Each of our meetings brings together some members who have been with us from the beginning and some new fellow travelers. Once again we (14 of us this time) met in Willow's beautifully artistic home, and the setting and the conversation were intimate. There is such richness in the discussions we have with each other, this group of deeply thinking, intelligent and articulate lesbians. We shared life stories prompted by whatever moved us in our reading of The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew-- Three Women Search for Understanding by Ranya Idilby. We were a more intimate group of fellow readers and friends when we left this meeting. We missed those of you who could not join us and hope you will come again, or join us for the first time.
Our next meeting will be on Saturday, February 8, from 4:00-6:00 pm at Willow's house. We will read Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris. We would love to have you join us! You are welcome whether you have read the book or not--the conversation will be rich regardless. Each time we are joined by some who have not read the book, and I think they can attest that the conversations start with the book and roam freely into the rest of our lives.
Please remember to change your RSVP if your plans change. I'd rather not limit the size of the meetup and it's helpful to know how many chairs we really need. Meeting space and beverages will be provided. As a way of increasing community among us, please bring some small edible thing to share, but empty hands are fine, too.
From the publisher and reviewers:
"After 20 years of living in the "Great American Outback," as Newsweek magazine once designated the Dakotas, poet Kathleen Norris (The Cloister Walk) came to understand the fascinating ways that people become metaphors for the land they inhabit. When trying to understand the polarizing contradictions that exist in the Dakotas between "hospitality and insularity, change and inertia, stability and instability.... between hope and despair, between open hearts and closed minds," Norris draws a map. "We are at the point of transition between east and west in the United States," she explains, "geographically and psychically isolated from either coast, and unlike either the Midwest or the desert west."
"Like Terry Tempest Williams (Refuge), Norris understands how the boundary between inner and outer scenery begins to blur when one is fully present in the landscape of their lives. As a result, she offers the geography lesson we all longed for in school. This is a poetic, noble, and often funny (see her discussion on the foreign concept of tofu) tribute to Dakota, including its Native Americans, Benedictine monks, ministers and churchgoers, wind-weathered farmers, and all its plain folks who live such complicated and simple lives." --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly:
"Nearly 20 years ago, poet Kathleen Norris and her husband moved from New York to the isolated town of Lemmon in northwestern South Dakota, home of her grandparents. Living there radically changed her sense of time and place, forcing her to come to terms with her heritage, her religious beliefs and the land. Norris learned to value the prairie landscape and to cope with the harsh climate. She found small-town life a mass of contradictions: generous hospitality mixed with suspicion of strangers, inertia and a sense of inferiority. One boon to her new life was a community of Benedictine monks; with them she recaptured her (Protestant) Christian faith and discovered inner peace. This is a fine portrait of the High Plains and its people as well as a very personal memoir of a spiritual awakening."