To see the world in the town of Sandpoint alludes to a literary perspective. Located in remote Northern Idaho, between a profound alpine lake and an imposing mountain, bejeweled by ski slopes, the town is a cradle of contrasts. Contrasts which modulate the moonbeams of cognition and art. You will find wealth, but we don’t wear it, you find poverty, but we help privately; you find sports that aren’t nationally televised; contemplation without gurus; extremists, centrists, and humanists; young and, well, young at heart; sufferers and recoverers; declared religions and individual spiritualists; Boomers, Earthers, Preppers, GenXers; a spectrum of relational preferences that create the web of our community; and women who form the connective rhizome of culture.
This book contains the seeds and flowers of one type of women’s culture: language. The Sandpoint Monday Writers, founded by writer Karen Seashore in the 1990’s, has thrived with a series of instigators. For the last ten years, during my attendance, our prime instigator has been poet and artist, Robens Napolitan. We take our task seriously. The energy shared at the beginning of each week helps us maintain our balance. We are word workers. Some of us have been or are professional word crafters, some have degrees, some don’t. Some publish, some don’t. But all of us agree that words help us shape our worlds. Our work here keeps us limber and connects our outer and inner landscapes.
The process is simple. We meet in a quiet corner or room in a cafe every Monday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Robens brings an envelope stuffed with headlines from various newspapers and magazines. She passes them around and we each select one as a prompt. The selector chooses the time, usually from six to ten minutes. Robens sets the egg timer. We free write or type with a minimum of “thinking.” Some call this stream of consciousness, first thought best thought, extemporaneous, or as Natalie Goldberg described, Writing Down The Bones. Then we read our work aloud to each other; only occasionally a few exclamations or connections squeak out. Some of these free writes are sculpted into poems. After over ten years, we authenticate our themes – and growth. Another tradition, which Robens’ initiated, is to collect five words or phrases from each member, then use the resultant list as inspiration for more considered writing during the month, if we choose. As a result, you may find a curious echo effect in both verse and prose within the more crafted and edited results.
We can detect from this collection the reflection of life here in this place, time, lives, and cultural spaces. Our metaphors and similes are unlocked and loaded. We slant all over the place, and rock ourselves to sleep with laughter about it. If you are a visitor to Sandpoint and find this book, or even if you have never been here, you will be anointed with the wonder we find in words: You will be Sandpointed. We hope that you take one of these works to heart and spread it generously within your own community.
Meet the authors
A multi-instrumental roots musician who performs at Folk Fairs in the Inland Northwest, Desiree often turns her poetry into songs. She is the author of several unpublished novels about dystopian futures, survivors and robots whose humanity is reflected in their care for each other.
Desiree’s work emerges from a unique perspective, drawn from the dark side of life experiences, including deaths of her husband, son, and brother. She is the editor of a grief newsletter and professional SEO writer.
Her poems, short stories and articles have appeared in a number of publications, including the Lost Horse Press Anthology of Nasty Women Poets, The Trestle Creek Review, Idaho Magazine, Mother Verse, and Equine Spirit.
Born and raised in NYC’s Greenwich Village by two artists, Henrion’s formative years were rich with philosophy, poetry, fine arts, and training in music. Later in life, after a career and graduate degree in business, she returned to her roots; first as a singer/songwriter, then as a writer and a ultimately earning an MFA degree in creative writing from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.
Her poetic process is based in the Surrealist and Beat traditions of aleatoric, chance, also known as cut up or bricolage. She approaches poetry like a puzzle or a dance gesture, whose meaning emerges after reflection. Her writing has appeared in Bombay Gin, The Reader, and a number of other publications. She is the author of Rerooted, released by Turtle Moon Publishing. She has lived in San Francisco, Anchorage, Seattle, and, for the last two decades, along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. Since 2014 she has been the host of a weekly radio show ˆSongs-Voices-Poems” on 88.5 KRFY in Sandpoint, for which she curates and connects a collection of songs and poems.
Sandy Lamson was determined to be a writer in third grade. Growing up in Washington DC and Maryland, her family moved to California for her Father’s job with NBC. Writers and story-tellers are the backbone of the media business, which likely influenced her aspirations.
Moving to Idaho in 1971, the need to earn a living propelled her to earn an accounting degree from Eastern Washington University in 1982, at the non-traditional age of 39. Nonetheless, she was so inspired by her mother’s family stories about homesteading on a southeast Wyoming ranch, Sandy had horses for a number of years.
Now a resident of Sandpoint, she’s been a member of the Monday Writers Group for over 15 years. She lives with her husband, two cats, a border collie, amidst a large garden, and abundant bird life. A voracious reader, she enjoys buddhist culture, time travel, and homemade bread.
A published poet, Robens Napolitan is a professional landscape gardener. She is also an artist and collaborator with her husband, Tom Kramer. They have exhibited in solo and group shows, including those promoted by the local Pend Oreille Arts Council. In the area of performance art, Robens and Tom were advocates and co-hosts for 21 years for Sandpoint’s open mic, “Five Minutes of Fame.”
Her work has appeared in Many Mountains Moving, Connections, cold-drill, Heliotrope, A Taste of Fame, Suffering Whitebread Anthology, and The Reader.
Robens has set up a popular free library beside her strawberry patch in front of her house, and often offers at curbside, free plants including her beloved marigolds.
A native of Sandpoint, and long-time member of the Monday Writers, Sandra recently retired as a Judicial Assistant at the Bonner County Courthouse. In her life and career, she has witnessed a wide spectrum of behavior. Her creative writing reflects her perspectives about human nature and the trouble and humor found therein. Having raised her family in North Idaho it is evident that the beauty of the area informs much of her writing.
A venerable, intrepid member of the Sandpoint Monday Writers, Rhoda has performed her humorous essays for fundraising events in Sandpoint. From a childhood in San Francisco, and roots from the “old country,” her extended family included traveling performers and hair-dressers for “Madams,” imbuing her work with a saucy, irreverent voice. Recently widowed, she reminisces about her time spent living in Great Britain, with completely different codes of behavior. She also writes subtle, poignant, private poems about nature, and has been published in the Trestle Creek Review, The Reader, “The Small Town With A Big Heart,” River Journal, and Idaho Magazine.