Dear friends of PW,

It seems a long time since summer and our wonderful August Immersion at the Trinity Retreat Center in West Cornwall, Connecticut. Ann Mullen and Karen Graff scouted it out last winter and by any standard landed us a winner. Spacious and gorgeous, inside and out. Luxurious yet simple. Great chef. Great staff supporting the humble work of Proprioceptive Writing. Those who attended created another kind of miraculous happening—always the case when people gather to do PW, and especially now after long months of pandemic isolation. We’ve signed up for next year from August 6–11. So do yourself a favor: Get out your 2022 calendars and mark those dates.

Since I was going east for the Immersion, I decided to make a 5-week PW bonanza of it, spending the first week with Anne Bright, in her home atop Lookout Mountain, land of giant boulders and limestone bluffs. We’ve been working steadily on Zoom for the last year, creating what we expect to be the ultimate version of the PW Instructor Course. In week one of my travels, working side by side with Anne from morn till night, with information pouring in from what Walter Ong calls “the human life world,” we made great headway on our project. More on the Instructor Course in the next newsletter.

From Chattanooga I flew to New York City, staying on 9th Avenue with my lifelong friend Phyllis Gerstein, host to many a PW participant and mother of PW personage Lara Gerstein, who offers PW work a few blocks further up 9th. I spent time with nephews and treasured friends. New York City: home to parents, grandparents, and my own history. So that was week two: me in my homeland.

Week three of the bonanza I spent with Karen and Ann in Saranac Lake where, as it happens, back in the 1940s, in my first two years of life, my father sat still in a sanatorium breathing the good air of Saranac Lake to cure himself of TB. I have a photo of him standing beside my mother on a well-mown lawn sloping down from the Admissions Building. She had taken a long bus ride upstate from Manhattan to visit Jerry. Ann took my picture standing on that same lawn. Also, she got us talking to the archivist at the Saranac Lake library who looked for a yellowed 3×5 card with the name Jerome B. Trichter on it but no luck on that one. Back at their lakeside home, Karen made bagels from scratch. We sat together on their deck by the glacial lake and talked PW. Evenings we watched Alone (my then favorite Netflix series which they got into). When you’re having fun, time flies, as they say, and In a flash, week four was upon us, so off we drove to Trinity Retreat Center, and the PW Immersion itself.

Week 4: The PW Immersion
An event for the good of the individual. A happening for the common good.

Week five— la pièce de résistance, a week of ocean swims with Jane Burdick, who, with Mary Bok, was one of two anointed PW teachers way back when. 1980? They were my sisters. Driven from Connecticut to Jane’s door by Elizabeth McMahon, a West Coast PW practitioner attending the East Coast Immersion, and, as luck would have it, like me, visiting an old friend in Portland, Maine. Lots of laughs on the drive up.

Maine–where PW became a grassroots movement in the last two decades of the 20th century, and a PW community sprung up. Jane and I drove up the coast to Lincolnville for a visit with Linda Tatelbaum and her family. Linda T: Stone wall builder, homesteader, planter & gatherer, canner, mother, Colby professor of English, Maine writer; and the first to respond to a small ad I had placed in the local newspaper when we first arrived in Rockport, announcing myself and Toby as teachers of PW working out of a small first floor office (once a coat room) of the Old School House (formerly Rockport’s high school) overlooking Rockport harbor. Jane and I had hoped to see Mary Bok and Ginny Keegan on our Mid-Coast jaunt, but our trip got cut short, due to car trouble, and we headed back down to Portland. There, at Jane’s place, one loved friend visited us each day: Ben Levine, Kaitlin Briggs, Arifa Boeher, Katarina Weslien, Steve Page—each intricately woven into my life through PW, each with his or her own history with PW and the extended community it formed in Rockport and Portland. Though many years have passed since we’ve seen each other, we never lost the sense we had of each other when doing PW together. There we were, right where we left off. You can imagine how important these visits felt, leading as they did to loving joy-filled time together. It made one think: the bond PW creates among those who have practiced it makes this world a safer, happier place.

All in all, it was a restorative five weeks. Some folks said I was brave for traveling, but it wasn’t bravery that made me travel. It was more like heart hunger—like a need to know and be known. If I missed you on this PW tour, let’s hope we’ll connect on the next.



photo 1-2
Two-year-old Linda with her father, Jerry Trichter.

 The Man I Couldn’t Stop Learning From

I’ve wanted to begin my first post on this new site with something juicy so here it is:  Proprioceptive Writing has a future. Yay!  The plan has been a long time acomin’. In the future, PW Center Teaching Faculty will teach PW through the Proprioceptive Exploratory Practice, the teaching method I’ve practiced myself all these years. Check out the new course list. It’s the curriculum people move through to become and (eventually) train others to become PWC teaching faculty. Also, this site gives me space to communicate with PW teachers (and others) and gives them space to communicate with each other. Hmm.…yummy.

So with a curriculum and the prospect of a growing teaching faculty in place, I’m in the future I dreamt of as I traveled the dusty trail to get here. Now, on this site, in this space called “Linda’s Notebook,” I’d write for others about my father, Jerry Trichter, the man I couldn’t stop learning from; proprioceptively, the one I’d been writing about forever, stuffing stapled pages into files, labeling and mislabeling them, losing track of them, finding them again amidst loose papers hiding in other files with other names.  

The moment had arrived when I would confront my long harbored ambition to speak of Jerry in relation to PW and as part of the nuclear family that was my history. But just as I sat down to begin the tale, something horrible happened. The fun drained out of it, like blood from a corpse. And as the plan I felt such pleasure in went dead, despair and hopelessness overtook me. Mystified and mourning for my lost interest, I scrambled to explain my feelings to myself. And here’s what happened next.

An inner visual image came to mind of a woman in her 80’s, of strong New England stock, who attended a workshop with us at Rowe Conference Center, way back when, grimly clutching a troubling question to her chest. Why had she stopped writing the book about her mother as it neared completion, and why couldn’t she start again? Then, in the last Write of the weekend, it occurs to her to think that by finishing it, she’ll lose the great interest that kept her fire burning all these years. There’s a reason, for you. But so what? Maybe when this project is done, new ones will begin. With this thought her sober face breaks into a tearful smile and in that nanosecond I photograph her mentally.

As I was considering whether her fear was mine, a second visual image popped into mind, this from a documentary I once saw on TV, its subject a famous photographer returning, after 40 years away, to a small city in Hungary to photograph scenes of his early life. In my mind’s eye I see him as the documentarian filmed him, focusing his old Nikon on the entrance to the bullet-holed apartment building where he grew up. In voice over, we hear his thought. “Is this photograph only for me?” he asks, philosophically.  And with apparent resignation, he answers, “Who knows? We’ll see.”

“Only for me?” What if I fail to make what’s important to me meaningful to others? That’s the fear that made my blood run cold. On the heels of this reason came a fresh thought, that imagining failure isn’t very different from imagining success. Which raised my spirits and moved me with resolve along my path. Now onward.