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Notes from a Western Life
Ranging Far and Wide on the High Plains and Beyond
Linda M. Hasselstrom's Blog

Dawn Wink: “Raven’s Time”

Dawn Wink's book Meadowlark
will be released July 30, 2013.
. . .
Dawn Wink, the author of the forthcoming novel Meadowlark, (Pronghorn Press) based on the lives of her real ancestors, was raised on a ranch in southeastern Arizona but writes about northern South Dakota which she visited often as a young adult when her parents moved to their ranch south of Faith, SD.

Dawn has just returned from Chicago where, she says, “I go to teach construction workers how to teach. What an inspiring, humbling, and always amazing time.” Dawn is teaching the online class "Raven's Time: Wildness and Beauty" through Story Circle Network. For more about the concept of "raven’s time" see Dawn's blog about the class here.

Dawn says “This class explores the beauty and wildness of place through the symbolism of natural elements: including ravens, water, skulls, turquoise, textures, beauty, and wildness. This course reveals these dynamics and seeks to bring understanding through wisdom from the landscape and natural elements. Will focus on content and the craft of writing.” The class is conducted through email, from August 12 through September 9. See a full description of the class at the link above, or go to the Story Circle website, click on "Story Circle Network online" then "Story Circle Network online classes."

I've never met Dawn, but have carried on a lively correspondence with her mother, Joan, also an educator, whom I finally met last year. Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores the tensions and beauty of language, culture, and place. Her first book, Teaching Passionately: What’s Love Got To Do With It?, co-written with Joan Wink, was published in 2004 by Pearson. Dawn is an Associate Professor at Santa Fe Community College, her essays and articles have appeared in journals and magazines. Dawn started a literary, educational, and artistic blog community, Dewdrops, in 2011. Dawn lives with her family in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

You might also look up other classes on the Story Circle website. The Story Circle Network is an international not-for-profit membership organization made up of women who want to document their lives and explore their personal stories through journaling, memoir, autobiography, personal essays, poetry, drama, and mixed-media. On the site you’ll find guidance to online classes, reviews of books by and about women, contests, awards, a speakers’ bureau, want ads, resources for writing your own life, a bookstore, links to other websites and much much more. Look on the website to discover a story circle in your own neighborhood; they exist all around the world.

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For more information:

The Story Circle Network website is

Dawn Wink's blog may be found at

Linda will be giving the keynote speech at the Story Circle Network national women's memoir conference in Austin, Texas on April 11, 2014.
Read about it on this website at Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?

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Kitty Cat's Family

Three of the four kittens available for adoption.
Three kittens play with a toy on a string while the mama cat eats in the background. Photo taken June 25, 2013.
. . .
On April 18, Kitty Cat presented us with five kittens. Two are orange tiger striped with some white, and three are marked like their mother: white with gold decorations.

We suspect the father is a tough old tom we’ve seen around the place at intervals for several years. A retreat writer who spotted him mentioned torn ears and a self-sufficient stalk. We recall that before Kitty Cat disappeared last winter, she had seemed afraid when she was eating in the barn: constantly looking over her shoulder and leaping at the slightest sound. We suspect the other cat was stalking her and the kittens are the result.

A cat’s gestation period is usually 58 to 65 days, meaning the kittens were conceived between February 14 and 21. A retreat guest saw Kitty Cat briefly about the 21st and she showed herself to us March 3. Since then she’s been living primarily in Jerry’s shop, enjoying the comforts of her Cat Loft. A week before her due date, we installed a small carrying crate lined with old towels and she began sleeping there many nights, nesting.

The problem of names is, of course, at the very forefront of our minds. We refused to provide Kitty Cat with a proper name, because we were afraid her wandering ways would take her into the jaws of a coyote and it might be more painful to mourn a named feline than a generic one. Friends, wishing to be helpful, offered numerous possibilities for nomenclature connected either with writing or ranch mythology. We declined.

But now we are in a stew about how to name her offspring. Kitten 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 would be in keeping with the austerity of their mother’s name, but somehow lacking in the pizzazz we expect them to bring to Jerry’s efforts at wood-working. Kitty Cat enjoys leaping to his shoulder when he’s absorbed in a project, though so far she hasn't done so when he’s operating the table saw. So he is already imagining what it will be like to have five kittens leaping and hissing every time he starts a drill or sander. Or napping on the shelf with the sand paper. Or tippy-toeing across the rack of clamps or scaling the heights of the dust-collection system.

One kitten has been adopted and Jerry is considering keeping one, but the rest are available for adoption, free, now that they are old enough. They are socialized, litter-box trained, and used to small dogs, our Westies Cosmo and Toby.

If you’re interested, email me at or leave a message with your telephone number at (605) 255-4064. That telephone is answered only by voice mail.

To see many photos and read about Kitty Cat and the kittens, see my Cat Stories page on this website.

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