the whole of squam…

Sep 17, 2008 | Life in Progress

can i just say that sometimes i feel myself actually wanting to write – as in being a writer, as in having some structure around writing, as in claiming that voice. it’s a strange thing, as i’ve never really felt compelled to write, but lately this whisper has been calling me more than ever. i want to get to know the language of words a bit more. i want to explore that whole world with intention. i want to read and write and write some more. i want to be a painter and a writer. my god, how strange.


this is what it looked like in new hampshire. pretty amazing.

ok, i really want to talk about squam. squam. it was a whole lot of things mixed in 6 days for me so i’ll start from the beginning. it’s a windy journey complete with bliss, tears, understanding, friendship, and joy – bear with me. it all started with me sitting between andrea and denise on the plane ride over to new hampshire. the three of us chatted for an entire five hours and by the time we all arrived at the new hampshire airport to our friend jen gray waiting for us, well, i was blissed out.

total bliss continued as we met up that evening with elizabeth, and liz, and judy, and so many others as we all prepared to welcome in the experience of squam. it was all starting to happen and i knew it would be an important experience for everyone attending. you know that feeling of sparkles in the stomach? i had that. the people, the trees, the water, the stars, the darkness, the energy – i felt wrapped in it.

some moments i will always remember included watching elizabeth’s dream unfold. our creative dreams both unearthed at artfest a couple of years ago and to see her dream in action, spreading into the hearts and lives of everyone who attended made me want to jump for joy for her and for everyone else. she totally created magic. and i was beaming with pride for her the entire time.

(cutie pies jenica + kirsten. i really wanted to spend time with these ladies and their posse of girls, but time escaped us all. )

i also loved watching the creative spirits of everyone who attended totally transform. i observed communities forming, friendships beginning, wide smiles in the lunchroom, girls skipping down the dirt paths, bellows of group laughter, tender moments of release + expression. i witnessed art being born from women claiming, maybe for the first time, that they too were artists. i felt power and capacity from women who were finally finding their passion, their community. the energy was huge and alive. and quite honestly, it had me out of sorts from time to time as i tried to manage the emotional enormity of it all.

another moment i will always remember was watching mati as she gave her talk on thursday nite. i felt our friendship deepen and expand over the course of squam as we treaded new beginnings and took a leap together. i almost bawled my eyes out during our introductions of one another – we’ve come a long way in our 1.5 years of knowing one another and it’s been a meaningful friendship. i’ve been to many a creative art retreat, but this was mati’s first of this kind and i loved watching her love it.

jonatha + liz.
cabin mates jonatha (total rockstar) and liz elayne (fabric goddess)

i also loved our cabin. sommers 86, you have a piece of my heart. i loved you from the minute i stepped into your log cabin ways. i took a couple long hot baths in your clawfoot tub in total darkness as the sound of rain kept me company. i fell asleep in front of your glowing fireplace. i made messy art on your ginormous back porch that was enclosed by trees and greenery. at nite, your spacious living room held laughter, and stories, and soul. thank you for carrying us, for housing us on those very cold evenings. i hope i get you next year 🙂

i loved spending time with my friends, some women i’ve known for years and others i just met – all of us pulled in a million directions, but still feeling grounded in a connection that moves past detailed conversation and time, and into split second heart-to-heart moments. that’s all it takes sometimes. just the essence of another soul who gets you – even in the pullings of time and people and situations.

sarah. love her.
the adorable sarah ahearn and her paintings.

one more thing before i move on: vendor nite. total blur (thank you so much to everyone who stopped by – happiness all around). i loved watching liz elayne’s creations fly off the table. i’ve been waiting for her to have this moment and there it was – so very cool. and i loved meeting sarah ahearn. i feel a deep unexplained sisterhood with this woman and it was magic to meet her even if just for a few moments. her mom was there, but before i knew it was her mom, i reached over the table toward her and said “you look exactly like my mom!” so there you have it – more of that sisterhood feeling explained.

judy wise, my hero.
she sees us all..our hero, judy wise.

there was a moment at squam, between all of the bliss and love, that i fell apart. it came on an evening where i felt so happy, so in love with my life, and so in love with my brand new sparkly eye make-up (courtesy of cabin mate and dear soul jonatha). it was a moment that found me totally by surprise, but led me to a heavy and intense release of tears and emotion. i think it’s been coming for awhile, this release. and for whatever reason, my heart found a safe and tender moment where it felt ok to let go of the fast pace of the last several weeks. to let go of the nerves that led the way through book releases and public speaking. to let go of hurt feelings and expectations, disappointment, and even a little bit of ego. what i also learned in those moments was this: that i’m a just a girl like everyone else with dreams and plans. that i have dear dear friends who will see me through the floodwaters and will still see the brightness and gift of me after the release. that it all matters, every piece of it. it just means i’m human. it just means i’m alive.

squam was really good for my heart + soul. i so needed it. thank you, elizabeth, for what you created. you did it!

more highlights to come later, including a very special photo session with a very special woman.

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (26 comments)
  1. Kirsten Michelle

    beautiful you, it was such a highlight meeting you…
    such an honor to spend what little tidbits of time here and there in your presence.
    thank you for this.
    oh, how i miss it all so much.

  2. shimmer & shadow

    I’m laughing at you when you say that you want to be a writer… hello! you have a published book!!! and it is wonderfully written. I just finished reading it from beginning to end and am so inspired. You know there are tons of writers whose biggest dream is being published. Now, now don’t be minimizing what an amazing accomplishment you’ve made. I think what you really mean is that you want to keep on writing… I know I want you to so that I can keep reading your lovely words.
    play well,

  3. Boho Girl

    i think that plane ride with you and andrea set the tone for me as far as feeling relaxed and at peace and full of purpose for my time there. thank you for that gift…and for that kindred exchange.

    it was a treat to see you and Mati Rose up on stage together as bosom friends, telling your stories. beautiful and precious.


  4. Whimsies & Folksies

    The time you spent at Squam sounds like life-changing days. No wonder your emotions were brought to the surface! I just got your new book yesterday and have begun my journey through it, savoring every delicious page! Inspirational art, wonderful words, and a beautiful book!

  5. Amy

    So great to meet you at Squam, fun to share a cabin with you, and an extra dose of coolness to get to spend extra “airport trip” time with you and Madi.



  6. Rita vindedzis

    I wanted to attend Squam so badly but this year the timimg just wasn’t right for me. Next year for sure. I want, no I NEED to experience this!!

    I received my copy of Taking Flight in the post yesterday and have read it through. I was expecting instructions to make beautiful artwork and found it to be speaking to my heart. Beautifully written Kelly Rae. You certainly are an artist and a writer. Thank you.


    what a wonderful time…thanks for sharing….I knew you’d adore our beautiful NH….I’d love to make it to Squam next year. 🙂

  8. curious girl (lisa)

    I am speechless.

    “girls skipping down dirt paths”…that brought tears to my eyes.

    I’m in next year. I want to skip, explore, open, expand, absorb.

    In fact, I think I will skip today.

  9. Anonymous

    Kelly Rae
    I love reading your daily entries.Sounds like all you ladies had the time of your life.As far as writing go for it girl.You have a knack of keeping everything interesting , you write with such truthfulness and always so inspiring.
    Love Lorraine xx

  10. kellyrae

    pixie, your family is so adorable! and your husband was SO sweet in how fast acting he was to buy it and hide it from you…totally darling.

  11. pixie


    it was so lovely to spend thirty seconds in the bathroom with you on vendor night. !!! it is true, everyone was so pulled in a million directions. i had been fawning over your book at nina gilbert’s house on the way up to squam and ON vendor night, i was trying to figure out how i was going to get one more damn thing in my suitcase home when i decided i would just order Taking Flight when i returned home. so last night at birthday dinner, i was opening up a suspiciously bookish package, and looked at my hubs exclaiming, “Is this Kelly Rae’s book!!?? Did she sign it??” you can imagine the rest. i’m so happy to have a piece of your creative dream to soak up and enjoy. you are a BIG BRIGHT light in this creative community.
    love, pix

  12. jenica

    you said this all so perfectly. you are a writer. you are an artist. you are a lucid dreamer, taking the steps to reach your goals. i’m so happy that we got to spend a little time together, and i can’t wait to spend more time with you in the future.


  13. Liz

    oh, to read your words, brings fresh tears back up into my eyes, cleansing, happy, perfect tears… you put words to so many things I have been thinking (you are a writer!)… thank you for more of your thoughts and for the beautiful images that bring it all back like a beautiful wave on a smooth sandy floor

  14. mati rose

    mmmm… kelly, loving all of this.
    love you. love us. love squam. love everyone that is part of this experience and open. feeling the love 🙂

  15. Kel

    So so magic, thank you for sharing! And well done, for stepping up and being so brave and spreading your magic!

  16. Anonymous

    oh Miss KRR–

    SO much to say, but FIRST– HOW gorgeous is Kirsten’s black top?!! omg– thank god for everyone’s pictures so I can take the time to let it all settle in ..

    now, second, you ARE a writer. right now, this moment. And, you should know I took Taking Flight into my Eng 102 class yesterday (I teach writing at the New Hampshire Institute of Art) and read passages to them from the “telling our stories” section and they LOVED it–

    I do feel so very connected with you as we did both have big turning points in our lives in 2006 at Artfest and how cool that it is all growing as it is– truly so wild

    okay and the LAST thing (for now)– given that we are artists, creative spirits who have perhaps a dash more sensitivity, a dollop more emotional layering, why is it strange that we find ourselves in tears when we are in a surrounding that brings all that to the fore?

    it’s normal– it’s to be expected– what you did was HUGE!!! my absolute worst fear is talking in front of a crowd and you did it!!

    you. did. it.

    Bisous, Elizabeth

  17. Jennifer/The Word Cellar

    “i want to be a painter and a writer. my god, how strange.” i’m on the opposite side of this, as the writer who wants to also be a painter. my god, how strange, indeed. maybe you’re the yin to my yang. 🙂

  18. Jill Nalette

    I’m hoping you come next year and that I go as well. I want to feel the way I felt that night I met you and Mati. So much is going on for me that I lose those happy and joyous moments. You have an aura around you that is a blessing to be around.
    ~Jill Nalette

  19. stacy kathryn

    so magical, and your post said it all. It was lovely to meet you, you have such an amazing energy! Your post really summed it all up. I am still trying to find the words to post.

  20. kristen

    your photos and words capture everything perfectly.
    you really did have an amazing cabin.

  21. Judy Wise

    you are so precious. I am reliving every glorious moment of joy and emotion as I recount the memories in the quiet of my home.(((((hug)))))

  22. Lelainia N. Lloyd

    Sounds like this really was a communion of spirit. I wish I’d been there.

    You’re right about the need for tears. I think tears are how the stress (both good and bad) leaks out. Gentley and silently.

  23. Swirly

    It was lovely indeed.

  24. jenifer74

    you are making crazy jealous that i wasn't able to be there & also, insanely scheming on how i can get there next year 🙂

    thanks for this recap, it's awesome to read about!

  25. melanie

    that recap of squam brought
    happy tears to my eyes.

    soak it up, kelly rae, you
    totally deserve all this
    magic and much more! 🙂

    reader and lurker

  26. sarah ahearn bellemare

    thank you my dear kelly rae…
    i too was so happy to finally meet you. again soon…
    xo *your new found sister.


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Hello + welcome!

I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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