Page Lambert writes about the western landscape, mentoring and guiding people who want to creatively connect more deeply with the natural world. She facilitates outdoor creative adventures, and her River Writing Journeys for Women with Sheri Griffith Expeditions were featured in Oprah’s O Magazine. Next spring, she’ll lead a group to Peru for “Weaving Words & Women,” a cultural immersion into the ancient, sacred and everyday world of women.
A presenter for numerous literary and professional events, Page has conducted more than 150 workshops in the U.S. and British Columbia and speaks on a variety of writing, motivational, and nature-related topics. She writes a blog, “ALL THINGS LITERARY. ALL THINGS NATURAL.” for those who desire a more creative relationship with the natural world, and is also a creative coach, helping writers define and pursue their personal and professional projects with passion. Page generously agreed to answer 5 questions about the projects that are close to her heart and her plans for the future.
EC: You’ve published fiction, nonfiction, books, essays, short stories, poetry and more. Somehow you’ve managed to cross all of these genres while still maintaining a very distinctive “brand.” Was that a conscious marketing decision or a natural evolution of who you are and what you like to write? Or both?
Page: I think the best author brands evolve organically when the projects we work on are extensions of our passions. I’m passionate about landscape, and the human and animal stories tied to specific landscapes, so this theme is found in all my writing. It is a strong theme in my Wyoming memoir In Search of Kinship (Fulcrum Publishing), yet you’ll also find it in my fiction. All the Water Yet to Come, the Denver novel I’ve been working on for the last eight years, is about family and how the landscape both shapes and controls our destinies. And each poem in the collection Spring Rain, Falling, which won a Wyoming Arts Council Poetry Fellowship several years ago, has strong threads of landscape and family woven throughout.
Recently, I wrote an epic poem taken from the research I’ve been doing for the Denver novel. It’s really a love story to Denver—a deep mapping of the land where Denver sits, from her geological beginnings to her contemporary high rises. The poem became part of the Denver Art Museum’s monumental sculpture by Roxanne Swentzell, “Mud Woman Rolls On.” You can read the poem here, and you can read about how the poem found its way into the heart of “Mud Woman” here.
EC: Nature is a running theme in your projects. What advice do you have for writers who want to incorporate more elements from nature in their writing?
Page: Redefine what nature means to you; expand that understanding. Nature does not exist only outside the windows of our homes. Nature exists in every pore of our bodies. When we reawaken ourselves to our own body’s responses to our environment—how the updraft that stirs the ashes at the base of the fireplace also stirs a sense of foreboding, or how the shadow that falls across the dining room table lengthens as our own energy wanes—then we also reawaken our writing to the sensate world. I’m reading David Abram’s newest book right now, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. When we remind ourselves that we are a part of nature, and that nature is not something separate from ourselves, then we open up the entire world to our characters. Suddenly, setting becomes sensual, whether inside or out. The world in which we’ve set our work becomes a living, breathing world, and our characters begin to physically respond to this world. Nature becomes elemental to our writing.
EC: You have one of the best author websites I’ve ever seen. How did you develop it, and how do you maintain it?
Page: Thank you, Eliza. When I redesigned my site, I asked Sue Winters of Sage Turtle Design to help me design a site that would give the visitor an intimate artistic experience, rather than a commercial dunking. Sue is great at implementing my ideas and adding her own creative design expertise. I wanted the visitor to feel the kind of hospitality when visiting me on the web, as they would feel if visiting me in my home. I use Sue to maintain the site because it’s her area of expertise, not mine, and I like the idea of supporting her sole-proprietorship. She also helped me create a website for the nonprofit Clear Creek Land Conservancy. I’m their Creative Consultant, and Sue and I developed an innovative section for them called “The Canyon as Art.” CCLC is probably the first land conservancy to bring these two concepts together. It’s still a work-in-progress, but I’m excited about it.
EC: When you’re not writing or hosting retreats, you’re also a creative coach. What services do you offer, and what might someone expect if they were interested in working with you in this way?
Page: It’s very easy (for writers especially, and for women writers most of all) to lose that vital sense of purpose necessary to start and complete a creative project. We compare time spent on our creative work to time spent on projects more easily justified, like jobs with paychecks! We mire ourselves in self-doubt. Writing often seems self-indulgent, especially if we’re not selling our work. To learn how to integrate our creative lives with the rest of our lives is critical. Too often, we hold this part of ourselves separate from our work, our family, our spirituality, our physicality, even our happiness. Sometimes clients come to me with very specific, well-defined projects. Sometimes it’s more about re-defining priorities to make room for a creative project. Or it’s more holistic—learning how to integrate these different aspects. I offer a complimentary half-hour consultation, followed either by a single consulting session, or a package deal.
EC: You’ve accomplished so much, traveled to many faraway places and told such diverse and amazing stories. What are you writing these days? What’s still on your bucket list?
Page: Ah, my bucket list! Right now, that list includes more time with my horse; finishing my novel; finishing Sweetwater: A Mountain Cabin, A Life Unfolding (a sequel to my Wyoming memoir); and continuing to work on my poetry collection. I would also like to add a new section to my website called “Page’s Passions,” so that I have a place to post news and links for non-writing related endeavors like land conservancy, sustainable ranching, and tribal colleges. This could also be a place to talk about organizations that I’m involved with like the Children & Nature Network and the Vore Buffalo Jump Foundation, or projects like the community barn-raising that I’m co-chairing here in Mount Vernon. And it would give me a chance to toot the horn of other authors who share these same passions.
Page’s fall weekend seminar at Mount Vernon Country Club (Golden, Colorado) will use Robert Olen Butler’s book From Where You Dream: the Process of Writing Fiction for both guidance and inspiration. Check here for updated details. If you’d rather get away for a couple of weeks, and have always dreamed of visiting Macchu Pichu, check out her April 2012 “Weaving Words & Women” retreat.