"Earth Joy Writing" encourages writers and nature lovers alike to reconnect with nature through writing exercises

Cassie Premo Steele is on a mission to help people reconnect with nature.

Released by Ashland Creek Press, her book "Earth Joy Writing" helps readers reconnect with nature, themselves and others through nature-based exercises, journaling prompts, meditations and reflections.

As part of a Pacific Northwest tour, Premo Steele will lead a free workshop and introduce people to her book from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, at the Ashland Library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd.

The South Carolina author shared thoughts about the book and the importance of nature in an interview.

Q. Could you describe your book?

A. “Earth Joy Writing” is divided by the seasons and months of the year. Readers can open the book whenever and wherever they are to find reflections and exercises on the natural world that will inspire them to write more deeply about themselves, the environment, and the world we are co-creating.

The book is hopeful, inspiring, and healing — words we don’t usually associate with our relationship to nature. This is because as a trauma scholar I have studied the ways writing can be instrumental in helping us heal from trauma — and our history with nature can be seen as a traumatic history of violence and objectification.

“Earth Joy Writing” helps us begin to heal that history.

Q. What can people expect if they go to the Aug. 2 workshop?

A. In my workshops, I teach people how to write in relationship with their deepest selves. It’s not a typical “writing workshop” in that we don’t share our writing. This is because when we know we are going to share our writing, we write for others, and we often don’t tell the deepest truths.

I show people how to get calm, get quiet and go within so that they can listen to the wise voice within and write down what it is saying. From this place of wisdom, we open to nature in new ways — not as a “thing” out there, but as a partner in a relationship with us who wants to communicate with us, who has lessons to teach us.

But it’s also really fun. There’s laughter. There’s music. My wife will be with me and she’ll perform her song, “Clarity,” which she co-created with me for an Earth Joy Writing workshop years ago. We were just married in June in South Carolina, so the book tour is also a honeymoon for us. So there will be that energy — joy!

 Q. Could you give an example of an exercise or journaling prompt in the book?

A. Everyone on earth is born with certain gifts and talents. One way to reconnect with these gifts is to think about what you used to do outdoors as a child.

Try this: Go outside and recreate the action, the motions of your earliest gifts and talents as they were expressed outside in nature. Then write about what you remember about your connection to the earth as a child. What steps can you take in your life now to reclaim this connection?

Q. How can people get your book?

A. I’ll have copies for sale and signing at the workshop — plus some special gifts!

For those in Ashland who want to support their local economy, the book is also available from Ashland Creek Press at www.ashlandcreekpress.com.

And the book’s website, www.earthjoywriting.com, has links where people can buy the book, listen to audio meditations, watch video mini-workshops, and sign up for a monthly e-zine.

Reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.