Sydney Avey

Dynamic Woman — Changing Times

Know Your Place

May 8, 2014 | The Sheep Walker's Daughter, Travel | 1 comment

One of my happy places

One of my happy places

Do you know your place? Is it where you were born and raised, went away to school, moved across country to live with the one you love, or found your dream job? Is it a landscape that soothes or inspires you, one that you visit often or only in your imagination?

Yesterday a writer friend shared that she has been invited to sign copies of her memoir in the very heart of where her story happens. Today another writer friend confided that her husband is being transferred—she gets to make the scene in the Big Apple! New York City, writer meetups, big book festivals and boutique writer conferences; she’ll get elbow to elbow with literary agents in line for coffee and nosh with publishers at cozy events.

Me? I’m headed to Bakersfield this weekend. I’m teaching a creative writing workshop at Beale Library and signing books at Barnes and Noble. (And, hoping they don’t close their doors before Saturday, or ever…I love Barnes and Noble.)

Bakersfield doesn’t have craggy coast beauty or big city excitement; it has productive soil. Known for oil, agriculture and country music, Bakersfield provided much needed jobs for immigrant Basques in the 1930s. Today, Bakersfield boasts the largest number of Basque restaurants in the United States. Believe it or not, boardinghouse food is yummy. Knowing it is seasoned with a colorful history makes it even better.

I plan to share tidbits about scene development from the many wonderful writing conferences I’ve attended. Working with a prompt, the writers will choose a postcard that depicts a place and then add the element of music, a song plucked from memory, to construct a short scene.

I sometimes wonder as a newbie novelist if it’s my place to be teaching workshops and signing books in a city where I don’t know a soul (except Iola, who I met at Mount Hermon last month, and who agreed to come be a friendly face in the class, God bless her).

This morning I read a selection from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan Prayers gifted to me by my dear friend Arnette “for those times when you don’t have the words.” Isn’t that a writer’s worst fear? Today’s selection was a prayer for joy. The first line read, “All thy ways of mercy tend to and end in my delight.” I pray for this mercy, for myself, my friends visiting places that hold memories and places that promise new adventures, and for you who read my musings (thank you!). May you be in that place where God’s mercy is your delight.

1 Comment


    Great to hear from you again, Sydney! Joy is a great mantra. Although it’s raining here where I am now, the greens are neon and the reds pop. Congrats on your signing bit w Barnes & Noble. I love their stores too!
    From Canada’s west coast,



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