Photo of Kelly Madigan Erlandson, LADC, courtesy of Helen Stringfellow
Your site details a series of creativity retreats that seem very ruminative, almost like a pensive adagio, how did you come to this approach? They seem so wondrous!
Thank you. The workshops/retreats have been a collaborative effort. For my part, I have tried to create experiences for people that I myself have needed: great discussion about the creative process; time in or near the river; a day of quiet, side-by-side writing. These were things I longed for in my twenties, but I didn’t yet know how to manifest them.
The rich part of it, from my end, is the community of interesting people that have been drawn together by these occasional offerings. I have benefited greatly from our campfire discussions.
Kelly's Writing Workshops
Kelly, you have shared recently that you have begun exploring Nebraska rivers. Tell us about that. Does it provide tranquility for life's stressors? Does it serve as inspiration for material? Or is it just about peace and enjoying creation -- OR all of the above! Feel
free to expound.
From my earliest memories, I have needed to spend time in wild areas. I have a theory that the human body, the mammal body, is designed in concert with the earth, and requires direct connection with the planet to recharge and inform itself—much like a docking station for an IPod or Blackberry. So many of us live lives removed from natural states. We walk on asphalt and concrete; we live and work in buildings, sometimes several stories or more above the earth’s surface. We are raised up from the ground by our vehicles, separated from our natural environment by rubber and steel.
I have searched for ways to remedy this in my own life. I need the energy and the information that direct contact with the ground provides. Many Nebraska rivers are remote and isolated places, and exploring them by canoe or kayak insures I will be climbing up and down muddy banks, and will be sleeping in places where I can hear the coyotes in the middle of the night. Due to my novice kayaking skills, it also insures I will be occasionally baptized in river water.
My goal is to canoe or kayak every navigable Nebraska river. I’ve been on ten of them so far.
What have you found on your journeys?
I have been teased about my interest in scat, but the truth is I love nothing more than the opportunity to tear apart a pile of animal droppings with two sticks and try to determine what animal left it, and what it might have been eating recently. I collect jawbones, and I love the patterns on wild turkey feathers. I’ve been known to bring home the sun-bleached skull of a small animal, which sometimes freaks out my family members.
Thanks Kelly! My prayers and thoughts are with Nebraska during this difficult time ~ Good Luck to you, please keep us posted on all of your great endeavors~~~