Teaching writing workshops has turned out to be one of the most spellbinding, inspiring, life- and self-changing accidental decisions I have ever made. In my younger, but ever vivid imaginings, my heaps of education would lead me to the blessed shores of a capital-A Academic collegiate theorizing literary dream world.
But, I had a much more interesting and/or unexpected and/or fated story lying in wait for me. I had a different writerly future, an unforeseen classroom by the sea, a sea of artists, the art of putting stories onto the page. And I, the captain of the SS Wordsmithing.
I tell my students by way of introduction that teaching, for me, is a selfish act. I love stories, both true and fiction, in all their forms and fashions. I love the people I meet, what they lay down on the page and share. I love the creative energy, always always contagious, that envelops each quick to knit-tight circle of writers I work with. Teaching runs two ways, and I love that I learn something with each class, about the craft of writing, about the power of stories, about myself as an instructor, writer, and human being.
(I love what I do so much, it feels naughty.)
Two short weeks from now I’ll be teaching a workshop on character, characterizing, characteristics. The nouns of our writing and how we verb and describe them into captivating life in our true and fiction stories. Surrounded by the dense forest of the Cascade Head, the Pacific Ocean roaring in the distance, there’s no denying that teaching and learning at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology is nothing short of magic, a place whose character begs one to forget about all things fast-paced and demanding and multi-tasked, while calming, inspiring, a quiet and creative invigorating.
No matter your genre, experience, or relationship with writing, any time we put fingers to keyboard or pen to page, we create worlds, shared and private, that help us grow and escape, only to find our truest ourselves between the lines. Be it the character of our home, our best friend, or the intrinsic humanness that binds us as individuals and collected groups, how we characterize our lived experiences matters, just as every story does.
(Let’s be characters together and write about what happens.)
Check out my Workshops page for more information and links to sign up for the workshop.