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Invitation to Wonder: A Writer's Journey
Elizabeth Ayres, author of Invitation to Wonder: A Journey through the Seasons

You never know who you'll meet through a Google search. I met award-winning newspaper columnist and Center for Creative Writing founder Elizabeth Ayres while researching great resources for writers. Since then, Elizabeth has written Invitation to Wonder: A Journey through the Seasons. Here, she describes what prompted the book, and the help and emotional healing writing can bring. Read her first post in the series, and submit a comment or post on the positive effects of writing to Word for Words. The winning selection will be published on the blog and receive an autographed copy of Elizabeth's Invitation to Wonder.

AA: What prompted you to write the book?

EA: I grew up in southern Maryland. Our house stood on a bluff overlooking the Patuxent River just where it enters the Chesapeake Bay. I loved it as a child, but as a teenager I hated it. It was too remote, and there were family tensions I needed to escape, so I left when I was 17 and rarely returned. I lived most of my adult life in New York City, then in northern New Mexico. And all that time, I never really felt connected; I never really felt I had a home. I kept wandering around, lamenting my sad plight, the rootlessness, the alienation so prevalent in American society.

Finally, through a series of rather mysterious events, I moved back to where I'd grown up. The connection to the landscape of my childworld just gushed forth onto the page every time I sat down to write, and the more I wrote, the less estranged I felt, until I came to realize, I belong here in this place, I belong everywhere in the place called Earth. It was a powerful experience of healing for me, personally, and I think it's something we all need to cultivate. Intimacy with Nature's beauty, wisdom and mystery is the antidote to all our ills, really, because the feelings of awe Nature induces make us feel part of something larger. That's why I called the book Invitation to Wonder. I want my readers to step into the place where joy, amazement and insight meet as an ineffable response to the world around us.

To receive an autographed copy of Elizabeth's Invitation to Wonder, post the best comment on the writing life.

Elizabeth Ayres is also the creator of Writing the Wave, Know the Way and two Sounds True audio albums, and her Center for Creative Writing is celebrating its 20th anniversary. She lives with two cats, and spends long hours walking shell-strewn Chesapeake Bay beaches, plucking words from the soft salt breeze. Visit her at Invitation to Wonder.