Freeland resident Annie Thoe realized it was time to take some risks, and it paid off.
The 50-year-old writer recently won a scholarship to the prestigious 25th Anniversary Summer Fishtrap: A Gathering of Writers workshop held July 9 to 15 in Wallowa Lake, Ore. Thoe was awarded the Sally Bowerman/Bob Hall Scholarship for $650.
“I have been writing poetry off and on since I was a kid,” Thoe said.
She admits she’s been shy about writing poetry and has been mainly exploring essays.
“My mother could recite the entire book of ‘101 Best Poems,’ and her passion for poetry is probably the reason I am here today. My dad fell in love with my mother’s poetry recitations while canoeing at Silver Lake, Iowa,” the writer added.
“Often, my brothers and I would sit for hours around the table and listen to her recite poem after poem. The images, rhythms and cadence rubs off a little, and is lodged deep in my memory.”
Thoe was encouraged to apply for the fellowship by local writer and teacher Molly Cook, who offers private writing mentorship through her Skylark Writing Studio, and publicly in writing workshops at the Coupeville Library in a collaboration with the Whidbey Island Arts Council.
“I have to give credit to Molly, who has been working with me as a writing mentor since last fall,” Thoe said. “I knew I needed someone who had a good ear for writing and editing skills, who could encourage and also push me a little — Molly has been great for that.”
Besides poetry, Thoe said she is focusing on two areas in her writing — nature essays and stories and essays on healing for various physical conditions and injuries using movement awareness and Feldenkrais work, for which she is a trained professional.
“Like the older salmon that fights its way up the river with its body changing colors and eventually rotting away in pieces, I’ve got a fierce determination to write,” Thoe said.