Catherine Rees offered a session on May 11.

Catherine Rees has been writing since she became aware of a subterranean world in her body that when listened to, respected in all its voices and written down, enticed her, as an ally, with the deep desire to create a soulful, purposeful, authentic life. As the AWA Philosophy and Practices indicates in Pat Schneider’s own words, Catherine has written for artistic expression, the  healing of her inner life, communication with her family and friends, and has achieved public recognition for her art throughout her creative life of 30+ years. She is an avid nature photographer and one of her leading passions is to merge images with poetic language; creating PhotoStories or PhotoPoems which invite people into deeper connection with the earth closest to them. The theme for her workshop for WAW 2021 was “Nature and Memoir” and all prompts were designed to explore our relationship with the spirit/soul of the land; ‘Genius Loci’. She can be reached at

Pat Schneider and Catherine Rees pictured together in 2013.
(Photo courtesy of: Catherine Rees)



by Lisabeth Simpson

Oooh! Ugh!  I have to remove you from my flower garden — you don’t belong!

But I do belong!  Ive put down deep, deep roots!  Im bringing moisture and nutrients up to be shared with the others here.  Do you think only the flowers you so dearly bought belong? 

Okay, I’ll accept that.  But what else are you really good for?

Dont you remember many years ago when you harvested my leaves for salads and my roots to make coffee?  You put my sunny, yellow head under the chins of your young daughters and teasingly asked, Do you like butter?”  They giggled gleefully at the absurdity of it all!

Okay, okay.  I do remember that a little.  Any other reason I shouldn’t pull you from here?

Ah, yes, remember when you found the ancient recipe for mead — a honey drink you made with the blossoms of so many of us.  You let it steep in the sun for weeks until the buzz of alcohol emerged.  Then you shared it with your hippie friends after youd toked up.

Yes, yes, yes!  You belong!


Beauty Seeker

by Catherine Rees

It’s always been that way for me. As a five year old, I’d go nose to nose with tiny field flowers, marvel upon the waxy yellow petals and slender stem of the buttercup, pluck daisy petals one by one; “He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not” pining for “he loves me” or munch on wild clover. Days, weeks, months, years and decades would forge my imagination and my will  to seek beauty through the lens of a camera and the droplets of poetic language on a black page and in time share my creation with others. Both these creative outlets eased my heartache, sutured my despair and still does, as the world and its trauma pummels its unrelenting drama. I therefore named myself “Beauty Seeker”. A wholehearted storyteller once gifted and instilled me with this story: “There was a teacher who, it was said, could find beauty anywhere. One of his students, trying to trip him up, took him on a walk at night and into an alleyway where a dog many days dead, lay. He pointed out this sight to his teacher, who remarked: “Look at how the teeth gleam in the moonlight like pearls. How beautiful!” I believe this is how John Muir, a famous naturalist and conservationist often referred to as the  “Father of the National Parks” encountered the earth, as he walked thousands of miles through unexplored landscape and then strived to scribble notes in such a way as to help us to see what he saw and  feel what he felt. 

I mosey over to the kitchen sink, my eyes greet the bright face of the world, while the warmth of my coffee mug infuses my cupped fingers. I too dream of a world where people cherish and protect our Great Mother in reciprocal  love.

Thank you for joining us to Write Around the World!

For the rest of the summer, watch our blog! We are sharing writing from AWA’s yearly marathon fundraiser, which happened this year all-online throughout the month of May.

We offer this series in appreciation for the incredible community of writers and workshop leaders that sustain us. If you’re inspired and would like to be part of the fundraiser, please donate!