I’m Lori Kane: essayist, poet, author, coworking and workshop space host, researcher-by-nature, avid home gardener and canner, and dementia care partner for mom Linda. I live on Whidbey Island, WA, USA, with husband and creative/busines partner Daniel, Eva the dog, and Joe, Bella, and Batman, cats/superheroes, and thousands of trees. As an essayist I’m wending and eventually logical and somehow fully understandable by the end. I’m an empath, which in my culture hurts most days right now, so I spend a lot of time with trees and artists and playful people, and the rest of my time with remarkably-patient-with-me people. My native language is poetry, which means in person I sometimes don’t make sense to others. Most days I don’t mind: I feel. I’m happy to be alive almost everywhere now (including in The Deep Pain where there’s almost no air to breathe). At 47, I’m still awkward around strangers at parties, and I still suck at small talk. Thank God.
By the sea
on the sidewalk of my own neighborhood
grass-brown rabbits startle, dart away
on my walks I see more back feet
more flashes of tail
than peep-show patrons on pay day
Beside the wet sidewalk
in town near the center for the arts
after we poets convene
three fat black rabbits picnic
a fourth fellow yawns
a fifth bathes conspicuously, back foot on high
I startle, look away
that was close, too much presence
more of God than I expected
I dart away home…
my pastor is poetry
my imam imagination
my rabbis are rabbits
even poet gatherings
flashes of heaven: my nuns on Sunday
come sweet true self
take patience by the hand
meet us outside in the tall grass
beside the house of worship
Lori & Community History
I’m married to Daniel, who is wonderful,
and who is getting really good at embracing sentences emanating from me that start with “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but…”. Together we run SIlly Dog Studios.
I’m deeply curious, and love to write, so somehow I’ve become the author of eight books of creative non-fiction and/or poetry on both a wide variety of topics (according to some) and a tightly interwoven collection of topics (according to others). In my early 40s I founded Collective Self Coworking, a free community coworking space in our home in Seattle’s Central District, USA. The space was run by others in its final years and closed in late 2015 when we finally sold the house.
If you want to cowork here with me on Whidbey, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or hit the Lori Author page on Facebook or Silly Dog Studios site to see what we’re up to. In our 12 years in the Seattle house, we had so much fun, culminating in co-founding Hopscotch CD – 1.8 Miles of Fun!, a neighborhood-spanning annual summer event, with neighborhood treasure Jackson Commons. To this day, my Community Jedi Master award that neighbor Knox of Jackson Commons gave me is my most treasured professional award. You will not regret checking out Hopscotch CD 6 next summer if you’re in the Seattle area!
Daniel and I, Eva the dog, and Bella, Joe, and Batman, the cats, now live at Silly Dog Studios on Whidbey Island, an hour northwest of Seattle. We’re also care partners with my mom Linda, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and dad Jim, her primary caregiver for ~15 years. They live here on Whidbey near us now too. If you’re in the area, you’re likely to find us farm, woods, and beach walking with Eva, working together and hosting friends here at Silly Dog, hanging out with mom and dad, or at The Clyde Theater watching movies. Together we host creativity, photography, and poetry retreats and workshops and darkroom days here too. This year, six friends are teaching here too.
For those who really like history, I’m a former researcher who spent five years studying 40 self-organizing groups along the west coast of the United States. I came away with some of the best definitions of self-organizing group and community that exist, in my humble opinion, which I can say now that I’m a poet, not a researcher anymore, yes? 😉 A self-organizing group is a collective whose members are surprised and delighted by what they become and do together. A community is everyone who believes in you on your behalf every moment that you can’t believe in yourself. A playful elder is a brave collective being who has let go of all belief that humans don’t matter and that life herself doesn’t want us here.
In my 30s, I sought out advanced degrees to find and make more book nerdy friends like me. Sounds crazy, but it worked. My master’s degree came from the Adult Education and Training program at Seattle University and doctorate degree from the Educational Leadership program there as well. Back then I worked as a Technical Writer/Editor, then Instructional Designer, then Curriculum Designer, and eventually as a Learning Solutions Consultant at Microsoft. There I won an Innovation Pioneer Award and helped my division win its first ever process-engineering award. Before that I worked as a technical writer and editor and English as a Second Language tutor. Many hats: always a word nerd.
Our Lived-Adventure Series
The first seven books are all easy weekend reads, between 100 and 150 pages. The latest book is longer–even more me. All are available in print and digital formats:
1. Different Work: Moving from I Should to I Love My Work (2012) written when I was trying to imagine new work for myself. For the voice that says “There’s got to be something better than this.” and the part of you that pulls you to find it. This book made me an explorer and an author.
2. A Travel Guide for Transitions: Because Freaking Out About This by Myself Totally Sucks (2013) essays collected from moments that I, and my friend Bas in the Netherlands, were overwhelmed, exhausted, and freaked out after we left our days jobs. For when you want to read about other people experimenting with surviving and thriving during major life transitions. This book made it ok for me to share my pain with the world.
3. Different Office: Stories from Self-Created, Soul-Satisfying Work Space (2014) written as I was becoming a neighborhood-lover, entrepreneur, and small-organization creator. It contains discussions with a dozen other people creating and receiving beautiful work space around themselves. This book taught me that my community is spread all over the world, like (ethically-sourced) gems for me to find. 😉
4. Year 1 Poet (2014) written when I was remembering the creator, artist, and maker in myself. Part poetry, part biography, part really cool full-color illustrations (huzzah artist friends!), and part tips for those just recognizing themselves as creatives. This book taught me that I’m an artist.
5. Reimagination Station: Creating a Game-Changing In-Home Coworking Space (2015) written at the moment I was fully aware of the impacts of turning your home into a coworking space for your neighbors. For people curious about the idea and impacts of reimagining part of your home — or any empty, under-used space — as community space. About how to experience yourself, your community, and your city/town/region as perpetual energy creators and self-reinventors. This book taught me how much I receive from the places I come from and how to more fully give back.
6. The Grace of Dragons: Receiving the Gifts of Dementia Care Partnering (2015) written as I began to recognize all the amazing gifts my mom’s Alzheimer’s disease brought our family. Doable respite for other primary and secondary caregivers of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. And for those who wish to more fully understand the experience of caregiving to support caregivers in your life. And anyone trying to befriend grief on a daily basis. This book taught me that our wounded families and selves are powerful healers within our cultures and communities.
7. Year 2 Poet (2015) written by my artist self, for my exhausted self, as I experienced the most difficult year of my life. This the second in a five-book series for those recognizing themselves as poets and/or artists. Part poetry, part practical process, part magic. This book taught me that our artist selves save our everyday selves during the dark years.
8. Unshaken Wonder: Becoming Playful Elders Together (April 2018) created across 6 years of deep pain for my family, my community, my country, and my world. A collection of essays, stories, games, practices, and poems for anyone interested in tapping into the unshaken wonder at their core or becoming a playful elder together–especially during times of apparently increasing polarization, distrust, and strife. This book reveals how we become fierce, kind, funny, total bad asses together (at least where I live, which, as it turns out, is Earth).
All these books are available on Amazon.com. Books 4 through 8 ae available elsewhere through other major online retailers. For books 4 through 8, you can also really treat yourself and your community by walking into a bookstore, meeting a local book seller, and asking them to order one for you. Local bookstores help make neighborhoods that rock! Neighborhoods that rock get us through the worst of times. Support yours!