Kathleen Hirsch | Summer
Writing and musings by author Kathleen Hirsch.
kathleen hirsch, writer, spiritual director, boston, ma, spiritual writing
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Summer

Last Days of Summer

Here it is, the last, last day of blowing bubbles, walking barefoot in the grass, idling away a whole afternoon staring at a body of water.

Schedules and emails from old friends, and invitations to fall garden parties, are already arriving like the first winter storm ahead of their time.  Tonight, I receive my first batch of student writings, short poems about where they have come from and where they hope to go in their time with me.

We all need to ask these questions from time to time (and sometimes, every day!) and we all need to keep our eyes open for the lingering waterlilies, on nearby walks or in the marvelous imagination of Mssr. Monet.

I’m excited to anticipate the group of creative folks eager for a day-long adventure in writing, collage, and image making, with my talented friend and book artist, Susan Porter.  It’s just a few weeks away.  Join us if you can!

Here’s the skinny:

Illuminating Our Stories: A Creativity Lab

with Susan Porter and Kathleen Hirsch

 In this day-long workshop, we will celebrate the un-mined stories that live in us, using writing prompts and a rich array of visual materials to explore emerging themes and narratives.  Our process will combine writing, mark-making, collage, and mixed media.  Students will explore story — fiction, poetry and memoir — through prompts, individual creative time, and sharing. By day’s end, participants will have completed a series of illuminations, one written piece, and several working drafts that they can complete at home.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

311 Forest Hills St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

$115 per person (includes materials, pre-payment required)

Space is limited. Contact us to register at

  susaneporter33@yahoo.com  or  khirsch72@comcast.net

 Kathleen Hirsch is an essayist, memoirist and columnist.  She has published four books, and has taught writing at Harvard, Boston College, and in workshop retreats for adults throughout the Boston area.  She writes at KathleenHirsch.com.

Susan Porter’s multi-dimensional art journals blur boundaries between collage, printmaking and book arts. She teaches others how to use color, imagery, and text to create their own one-of-a-kind journals. Her work can be viewed at coloringbooksandjournals.com.

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Stringing Up Lights in August

Fog greets me these mid-August mornings, the first birch leaves shiver into weary lavender.  Long after the torrid nights of summer’s barbecues, I am stringing strands of lights from the garage to my deck.

Anyone looking in would conclude that I’ve lost the almanac, so terribly out of sync as the good times are about to end.  But I have my reasons.

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Hidden Away for a Season

This weekend, my street is hosting a yard sale.  Nearly every household up and down the lane is contributing old rockers, and mismatched sets of glasses, mini-fridges and used rugs.  Once this extravaganza of purging is over, most of us will retreat for a season — to lake or simply to our backyards — to weed rows of peas, watch for the red-tailed hawk, read a novel.  We will ease up, even if our lives don’t conform to academic schedules.

I tell friends that once I have submitted my grades and ordered my books for the fall, I look around for the nearest invisibility cloak.  An acquaintance used to refer to her “bubble” — the necessary month of detachment from school friends and gossip and subtle, omnipresent competition, in which she could remember the sound of the ocean, and think long thoughts by herself without smiling into the school years’ endless pick-up lines.

Summer has always promised a hiddenness that I value beyond measure.  In a beautiful new book by the poet, David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words, the author offers delicious and wise reflections on words we use often without appreciating their laden-ness — the richness of nuance and suggestion that are there for the picking.

In his entry on “Hiddenness,” he writes this:

“We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early, and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with ideas that oppress ours sense of self and ours sense of others.  What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us doesn’t not care to be known by the ind in ways that diminish its presence.”

To this, I saw, Amen, and thanks.

Beneath the cloak of summer, I plan to let what is real unfold at its own pace.  I invite you to do the same.

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