Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A truly transformative writers retreat

A transformative writers retreat is just that: transformative. I held my first Transformative Writers Retreat this past weekend (Oct. 15 & 16) at Sevenoaks Retreat Center. I have given day-long workshops before, but this was my first overnight retreat. Poet Kim Garcia joined me to help lead seven writers in exercises of exploration and discovery. We explored language, we explored process and craft, we explored nature, and we explored the depths of the heart. We laughed a lot. And we cried some, too.

At the end we wrote about what happened. We began with a prompt that I have borrowed from Genie Zeigler, who introduced it to me at the end of a Sun Magazine Writers Conference. Genie has since died, but she was one of the warmest teachers I ever knew, and every time I do this exercise I am grateful for her gift.

Here are a couple of the responses to the prompt "What happened was . . .":

From Marianne:

What happened was kinda scary. I have pretended most of my life that all was fine and good and wonderful and normal. Well, maybe it was normal but there parts that were not fine and good and wonderful and you made me see them.

What happened was a bond, a kindred spirit, a safety net, a fellowship, a contentedness.

What happened was mind & body were fed with really good pure ingredients fresh from the heart and the garden.

What happened was kinda scary.

From Tom:

What happened was that Pat had this friend, see, a poet lady with a flare for the unexpected. And Pat, she’s got this way of drilling down to the core of things, too, and putting simple things into fiery coloratura, and see, they’re teachers, spreaders of the immortal word, as it were, and they know people who know people who know about this ashram kind of place in the Virginia foothills, a powerful place that the Indians used to know about where giant oak trees grow like water lilies and shamans and people with strong medicine come to talk about how things really are and someone like me whose been telling lies all his life can maybe -- even now, even after all this time -- can maybe get a little whiff of the truth of things.

I’ll share more from this retreat in future blogs. In the meantime, I’ve got to pack up because I’m heading to Esalen this weekend for a Sun Magazine Writers Conference. More exploring. The cool thing is that it never gets old; there’s always something new to be discovered following the wordpath.

WIY: Join us for a transformative writing retreat some time. The Sun Magazine Conferences are wonderful, or you can sign up for one of my smaller retreats. In the meantime, meet with a few fellow writers and try out some of the exercises from other blog entries.

No comments:

Post a Comment