Workshops

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The Saturday workshops are each two-hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Some are offered in both sessions, others just once. The workshops are positive and generative—our goal is to inspire you to write and share your stories, whether as poetry, fiction, or non-. We also have a track for readers (Book Buzz, Poetry Appreciation, and the Conversation with Ron Koertge) for those who don’t write, but still want to participate. Because this is a small retreat, the breakout groups will be even smaller, allowing for a great deal of one-on-one interaction.

Morning Session (10 a.m.)

Haiku Hike – SOLD OUT!

McCandlessKolodjiNote:The morning session is sold out, but the afternoon still has room! Back by popular demand! Former Yosemite park ranger and Wrightwood resident Joan McCandless will lead a beginner-level hike through the trails of the 200-acre Camp Mariastella property. Learn about the the flora and fauna of the San Gabriel Mountains and breathe-in the pine-scented air. Deborah P Kolodji, a renowned haiku poet and a member of the Haiku Society of America & the California State Poetry Society, will co-lead this hike and haiku workshop. During the walk in the woods, participants will use all the senses to write haiku. Bring a set of sturdy shoes, a notebook, and something to write with. Note: This workshop is also offered in the afternoon session.

Mining Your Life for Fiction – SOLD OUT!

Join author and editor Yi Shun Lai for our morning fiction workshop. Writers are masters at the art of recording events in our lives, whether it’s as good writing practice or because we want to mine that material for work later on. But what really goes into turning events you’ve lived through into fiction? How does one walk the line between “You can’t make this stuff up” and verisimilitude? How can you tell when to veer from true story into fable? You’ll come out of this workshop with tips and techniques to make your life, um, come to life on the fiction page. Bring a notebook and something to write with.

Nature, Art, and Soul Walking

FrankIn respect to nature, where does our life begin and where does it end? The tree we pass by gives us our very breath and we give it ours. We eat from nature and nature eventually eats us. Walk, write, sketch, and be inspired with homeopath and horticulturist Ron Frank on a holistic journey experiencing just a small breath of our relationships only available within our unique location of Wrightwood and you … Natural relationships to be explored: Beauty, Food, Healing, Natural Systems, Flora and Fauna, Earth, Water, Sky, Energy, Social Impacts, Creative Expression, and our very Existence. Note: This workshop is also offered in the afternoon session.

Poetry Appreciation

What is poetry, anyway? As an experienced advanced placement English teacher, Alejandro Escudé has been answering that question for students, writers, and parents for over fifteen years. Let’s explore the genres within genres that exist today. Do you cringe when you hear the word “poetry”? Do you fear it? Love it? Why does this particular art form touch our nerves so much? Why does it cause so much consternation, argument, and even, yes, even near physical aggression? Explore all this and more. Alejandro will share some of his favorite poems and discuss what makes a memorable modern poem and what, in his snarky opinion, is merely written for academic consumption or largely to appease an egocentric creative writing base. Be ready to drill down, talk earnestly, and get inspired!

Polishing for Publication – SOLD OUT!

GreenWriting your story is only half the battle—if you want to share your voice and vision with the rest of the world, you need to engage and entertain an audience of strangers. Poet and editor Timothy Green leads a workshop on honing craft in ways that will catch an editor’s (and so an audience’s) eye. Green has spent more than a decade as editor of one of the largest and most prestigious literary magazines in the country. He’ll share insights into how editors and audiences respond to both poetry and prose, and valuable tips on pursuing publication. Participants should bring their favorite unpublished poem, short story, or essay, with enough copies to pass around, and prepare to make them shine.

Writing Off the Page

Join poet, collaborator, and performance artist Nicelle Davis for an exploration of how writing can have a life beyond the page. From generative exercise to practical advice on promotions, this is a workshop for writers at any stage in their creative endeavors. This workshop will focus on creating long terms goals for your writing life, performance coaching, and community building. Please bring a sample of your work to share and explore. A teacher for nearly twenty years, Nicelle is interested in helping artists create healthy and productive goals that enrich both the artist and the communities they serve. Bring a notebook and something to write with.

 

Afternoon Session (2:00 p.m.)

A Conversation with Ron Koertge

Writer and editor Timothy Green sits down with the YA author and poet Ron Koertge, to discuss writing, teaching, horse-racing, publishing, and how to build a cross-genre career. After a while, we’ll open up the floor and give the audience a chance to answer any questions they’d like. Feel free to pick Ron’s and Tim’s brains for any literary advice you’d like, and even bring some samples of your writing if you’d like some feedback.

Book Buzz

Looking for your next great read? Do you have a favorite book you would love to share? In the middle of reading a book and want to share your excitement (or frustration)? If so, join Wrightwood resident and retired teacher, Gail Nieto, for this interactive session designed for lovers of written expression. Come with a few of your own suggestions for favorite books, an excerpt to share, and a resource that you use to find new books to read. All genres and opinions are welcome. Participants will leave with a list of group-recommended “Best of Festival” titles, ideas about online and other resources for finding new books, different perspectives about books you may already know, and some new acquaintances who share your passion for reading.

Character-Driven Fiction – SOLD OUT!

TulacroStories are about people. Even if they are not. They are stories about inanimate objects or elves from the distant past all who seem like real people. Thus, we feel connected to stories because inevitably we are connected to character. We care about them even when we do not like them. We turn pages because we are invested in their stories. In this workshop, we’ll discuss how characters drive story (plot), and how to get your readers to care about your characters. This workshop can serve an a great exercise for the seasoned novelist as well as novice prose writers (no pre-written characters are required). The goal for this workshop is for you to understand how
characters drive plot and how to do this in your own stories. Led by Victoria Barras Tulacro, a life-long resident of Wrightwood and professor of English at Chaffey College, the goal for this workshop is for you to understand how characters drive plot and how to do this in your own stories. Bring a notebook and something to write with.

Demystifying the Art of Personal Brand

Join author and editor Yi Shun Lai for a workshop on the business of writing. It seems most writers hate the idea of platform, brand, and marketing. This workshop will get you a lot closer to loving it, as we explore ways to get to convey your style, skills, and personality as a writer to anyone who needs to know it. We’ll engage some exercises and your own stories to build solid material that tells agents, editors, publishers, other writers, and readers who you are. Bring a notebook and something to write with.

Haiku Hike

McCandlessKolodjiBack by popular demand! Former Yosemite park ranger and Wrightwood resident Joan McCandless will lead a beginner-level hike through the trails of the 200-acre Camp Mariastella property. Learn about the the flora and fauna of the San Gabriel Mountains and breathe-in the pine-scented air. Deborah P Kolodji, a renowned haiku poet and a member of the Haiku Society of America & the California State Poetry Society, will co-lead this hike and haiku workshop. During the walk in the woods, participants will use all the senses to write haiku. Bring a set of sturdy shoes, a notebook, and something to write with. Note: This workshop is also offered in the morning session.

Nature, Art, and Soul Walking

FrankIn respect to nature, where does our life begin and where does it end? The tree we pass by gives us our very breath and we give it ours. We eat from nature and nature eventually eats us. Walk, write, sketch, and be inspired with homeopath and horticulturist Ron Frank on a holistic journey experiencing just a small breath of our relationships only available within our unique location of Wrightwood and you … Natural relationships to be explored: Beauty, Food, Healing, Natural Systems, Flora and Fauna, Earth, Water, Sky, Energy, Social Impacts, Creative Expression, and our very Existence. Note: This workshop is also offered in the morning session.

News Poems – SOLD OUT!

“It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” —Williams Carlos Williams Actually, it’s not that difficult Doctor Williams. Join former reporter and frequent news poet Alejandro Escudé and explore ways to respond to the news in verse! He’ll take you through his own process and thoughts on this specific genre of news writing. He’ll discuss how it is related to journalism itself and how today is the perfect time to become a news poet. It’s time to talk back to the world that ails, provokes, and inspires us. Learn how to approach current events from different angles and how writing about the news can yield other types of poetry and commentary as well. Bring an open mind and a notebook, and get ready to save some lives through poetry.

Poetry as Presentation

Explore ways to enliven your poetic presentation with Nicelle Davis! Davis’s methods are rooted in cross-media and performance. With each poem written she communicates not only through the by-product of words, but through their arrangement, shape, and the acute dismantling of expectation. A professionally trained performer, artist, and poet, she loves when the mediums blend to create a support system for one another. Please bring a sample of your work to share and enliven.