I’m Lori Kane: essayist, poet, herbalist, wanderer, home canning instructor, workshop and space co-host, dementia care partner, avid home gardener, and retired coworking space runner. I live on Whidbey Island, WA, USA, with husband Daniel, dogs Eva and Cora, and Joe and Batman, cats/superheroes, among thousands of trees and cool women. As an essayist I’m wending, eventually logical, and typically fully understandable by the end. I’m an empath, which in my culture hurts most days, so I spend a lot of time with trees and artists and playful people and animals and true elders, and the rest of my time with remarkably-patient-with-me people. My native language is poetry, which means in person I often 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 no air to breathe). At 50, I’m still awkward around strangers at parties, and I still suck at small talk. Still me. 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…”.
I’m deeply curious, and love to write, so somehow I’ve become the author of seven 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 Collective Self Coworking Facebook page 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 4 next June if you’re in the Seattle area!
Daniel and I, Eva the dog, and Bella, Joe, and Batman, the cats, now live at Pirate House 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, primary caregiver for 10 years. They currently live part time here on Whidbey and part of the winter in sunnier Arizona. If you’re in the area, you’re likely to find us beach walking with Eva, working together at the new coworking space on Whidbey (in the Old Bayview Schoolhouse, Wednesdays, 9:30 to 4:30–join us!), hanging out with mom and dad, or at The Clyde Theater watching movies. Together we host photography and creativity retreats and workshops and darkroom days 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 each moment you can’t believe in yourself.
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 then 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
Each of our books is an easy weekend read, between 100 and 150 pages, and available in paperback and eBook 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8. Unshaken Wonder: Becoming Playful Elders Together (2018). Ok, this one is longer than the intro here promised. I’m old now, I have more to say. 😉 This books is me figuring out how to become the kind of elder I want to be (playful) during a dark time in our family when all the adults older than me turned on each other and started hating each other. Explores practices for become playful no matter what’s happening.
9-16. Daniel and I created a series of activity books called The Mystic Routine here in 2020. Because there’s never a better time to practice centering on wonder and awe than during a global pandemic, during a climate crisis, during a time when your own country’s government is crumbling. Unlike earlier books, these activity books are only available for download from our Silly Dog Studios website.
Books 1 – 8 are available on Amazon.com. Some are available on BarnesAndNoble.com. For books 4 through 8, you can 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! Support yours!