Hermit Fest & Creative Energy

While I'm busy writing stories and homeschooling, my husband Greg works full-time as a project manager and pursues his love of music through reviewing albums, hosting a folk music blog and radio show on Radio Boise, and helping to organize events like Hermit Music Festival.

The kids continue their homeschooling the way we do in the summers: camping, exploring, volunteering, traveling, going to festivals and workshops, participating in summer reading programs, practicing math---and then running.

They run everywhere, in any heat, through dirt and grass, with shoes and without, through 5ks and sprinklers. Apparently running is the perfect warm-up for any activity, the perfect break from difficult school work, and the perfect way to end every day.  So, yeah, there's running.  Also. . .

Our 15yo analyzes her SAT scores, works on advanced math with a vengeance, and volunteers for a half a dozen different organizations (the public library, a natural science museum, ACLU---and more). She's also learning to drive and she's started writing a new novel.

Our 11yo's energy never wavers. He's discovered a new passion for geocaching, continues to experiment with film-making, and yesterday spent the day designing and redesigning windmills. After watching me plan my latest book, he also started one of his own.  (He's now on chapter three while I'm still working on my set-up.)

Our 8yo possesses a great talent for sewing (just like her grandma), she sits patiently with our new kittens, and she's writing a book about the presidents (complete with quirky details, smart illustrations and perfect, tiny handwriting).

Our family reads together all the time.  Oldest averages a book every couple days and she now recommends titles for me as well as for her siblings. The younger two have been reading Angie Sage's Magyk series together, racing to the end, creating their own games to go along with the story. Greg reads intriguing titles about nature and conservation and I read anything my kids wave in front of my face (and when I don't, they read their selections aloud to me).  I also devour my colleague's treasures (both published and in progress) and I'm on a mythology kick at the moment---craving odd bits from books with library envelopes still glued to inside covers.  I'm working on a YA series, revising a YA stand-alone, waiting for word on a MG novel I have out to a publisher, and researching an obscure bit of family history that won't let me rest.

The amazing thing for me is how this environment contributes to my overall feeling of well-being and my overall energy level.  Several years ago I wrote a post about energy, in which I encouraged everyone to focus on those things that make us want to get up every morning.  Dreaming and moving forward with dreams not only makes our lives better, but also inspires others.

During Hermit Fest, I spent all my time around talented musicians. Despite the fact that I don't make music myself, I came home full of ideas and energy for writing stories. Oldest found a new approach for tackling tough math problems. Middle kiddo started designing windmills. Youngest tore apart a cereal box and created a house for her own world of characters.

A friend asked me how we find the time to do all the creative extra things in our life.  It took me a second to answer because creative activities are not extra things.  They're the foundation for everything.

Hermit Fest, Friday night

The festival was held at Indian Creek Winery.  This video features James Coberly Smith and Le Ann Towne, Possum Livin, Huck Notari and The River, Water Tower, and Charlie Parr:

Hermit Fest, Saturday afternoon

Featuring Johnny Shoes and The Rhythm Rangers, Tracy Morrison and  Bill Parsons, Crystal City, Jonathan Warren and The Billy Goats, High Desert Band, and Country Club:

Hermit Fest, Saturday night:

Featuring Hillfolk Noir, The Cactus Blossoms, Petunia and The Vipers, and Wayne "The Train" Hancock:


  1. I wish my kids would run more! I seem to have the only kids who would rather sit in the grass than run around. Unless they're inside. Then they bounce off the walls. LOL! I love all the creative activities you do with your kids! Great job mama!

  2. John Ross Barnes (@BarnestormJohn)July 31, 2013 at 4:50 AM

    Deja-Vu, I thought I had commented already. I love this. I wish I had half of your energy.

    The Hermit Fest stuff is great.


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