May- early mornings, writing, and ritual

Montpelier bridge

May has been a whirl of activity but let’s start with the 30-day challenge I began in April. My goal was to wake up every day, at 5:18 am, for 30 days. I missed a couple of days, primarily because after the second weekend I asked myself, “Why are you getting up this early on the weekend?” I modified the challenge and did not set an alarm on Saturdays and Sundays; however, even without an alarm, after about four days I found myself naturally stirring around 5:15 am.


Rising early set me up for the next goal for May. I had been accepted for the Vermont College of Fine Arts Novel Retreat, which took place May 15-21. This experience was positive and affirming for me as a writer because I was able to accomplish a few goals I established for the retreat:

  • Spend hours a day writing, starting a new (and lengthy) project that I want to write,

  • Attend craft sessions and readings,
  • Be an active participant in a community of other writers and authors who were also writing, reading their work, and leading sessions, and
  • Get away to a place free of my typical daily distractions so that I could work.


organ at VCFA

I shot this photo of the organ pipes in the chapel – they reminded me of newly sharpened pencils, which seemed appropriate for writers.

This was also my first trip to Vermont, and Montpelier is a charming town. I did not get to explore as much as I wanted (next time) but walked down the steep hill from VCFA to Main Street, where I browsed shops, Bear Pond Books, and had the spiciest Thai meal I’ve had in my life at Wilaiwan’s on State Street.




Memorial Day weekend was spent in Cincinnati—to celebrate a graduation and see my family.  I went by the cemetery to visit my mother’s gravesite, wanting to continue a tradition she had for Memorial Day. Many decades ago, her mother-in-law (my grandmother) Mary Elizabeth gave my mother, Mary Theresa, a rosebush. That bush traveled from my parents’ first home, to their second, and on Memorial Day, my mother would trim roses to place on my grandmother’s stone, and share a few with other family who are buried nearby. The last few years I had gone to the cemetery with my mother, as recently as last year. She passed away in September of 2017, and I wanted to make sure that she and my grandmother received their roses.  This small ritual gave me such joy, and when I arrived there I also saw flowers and other mementos that my brothers had placed on her gravesite.

At VCFA, I thought a lot about my mother because she was always one to encourage me to try new things, especially if it involved travel. I am grateful I had the dedicated time to write and hope I’ll be able to share that work with the world later on. I am also blessed to have had my mother on this earth for so many years, and I feel her spirit delighting in my adventures.

I am ready for summer, excited to see what it brings.

6 thoughts on “May- early mornings, writing, and ritual

  1. Leslie says:

    I’m so happy you were able to have this time to do what you love. I am excited about what the future holds for you as a writer. Thank you for always sharing and showing us how to find inspiration in so many places.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nimbilasha Cushing says:

    Ramona I’m in my car right now so speaking a quick message. just thought about you 2 days ago. was going to send you a note and ask where is my blog friend? and now here you have sent something. I will read it later today. with cousins who are here from Saint Louis visiting my brother. hope all is well with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Annick says:

    Dear Ramona
    Glad to read you had a lovely time in Vermont !
    Looking forward to also read your writing ✍️..
    See you soon
    Take great care


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