towards collective liberation, this publication certainly blends the old with the new in the best ways possible. My column, The Astral Tides Report, is always on the last page. The website isn't updated regularly because this paper's meant to be enjoyed in the flesh, just like my saucy column. Go get yourself a copy if you know what's good for you.

♡♡♡



+ feel summer + studio hour + camp friends + project power +

♡♡♡



+ muggy nostalgia, memory lane + long drives, open windows and the winds of change + ♡♡♡



+ childhood changlings + new horizons mountain-topped + views on views + plays on play + late night commune, early days + you do deserve all you desire + circle up, and stoke the fire +

♡♡♡



+ precisely precisely, and everything nicely + haven hone, magic sweep + tend your corner, duly keep + check the checklist, list your needs +

squeeze the stone until it bleeds +

♡♡♡


 

Lastly, this month I want to extend the invitation of retrieval to you all. To reflect on earlier versions of yourself and all the missing parts you long for. To take pause so that you might rediscover them, reckon with them, dance, cry, and sit with them. I invite you to hold these earlier versions of yourself that knew something you still need, here and now, in order to move through this next season. Sometimes the wisdom of earlier times is the tonic we need to remember the playful, open, expansive versions of ourselves that we mourn, miss, and chase in our dreams. The parts that believe in your worth, your desires, your potential. I believe in it too ♡ Sending love, Caitlin

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