Welcome to Windbreak House.
In the center of the nation, deep in the grasslands of western South Dakota, essayist and poet Linda M. Hasselstrom grew up as an only child on a family cattle ranch homesteaded by a Swedish cobbler in 1899.
Today she invites you to benefit from a writing retreat on that same ranch. Come to the house where she discovered the Great Plains outside her windows, where she began to write the poetry and non-fiction books that have established her as one of the strongest voices on behalf of the prairie.
Linda holds a BA in English and Journalism, an MA in American Literature, and has been a teacher of writing for more than 45 years. She has hosted writing retreats at her ranch since 1996.
Not a writer but a reader? Enjoy Linda's vivid descriptions of her life and work on the ranch, as a writer, and as an advocate for the preservation of the prairies and the people and wildlife who inhabit them.
Meet Linda on Youtube
For a brief introduction to Linda, her ranching life, her books, and the writing retreats, watch this Two-Minute Summary on Youtube
. You've read her words-- now hear her voice and see some images of the ranch and the writing retreat.
What's Happening at Windbreak House?
--- Write around Nature's calendar.
The Wheel of the Year: A Writer's Workbook
nonfiction, 2015, Red Dashboard Press
$22.95 -- paper
The Wheel of the Year
is structured with sixteen essays, one for each of the eight seasons through two years, with an intermission essay, “Respect Writing By Not Writing,” which discusses taking time off. Extensive writing suggestions are included, as well as additional resources. The workbook is intended as a guide and teacher as a writer sets up her own schedule of writing and develops a relationship with the natural and mundane worlds in which we live. If the reader came to a retreat at my Windbreak House Retreats, this might be a series of conversations we would have about writing.
All About the Book
--- Read some behind-the-scenes details about this book: Q&A with Linda, notes about content, information on the book jacket photo, and more.
Click here to go to The Wheel of the Year webpage.
If you would like to purchase an autographed copy from me, please send a check or money order for $28 to:
Linda M. Hasselstrom
PO Box 169
Hermosa SD 57744
Let me know if you would like me to personalize a message along with my signature, especially if the book will be a gift (only 2+ months to Christmas!).
The $28 covers shipping & handling within the USA and any applicable sales tax.
South Dakota Festival of Books
I attended the South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, SD-- I taught a writing workshop based on my new book The Wheel of the Year
, shared a poetry reading with Twyla M. Hansen for our joint book Dirt Songs
(our FIRST time reading together for this book even though it was published a few years ago), and participated on a panel discussion about Writing the Environment on Sunday morning at the close of the Festival. all the sessions were great fun and I was gratified at how well-attended they were. I also enjoyed the mass autograph get-togethers in the Events Center-- how wonderful to see so many people buying so many books. Twyla and I kept busy autographing our books and talking to all of you who dropped by.
See my Facebook page "Linda M. Hasselstrom's Windbreak House" at www.Facebook.com/WindbreakHouse
for photos of the events on Saturday, September 26th. The page is open to the public so you don't need to be a Facebook user or "like" the page in order to view the posts.
The annual fall Storytellers fundraiser in October, which I coordinate for the local Hermosa Arts and History Association (HAHA),was great success. This year our stories were told by local veterans-- a WWII sailor, men who were in Vietnam, a guard-dog handler, Army, Navy, Air Force, Guard and Reserves. A good crowd came for the stories, bid on a wide variety of donated auction items, and stayed for a pancake supper put on by the Hermosa Volunteer Fire Department.
I'm also keeping busy with online Writing Conversations by eMail and have already scheduled a couple writing retreats and a workshop for the spring of 2016.
If you would like to spend some time writing at Windbreak House see the Retreats Page
for the list of available retreat dates in 2015 and all the details you need to know about applying for a writing retreat (working with me) or a solitary retreat.
If you can't take a retreat holiday because your time or your budget is tight, we can still have some productive writing fun together online. See the Online Writing Help Page
for complete details on how to sign up for a Writing Conversation by eMail.
My WordPress blog "Notes from a Western Life."
Come on over and sign up for a subscription.
Though I've discontinued my Home Page Messages, I've set up a new WordPress blog (with the help of my web-wrangler) because it gives me more options than the blog on this website, including the ability to post more photos, the ability to link with social media across the web, and a subscription service that sends a dandy version of the blog directly to your email inbox. Try it out.
New blogs posted in October and November
"Looking for Grandmother: Revising a Poem" -- posted October 6th
I walk you through my poem "Looking for Grandmother" -- from the origins of the poem and the family history behind it; through early drafts where I work on word choice, word order, line length and rhythm; to the final version . . . or is it?
Read this short poetry lesson on my WordPress blogsite
"Love Beside the Windmill: Know Your Copyright Law" -- posted October 30th
This blog is in two parts. The meat of the blog is what you need to know about copyright law; I've tried to make it easy to digest by cutting it into small bites. For dessert you get part two-- a story of a copyright infringement on my book Windbreak
and what I did about it.
Read this important information about copyright law on my WordPress blog
"Writing: Where I've Been -- Educating Cows" -- posted November 16th
These unpublished stories about cows were written as part of a book intended to explain what the cattle business is all about, as a response to some of the anti-cattle rhetoric environmentalists were churning out in the 1990’s. Maybe someday I'll go back to finish the book.
Enjoy the stories about handling cattle on my WordPress blog
You can also find some of these blogs, and many older ones, on the Blog Page of this website by clicking here
This year some of my writing appeared in various periodicals and books,
In "Writers on the Range," syndicated by High Country News ---
February 4, 2015, "Let’s talk about the 'Z' word"
An opinion piece where I discuss the need to plan for a responsible future. Read it here
and then consider subscribing to High Country News
to support their important and well-done journalism about the West.
In South Dakota Magazine ---
In the May/June issue, "Letters to Graduates"
My letter was one of a number chosen for publication. I wrote about my expectations for my life as I was graduating college, how I have accomplished some of my goals, and how I have come to believe that, as my father used to quote, "a man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be."
In the July/August issue, "Saving South Dakota's Birds of Prey: The Black Hills Raptor Center"
One of my favorite local non-profits, the Black Hills Raptor Center is in the process of expanding their mission of education of the public and rehabilitation of raptors and owls by building a new facility. I hope my article will bring them more publicity and donations. Chip in a little to help the birds, if you are so inclined.
See their website at BlackHillsRaptorCenter.org
* * *
Homestead House in the fall.
A wonderful time to visit.
At sunset, fifty pronghorn antelope slowly made their way up the hill on the south of the dam, grazing as they went. They've been circling the house for several days now, always nearly invisible in the tawny grass. At the end of the dam, twenty or so geese stood alert, necks extended, watching the pronghorn and the neighborhood for predators. Far to the east, several coyotes began to howl.
Fall and winter are great times to concentrate on your writing as the long dark evenings keep you inside. Instead of lazing in front of the TV, snuggle up to the glow of your computer screen and write, review, revise, polish, and enjoy the satisfaction of creation.
The retreat house is comfortable in any weather: it has a sturdy propane furnace for the cold months and has many electric fans for the dog days of summer. Out in the country the air always cools down at night, so the windows can be opened in the evening as "country air-conditioning." Despite the sunny warm days of fall, at night you'll be glad for the cozy quilts and blankets on each bed.
If you can't make the drive to my prairie ranch this time of year, we can still work on your writing together through a Writing Conversation by eMail.
* * *
In early November we rode the four-wheelers out east of the ranch house to look over some of the pastures. A half-mile away from the buildings, we startled two great horned owls out of one cottonwood and into another. And then we realized one was still left, peering down at us with interest. Perhaps they were a pair and a juvenile, and no doubt they are responsible for those tufts of rabbit fur we've been seeing scattered in the grass! I wish them good hunting--lots of rabbits left, and the Westies exercise the bunnies every morning to keep them in good health for the owls.
In the past two days we have twice seen some small, plump brown birds scurrying through the grass. Yesterday we startled them and they flew, looking just like grouse only the size of my fist. After searching various authorities, we think we have some bobwhite! Wonderful-- but we also saw a red-tailed hawk hunting the field just below the house this morning, so they are probably vulnerable.
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Connect with Windbreak House on Facebook and with my WordPress Blog.
If you "Like" me on this Facebook page you'll get notifications of my newly-posted blogs as well as announcements about my books, writing retreats, and other events to do with Windbreak House.
No kitten videos, but I post Stories from the Writing Retreat and various other writing-related photos, announcements, book reviews, and the occasional joke. You can ask questions and exchange comments with me and other readers of the postings.
You can sign up to follow my WordPress Blog "Notes from a Western Life" here:
Once you've subscribed you will receive the blog in your email, complete with photos. The WordPress blog has the exact same content as the blog on this website, but WordPress allows me to post more photos throughout each entry.
And as a bonus, WordPress does not require you to decipher some squiggly words in order to post a comment. The first time you post a comment you must be approved by me (I know you won't deluge me with annoying spam about sunglasses and other products), but after that you are allowed to comment freely.
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