12 In travel/ usa

postcards from squam – courage

dear friends,

i promise this will be the last time i write about SAW for a while. for someone who doesn’t really write, there’s a lot of words that are falling out of me about my experiences there… not really postcard-size posts at the moment are they?!

today, i want to write about courage…
about how what i am learning is that what tell myself is infinitely more important than what i hear from others…

being surrounded at squam by a lake of creativity i started to believe the words anything is possible.

leonie wise - by susannah
rockstar me. by susannah. used with permission

and these three lovely wahine have contributed to my bravery, simply by being present with me; creating a space where i could safely explore myself and my creativity, whilst shedding some tears and having some belly-laughing fun.

1. elizabeth mcrellish – the squam goddess, creator of this amazing space.
so much has been written about her already. i love what denise andrade has written about her, and the photo she has shared is so amazingly beautiful that i’m just going to send you on over there to check it out yourself. elizabeth is one amazing lady i tell ya.

jen lee - by susannah conway
jen lee. by susannah. used with permission

2. jen lee – whose poem “don’t write” is one of my all time favourites because it speaks so deeply to me.
hers was my first class at squam and it was challenging to say the very least. the fear overcame me in such a rush that i was in tears for most of her class. i took it to challenge myself… explore some pieces of me as yet undiscovered.one of the things i realised when i was at squam was that i’d never really sat and listened to myself. being there was just the space (and the quiet) i needed to start doing this and i’ve been surprised at what i’ve had to say! jen invited me to examine what it was that silenced my voice in the first place. i don’t remember the exact moment that i decided this, though i have long told myself that i’m not worth listening to, so i might as well keep quiet. i could stare into jen’s eyes forever, listen to her stories, fill myself up just being around her.

andrea jenkins - by susannah conway
andrea jenkins. by susannah. used with permission

3. andrea jenkinswhose post about ttv had me scouring vintage stores & camera shops around london for an old camera.
knowing i would get to meet her at squam was definitely a decider for me. her photos – ooh, ooh, ooh! i sense magic in every single one of them. she is so willing to share what she knows and learn from others. she is warm, so huggable and very very easy to fall ridiculously in love with. it was a class where learning felt like play, it was so natural, so easy.

really. my words don’t do these ladies justice. i love them dearly…

there were so many other amazing people i met there – i want to tell you about my wonderful cabin mates, the friends i made, the conversations i had over breakfast, lunch, dinner… words really do fail me about the amazing people, so i’ll just hold them all quietly in my heart and hope that they can feel it from wherever they are.

there was quiet conversations, laughter over wine, tarot card reading by torchlight, early morning swims, a rock-fairy, polaroids, acceptance, love.

send in the clowns
send in the clowns. ttv by me

and the other day,
for the first time ever,
i was brave enough to quietly whisper to myself

“i am an artist”

and it feels really, really good.

* polaroids of me, jen & andrea: captured by the ridiculously talented and beautiful, susannah conway. all used with permission.

  • gkgirl
    06/10/2009 at 14:20

    this sounds like it would be so much fun.

    i am putting this on my life list.
    i am going to do something like this
    at some point in my life…
    i am going to.

    you make it sound so magical.

  • darlene
    28/09/2009 at 20:16

    oh yes, you are absolutely an artist and i am so grateful that i got to spend time witnessing your amazing soul filled beauty. xox

  • BJ Lantz
    28/09/2009 at 19:32

    Yes, dear Sistah, you truly are an artist :-)


  • andrea
    27/09/2009 at 16:50

    oh leonie. you are an artist. a thousand times over. what an absolute joy it was to finally meet you, to have you in the workshop. so totally honored by your words, friend. feeling so blissed out over it all. head over heels in love with YOU. xo

  • Linni
    27/09/2009 at 07:27

    You are beautiful inside/out.
    The ‘artist’ part is extra…teehee…
    so imagine that…you are already
    sooo amazing…and you’re an artist too!!!!

    Oh Leonie…if you just knew!!!

    Love you xx

  • Lisa
    26/09/2009 at 22:30


    I am SO, SO, SO happy for you!

    How wonderful that you could be there ~ and have such an amazingly powerful experience!

    I’m smiling on the inside and out for you :-)

  • traceyclark
    26/09/2009 at 21:03

    oh sigh. wish i was there. it must have been magic.

  • judy wise
    26/09/2009 at 19:14

    darn tootin’ you are (an artist).

    beautiful post. thank you for all the good link-love. xo

  • tanaya
    26/09/2009 at 14:09

    god, i just want to kiss that gorgeous face of yours. i’m so glad that you got what you needed out of squam and i can’t wait to see where this newfound courage takes you.

    miss ya like crazy, t

  • kristen
    26/09/2009 at 13:33

    This is so inspiring and beautiful and I feel blessed to have met you & to have shared that night. xo

  • Tara Bradford
    26/09/2009 at 12:03

    Oh Leonie, I knew you were an artist from the moment I met you! xoxox

  • Susannah
    26/09/2009 at 11:42

    i love you. you shine so bright xo