Writing My Way Into Love With Taos



For the last week I have been a lucky writer holed up at the Kindling Words West writing retreat in Taos, New Mexico. There are 25 of us here. Every morning we get to listen to the wise and wonderful Nikki Grimes teach us about the power of poetry. The rest of the day is spent working. And eating. Because writing can make a body very, very hungry.



Our retreat is being held at the historic gathering place for creative people, the Mable Dodge Luhan House.


I slept in the Ansel Adams room, named because Ansel Adams slept there whenever he was in town. If you want me to tell you about my visit from Ansel’s ghost, buy me a glass of wine the next time you see me. A nice merlot will do the trick. (That is the final revision of my new YA spread out on the floor and bedspread, btw.)


This is my gorgeous window that looks out onto Taos Mountain, part of the Taos Pueblo.



The view out that window… this picture doesn’t come close to the beauty of the mountain.



Every morning I got up in the dark, meditated, then worked on trying the draw the way the first light looked coming over the mountain. After breakfast, I put in long hours on my last revision, loving every minute of it.

There is something magical that happens when a group of creative kindred spirits comes together to write and draw and play. Combine that magic with a location like Taos, with raven and magpie calls in the air, butterflies floating by, and a landscape that takes your breath away, and you will understand why this is the first time I have not been a total grumpy-pants during a final revision.

I have to leave the retreat early for a graduation this weekend, so this morning I played hooky and went hiking with two old writer buddies.


We went to Carson National Forest and hiked for a couple of hours up to Devisadero Peak.



Cactus are starting to bloom up there.



 The views were so beautiful I am only going to post this one because I don’t want all of you to sell everything you own and move to Taos tomorrow.


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 This is my favorite pic of the 7000 I’ve taken this week. What does it say to you?



Proof that we made it to the top. Elevation: 8,340 feet.




There is this kick-ass cairn on top of the mountain and stone chairs and some delightful trees. And maybe auras, but I was oxygen deprived, so don’t quote me on that. We hiked back down and had breakfast outside a cafe enjoying the tanagers and nuthatches and ravens. OMG I cannot get enough of ravens.



Please don’t think that this past week is what a writer’s life is like. I’ve been a writer for twenty years and this is my first week like this. But it is NOT going to be twenty years until I do this again. Good friends, good work, good food all in a part of the world I’d never seen before; that is an inspiring and invigorating combination.

Thank you, Taos! Thank you, New Mexico! Thank you, ravens!

4 Replies to “Writing My Way Into Love With Taos”

  1. The gardener in me says, “I love the textures and colors of the cactus, flowers and the leaves all mixed together.” Then there’s the side of me that waits for beautiful weather so I can go barefoot. That side of me wouldn’t like having to smother my toes with shoes.

    Beautiful shots, Laurie. I can’t wait to read your YA work that you have teased us with in the picture. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a wonderful treat, from the lodge to the surroundings to your fellow writers to your roommate. Adams is a favorite, and American Masters has a good documentary on him you can watch online.

    To me the picture shows the way new life and beauty springs from the old grass and leaves. How all of life is contracting and expanding, breathing in and breathing out. And oh yeah, be careful where you sit. 🙂

  3. Laurie-so thrilled you experienced the magic of Taos. Part of
    My soul lives there, as my mom, writerphotographer/poet
    Lived just south of Taos, in Santa Fe. She adored the
    Ravens too-magical creatures and the coyotes. My mother and
    Father when they were first married went to Taos, she wrote the poetry,
    He, Myron Wood took the photographs-the book was titled Holoring Sun.
    I lost mom to cancer just 2 months ago-New Mexico holds a very
    Special place in my heart indeed. Peace

  4. I’m speechless….
    I found you through a suggestion on my new twitter and I followed all the way to here…so glad I did.
    You’re right, all I want to do is sit and look out that little window…I need Taos…I had planned that many years ago and never did it…that’s about to change.
    In the meantime I wrote down my main blog instead of my newer book blog..wanted you to know I was more than a person with a new book…don’t ask me why.

    Oh, and I saw Abundance in your photo…thx for sharing this Grace filled journey…june

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