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Selected Previous Workshops

"Telling Your Own Story: Crafting the ME in Memoir "
Write on the River Writers Conference
Wenatchee, Washington
Saturday, May 20, 2017
All-day conference

“In nonfiction, the narrator is the only thing you can make up,” my first writing teacher told me. Just who is that slim, upright pronoun – the “I” — poised on the page? And who isn’t s/he? In this workshop, we delve into one of the most important jobs of the memoirist: creating the “me” who appears on the page. Looking at examples from master memoirists, we will discuss the differences among (1) the younger person who appears on the page in your memoir, (2) the first-person who tells that story, and (3) the real-life author – you. All three of these entities are represented with that slim, upright pronoun. In this workshop, you will learn the crucial skill of distinguishing among them! Register for this morning workshop here.

Creative Nonfiction: An Intensive Workshop
Port Townsend Writers' Conference
Centrum
Fort Worden State Park
Port Townsend, Washington
Sunday, July 12 through Saturday, July 18, 2015
I returned to my all-time favorite writers' conference for the sixth time, after a two-year break. For the first time, I taught a a morning workshop, working with 14 brave and beautiful souls. I also gave an afternoon craft lecture and evening reading. It was sublime.
The Port Townsend Writers Conference is a ten-day wonder of literary learning, celebration, and community.

Willamette Writers Conference
Hilton Doubletree Hotel
Portland, Oregon
Friday, August 1 through Sunday, August 3, 2014
my session: Sunday, 3:30 to 4:30 pm

In one short hour, we covered a lot of ground in "Write Your Way to the Writers’ Grant or Residency of Your Dreams."

"Creative Nonfiction: A Workshop in Two Parts"
Write on the River Writers Conference
Wenatchee, Washington
Saturday, May 16, 2014
All-day conference

In this two-part, three-hour workshop, a group of 30+ intrepid writers and I covered a range of issues essential to creative nonfiction writers: story arc, theme, scene-setting, and how to build one's narrative voice. Kudos to Kay Kenyon for creating such an excellent Write on the River conference.

Fifth Annual Environmental Writing Workshop
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
17th Ave NE and NE 45th Street
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington 98103
Saturday, April 26, 2014
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

I was inspired and energized by my day teaching alongside essayist Ana Maria Spagna, and novelist and memoirist Craig Lesley, at this annual, all-day workshop curated by geology writer David B. Williams at the (always fascinating) Burke Museum.

"Self-Editor's Toolkit: Polish Your Own Prose"
PubCamp Seattle
presented by Writer.ly
Center for Urban Horticulture
501 NE 41st Street
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington 98105
Friday, November 22, 2013
2:00 to 2:50 pm
At this all-day conference, I presented a workshop on self-editing for nonfiction writers. Here's the description: Gain powerful tools to improve your prose at all stages of the writing process, from revising a first draft to putting the finishing touches on nearly completed work. Examples from well-known writers and an extensive handout will allow you to take home a personalized self-editing toolkit. Participants will learn: (1) the four different levels of editing (developmental, substantive, copyediting and proofreading), and why it’s important to separate them; (2) a dozen exercises to help writers revise (and improve) their own prose; and (3) how highlighters, scissors, tape, and a tape recorder can become crucial self-editing tools.Thanks to Writer.ly for a lovely afternoon.

A Session with the Artist in Residence
Acadia National Park
SERC (Schoodic Education and Resource Center) Institute
64 Acadia Drive, Schoodic Point
Winter Harbor, Maine

1 pm to 3 pm, Saturday, August 24, 2013
A dozen people from nearly as many states joined me for two-hour exploration of what our national parks in general, and Acadia National Park in particular, meant to us. We taked about freewriting and about nature education, then we decamped to Schoodic Point to try out a few writing and observation exercises. Many thanks to SERC for hosting this event.

Chuckanut Writers Conference
Whatcom Community College
Bellingham, Washington

11:15 am to 12:15 pm, Friday, June 21, 2013
"You Are Here: Creating a Sense of Place in Your Writing"
I presented a shortened version of the workshop that I originally developed with Midge Raymond for our joint book tour, and then refined while in residence at national parks in the four corners of the continental U.S.

Everglades Artist in Residence Presentation
Rubell Family Collection / Contemporary Arts Foundation
95 NW 29th Street
Miami, Florida
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
As part of my month-long residency in South Florida's Everglades National Park, I discussed my work in the park and offered a ninety-minute writing workshop. An enthusiastic, thoughtul, and hard-working group of two dozen writers gathered for event. Many thanks to Everglades National Park, the AIRIE program, the stunning Rubell Collection, and most of all, Emma Galler, for making this workshop possible. Read my review of the workshop at the Knight Arts blog.

Chuckanut Writers Conference
Whatcom Community College
237 West Kellogg Road
Bellingham, Washington

Faculty Reading and Book Signing
4:00 to 7:00 pm, Friday, June 22, 2012


Panel Discussion: "Writing Real Life"
1:15 to 2:15 pm, Saturday, June 23, 2012


Over two late June days in beautiful Bellingham, I'll take part in this stunningly well-organized writers' conference, organized by Whatcom Community College and indie bookstore extraordinaire Village Books. These events are open only to those attending the writers' conference.


Writing Our Park: Free Writing Workshops
Audubon Center at Seward Park
5902 Lake Washington Blvd South
Southeast Seattle

11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2012
3:00 to 5:00 pm, Saturday, June 16, 2012
We’ll get outside and explore Seward Park’s geologic, natural, cultural and literary history. (Yes, Seward Park has a literary history!) Details from these distinct histories of this beloved park will form the basis of writing prompts for our workshop. Come with your notebook and pen, dressed for the weather, and we’ll write our way to a deeper understanding of Seward Park and our relationship to it. No experience is necessary and all are most welcome. This workshop is free and will be offered twice. Many thanks to 4Culture and the Seattle CityArtist Program for making these workshops possible and to the 25 writers, storytellers, and park-lovers who came and shared the park with me.

"Make a Scene!"
The Muse and the Marketplace Conference
presented by Grub Street
Boston Park Plaza Hotel
50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street
Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, May 5, 2012
2:15 to 3:30 pm

Thanks to the great honor of having won Grub Street's 2011 National Book Prize for Nonfiction, I gave a reading and taught a craft class at Grub Street's 2012 writers' conference. This was the craft class: In this fast-paced exploration of scene-setting, nonfiction writers will learn a twelve-step process (except this one is FUN) to make the events we (re)create on the page fuller and deeper. First, we’ll look closely at the work of two master scene-setters. Then, we’ll become playwrights, giving our characters their lines. We’ll be directors, too, moving our characters about the stage. Finally, we’ll work as stagehands to our stories, creating the backdrop that will transform our nonfiction prose into a rich experience for our readers.

I am so grateful to the amazing Grub Street for the lovely experience of being at "Muse and the Marketplace."

"Twenty Ways to Tell The Story"
Get Lit! Festival
9:30 to 11:30 am
Riverpoint Campus, Phase 1
Building
Eastern Washington University
Spokane, Washington
Here's what more than thirty of us did together at Get Lit!...In this fast-paced morning, we zoom through twenty writing exercises, searching for the best way to get those words on the page. If there’s a story (factual or otherwise) you’ve been itching to tell, or a narrative poem prowling your mind, this is your chance to anchor those words to the page. Multimedia writing prompts — questions, answers, lines of poetry, images, even scents — will help us open the dusty drawers of memory and empty them out. Each participant leaves with the raw material for a rough draft. All writers or wannabe writers age 13 and over are welcome!

"Something Lost, Something Gained:
Translation and Multilingualism in a Globalized World"

Split This Rock Poetry Festival
Thurgood Marshall Center
1816 12th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Saturday, March 24, 2012
9:30 am to 11:00 am
In this writing and translation workshop we explored our relationship(s) to language loss–from the global to the personal levels. (Linguists predict that 50% to 90% of the approximately six thousand languages currently spoken in the world will be extinct by the end of the twenty-first century.) Meanwhile, many of us have lost the languages of our grandparents, because of racism and other forms of oppression in this country. In my first-ever translation workshop, 18 brave souls completed homophonic translations into English and created multilingual translations of poems originally written in English. Thanks to the Split This Rock poetry festival for hosting this event.

Writing Workshop: When the Places We Love Change
Carriage Barn Visitor Center
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
54 Elm Street
Woodstock, VT 05091
this workshop will be offered twice
Friday, September 9, 2011, 5:00 to 7:00 pm

Saturday, September 17, 2011, 12:00 to 2:00 pm
In this two-hour workshop, we will write about how Hurricane Irene, and other huge changes, have affected the our relationship to our home place and to other people. We will spend most of our time together writing. No experience or particular writing expertise required! All are most welcome. This workshop is free and writing tools, ideas, and inspiration will all be provided.

Brown Bag Writing Workshop
Grub Street Headquarters
60 Boylston Street, 4th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
12:30 to 1:15 pm

I will co-lead a lunchtime freewriting blitz with Midge Raymond at one of the country's largest community literary centers. it's free and all are welcome!

"The Art of Research: How Everything from Archives to Interviews Can Feed Your Personal Nonfiction"
Field's End Roundtable
Bainbridge Island Library
Winslow, Washington

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
7:00 to 8:30 pm

Whether it's a person, book, online database, or 250-year-old manuscript that you need, this workshop will help you find and make the most of the resources that can inform your writing. I will share what I learned over a dozen years of researching and writing No Word for Welcome, completing hundreds of interviews and visiting libraries and archives in four countries. Read the resource list I distributed here. Many thanks to the fabulous Field's End for making this event possible.

"Jump Into Journal Writing"
Sunday, November 14, 2010, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Saturday, January 22, 2011, 2:00 to 4:00 pm
In this two-hour workshop, we discuss how to begin and maintain a journal-writing practice, then work through a series of writing prompts to get the ink flowing. We’ll conclude with a list of ideas for how to move your writing from private page to public world. The November workshop was in honor of National Novel Writing Month. Read the list of resources (organizations, books, magazines, and websites) that I distributed.
SeattlePublic Libraries
November 14: Capitol Hill Branch Library
January 22: University District Library
Seattle, WA

"Goal-Setting & Time Management in 90 Minutes or Less"
Saturday, November 13, 2010
10:00 am to 11:30 am

New Year’s resolutions and To Do lists won’t help you meet your writing goals -- but careful goal-setting and even more careful management of your time will. Whether you devote two hours a week or ten hours a day to your writing life, this workshop will help you invest that time more wisely, and help you come closer to your ideal writing life. This workshop was part of an excellent series put together by the King County Library System for National Novel Writing Month. Read one participant's review of the workshop -- and the writing that resulted!
North Bend Branch
King County Library System

115 East 4th
North Bend, Washington 98045

"Self-Interrogation: From Question to Revelation
in Personal Nonfiction"
a workshop to benefit Richard Hugo House
part of Write-o-Rama!
Saturday, June 5, 2010
50-minute workshop, offered at 11 am and 4 pm
Ask yourself tough questions about everything from the quotidian to the profound and find powerful answers. We'll
probe the depths of pride and shame, mining for gems that
you can later polish into finished works of personal nonfiction (essay or memoir). We’ll spend most of our time together writing.
Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98122

"Finding Your Readers in the 21st Century"
A Conference for Writers at Richard Hugo House

At Hugo House's first writers' conference, the focus was on exploring the changing literary landscape and the options available to writers for getting their work out in the world and into the hands of readers. I taught two workshops and participated in a panel discussion. Thanks to all who made the conference so energizing!
Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98122

"Rejection: Get Over It"
a panel with Peter Mountford and Bruce Taylor
Saturday, May 22, 3:30 to 4:45 pm
Misery loves company. Peter Mountford brought an impressive box full of rejection letters, Bruce Taylor brought some inspiring stories, and we all shared what we've learned from rejection.

"Goal Setting and Time Management in 90 Minutes
or Less"

Sunday, May 23, 10:00 to 11:15 am
New Year's resolutions and to-do lists won't help you meet your writing goals—but careful goal-setting and even more careful management of your time will. Whether you devote two hours a week or ten hours a day to your writing, this workshop will help you invest that time more wisely, and help you come closer to your ideal writing life.
Participant Cynthia Hartwig, of Sharp Hartwig, said of the workshop: "It's refreshing to see a presenter who keeps the class on track and has all the information figured out and organized, while making it engaging."
See the course handout (two pages) here.
See the two-page "SMART goals" worksheet here.

"How to Write a Killer Query Letter"
Sunday, May 23, 11:30 am to 12:45 pm
Whether you are approaching a possible agent, a magazine editor or the organizer of a chapbook contest, your query letter is your first impression. Come find out how to put your best face forward and give those letter-readers precisely what they expect, no more or less. Tip sheets and examples of successful query letters included. Appropriate for anyone seeking an agent or editor, or hoping to pitch a freelance piece or win poetry chapbook contest.
See the handout (a two-page list of resources) here.

"Telling True Stories"
A workshop presented by
Nova Southeastern University's
Master's in Writing Program
Thursday, March 25, 2010
5:00 to 6:00 pm
Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
Students in the Master's in Writing Program at NSU (and a couple of faculty members) attended a free one-hour workshop on the basics of writing narrative nonfiction. And they wrote some wonderful scenes!

Grant Writing for Creative Writers
Hedgebrook Workshops for Writers Program
216 First Avenue South
Grand Central Building third floor conference room
Pioneer Square
Seattle, Washington

6:30 to 8:30 pm
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
In this two-hour, pen-to-paper workshop, you will learn the basics of applying for the grant of your dreams! Please bring the application information for a grant (or similar writers' support program) that you would like to apply for. We'll review some guidelines to keep in mind as you prepare your application, answer all your questions, and complete several writing exercises to get you started. Tips sheets and examples of successful grant applications included.

"Deep Description"
a workshop to benefit Richard Hugo House
part of Write-o-Rama!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
one-hour workshop, offered twice, early in the day
Put your reader there, in the place-moment-environment that your essay-story-poem evokes through your powers of description. Examples from literary masters and everyday household objects will hone our powers of description, which we will unleash on the page!
Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98122
Thanks to the thirty-seven writers who attended my workshop and helped raise over ten thousand dollars for Hugo House!

Powerful Schools Workshop:
“Fifteen Ways to Tell the Story”
Two-hour workshop

Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
5:00 to 7:00 pm
In this fast-paced session, we'll zoom through fifteen writing exercises, searching for the best way to get those words on the page. If there’s a story (factual or otherwise) you’ve been itching to tell, this is your chance to anchor those words to the page. Multimedia writing prompts – questions, answers, lines of poetry, images, even scents – will help us open the dusty drawers of memory and empty them out. Each participant will leave with the elements of a new story draft and a toolbox full of writing exercises for your writing group or your classroom. This session is geared toward middle-school and high school teachers.
Many thanks to the forty teacher-writers who participated, to Arni Adler for organizing this workshop, and to Richard Hugo House for sponsoring it.

Telling True Stories:
A Nonfiction Writing Workshop

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
7:00 to 9:00 pm
King County Library, Mercer Island Branch
4400 88th Ave. SE
Mercer Island, Washington 98040
In this free workshop, open to everyone, we'll spend most of our time writing, inspired by some of the suggestions and examples offered by the contributors to Telling True Stories.

"What a Character!"
Workshop at Write on the Sound,
Edmonds Writing Conference

Sunday, October 5, 2008
9:15 am to 10:45 am
Frances Anderson Center
700 Main Street
Edmonds, Washington 98020
This workshop was open only to participants in the "Write on the Sound" conference -- perhaps the most affordable writers' conference in the Puget Sound region. See more information about the conference here.

Nonfiction Writing Across Borders:
A Free Workshop at the Seattle Public Library

Saturday, September 20, 2008
2:00 to 4:00 pm
Seattle Public Library, University Branch
5009 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
One of the best things about books is that they open up whole worlds, even if readers never leave their living rooms or local libraries. But with new worlds come new borders. In this nonfiction writing workshop, we’ll write and talk about the joys and complications of literary border crossings: writing about cross-cultural communication in a complicated world. Through both writing exercises and discussion, we’ll explore how words and ideas change meaning as they cross borders, and what this means as we try to write "the truth."
Many thanks to Paige Chernow of the Seattle Public Library for organizing this workshop.

"Merging the Mundane with the Metaphysical"
a workshop to benefit Richard Hugo House
part of Write-o-Rama!
Saturday, June 7, 2008
one-hour workshop, offered twice
Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98122
Freewrite a first draft in 50 minutes or less! The subtitle to this workshop could be, "life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.” We’ll brainstorm a list of settings and conflicts, then set about crafting a draft. No experience or special tools required.
This workshop was part of a day-long benefit for Richard Hugo House.

Journal Writing:
A Free Workshop at the Seattle Public Library

Saturday, April 5, 2008
1:00 to 3:00 pm
Seattle Public Library, University Branch
5009 Roosevelt Way N.E.
Seattle, Washington 98105
In this two-hour workshop, we will discuss how to begin and maintain a journal-writing practice, then work through a series of writing prompts to get the ink flowing. We'll conclude with a list of ideas for how to move your writing from private page to public world.
Read the journal-writing resource list I distributed here.

"50 Ways to Tell the Story"
a seven-hour writing marathon
to benefit Richard Hugo House
part of Write-o-Rama!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98122

"Where Are We From / De Donde Somos "
An English/Spanish Writing Workshop
with the Rozella Poets and Writers Group

Saturday, October 13, 2007
4:00 to 6:00 pm
Café Rozella
9434 Delridge Way SW
Seattle, Washington 98106
Thanks to Laura Gonzalez, Ricardo Guarnero, Leticia Martinez, and David Preston for a lovely event, where thirty poets -- from first-timers to the former Seattle Poet Populist -- created and read work in English, Spanish, and Spanglish.

"It's Not About You" Workshop at Write on the Sound, Edmonds Writing Conference
Saturday, October 6, 2007
4:00 pm
Frances Anderson Center
700 Main Street
Edmonds, Washington 98020
Comments from participants:
"Wow! Packed with useful stuff, amazing depth of subject."
"I will use this stuff the moment I next sit down at my computer."
"I learned so much; she gave me great tools."

 

 

 

 

 

 




Both these photos are portraits of participants in community meetings.
Photo to left: Barrio de la Soledad, Oaxaca, Mexico, 2000
Photo below: San Francisco de la Paz, Chimalapas, Mexico, 2002