This Year’s Event – April 13, 2019


8:45-9:15         Check-in

9:30-11            Workshop Session I

11:15-1:15       Lunch and In-Conversation

1:30-3              Workshop Session II

3:15-4:15         Optional Writing Activity



Creating Fiction From Our Lives: How We Weave a Tapestry of Imagination, Memory, and Memoir with Naomi Benaron—I am not a firm believer of “write what you know.” I do, however, believe that no matter how far we stray from our own truths, if we look into our “fictional souls,” we will find the beating heart of those memories. The purpose of this workshop is to connect with our personal truths and learn how to weave them into the narrative and spiritual arcs of our stories with courage, honesty, and integrity.

Feminist Ekphrasis: perception, projection, and power dynamic with Rhony Bhopla—Workshop attendees will explore writings surrounding feminist visual art. The focal point will be an examination of gender power dynamics between object, artist, and gazer. This is a generative workshop.

Therapeutic Writing: Confronting Fear, Capturing Memory, and Working Through Loss with Emily Bond—This workshop will explore writing as a powerful self-expressive and reflective tool. Join us as we examine fear, grief, and memory through the lenses of short-essay, fiction, and memoir.

Creating Tension with Kerstin Feindert— “The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last,” declared Oscar Wilde and thus highlighted readers’ desire for tension that ebbs and flows in a story. This workshop focuses on hands-on exercises that highlight techniques to create tension and experiment with the placement of a story’s climax. In addition, discussions of short sample pieces and exercises completed during the workshop will help writers explore the concept of different plot elements and pacing.

Crossroads: Exploring the Alternate Choice with Traci Gourdine—Explore the art of “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve.” We’ll try out several techniques to organize and beautify without preaching abstractions a key turning point in our lives when we had to make a choice that determined the direction of our life. What might have happened had you taken the other road? Who would you be, and where would you find yourself? This exercise allows participants to utilize fiction and non-fiction as they travel down that alternate path in the voice of the person they would have become. Many are surprised with the results; many realize they may have chosen the right path after all. Prose and poetry are welcome

The Photographer As Narrator with Ellen Sander—Photographs have inspired many classic narratives. Prepared to recognize the moment, capturing transience, and making pictures in all sorts of situations “are things a story writer needed to know,” recalled Pulitzer Prize author Eudora Welty, emphasizing the realization that “Life doesn’t hold still. A good snapshot stopped a moment from running away.” It is the documentation of that decisive moment that preserves memory and rouses creativity, whether instantly or years later. Photographs that inspired great literary works will be introduced and discussed. Workshop participants will explore subtle and artful themes embedded in photographs and consider how their interpretations may infuse and color subsequent story lines.

Your Coming Forth Story Starters with Kakwasi Somadhi—“. . .[Loretha’s] thoughts could travel, revisiting the highs and lows of her life, which she did often.”
–from Coming Forth by Day
Participants will respond to writing prompts designed to bring forth the stories embedded in their lives. Looking for common themes, they will explore how their stories quilt together into a tapestry reflecting the highs and lows of their unique journey. And finally, they will write a bit of fiction or mini-memoir that represents their coming forth stories

The Art of Word Weaving with Dr. VS Chochezi and Staajabu—Join mother/daughter poetry team Straight Out Scribes (Dr. V.S. Chochezi and Staajabu) as they describe and demonstrate their unique style of spoken word and how they craft their art.

Remember Me: Seven “Other” Ways to Tell Your Story with Marie Taylor—Birth, school, family, marriage, career—throw in some influence from culture and society, and you have a life story. Or do you? Starting from the cradle to ending in maturity may be a logical way to tell the story of your life, but is it the only way, or the best way? Wouldn’t it be better to pick a format and structure for your narrative that better reflects who you are, what you did, what you enjoyed, how you viewed your world? In this workshop you learn seven alternative ways to tell your story, including: vignettes, memoirs, photo journals, themed narratives, and treasure boxes.