Welcome to Windbreak House.
Celebrating 20 Years of Writing Retreats! (1996 - 2016)
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.
The $28 covers media mail shipping & handling within the USA and any applicable sales tax.
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 2016 and all the details you need to know about applying for a writing retreat (working with me) or a solitary retreat for some peaceful writing and time to think.
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 this year
"Writers Be Wary: Publishers and Their Contracts" -- posted January 1st
Be wise; plan ahead. Prepare yourself for that happy day when your manuscript is ready for publication, by collecting information about the complexities of publishing before you see that first contract. In this blog I list some things you should know, questions to be answered before you sign a contract, and places to find good information.
Read about publishers on my WordPress blogsite
"Cleaning the Stove" -- posted January 8th
Here's the story behind my poem "Cleaning the Stove" (which appears in the book DIRT SONGS). Sadly it is just as relevant now as it was back in 2005 when I was inspired to write it by the Red Lake shooting.
Read the poem and the story behind it on my WordPress blog
"Rendezvous Stories: Crossing Dead Indian Pass" -- posted January 15th
The first in a series of stories about Mountain Man re-enactment camping written more than a decade ago for a never-finished book. "Crossing Dead Indian Pass" gives an introduction to Rendezvous-- what it is, who participates, what the rules are and how they are enforced, and, I hope, shows why people are drawn to the life.
Read the story and see photos on my WordPress blog
"Keeping Journals in an Electronic Age" -- posted January 22nd
Here are my thoughts on the importance of keeping a journal but why you shouldn't rush to post your journal online.
Read about journaling on my WordPress blog
"The Top of the Refrigerator: A Writing Metaphor" -- posted January 30th
Our refrigerator is at the center of our daily activities and yet we seldom look at the top. Similarly, we may be searching the distance for writing ideas when we need to be focusing more closely.
Read my thoughts on observation on my WordPress blog
Because it is time-consuming to update two blogs, I am phasing out the blog on this website to concentrate on my WordPress site. However, many older blogs are available on the Blog Page of this website which you may access by clicking here
In 2015 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 winter.
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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