Extend Your Writing Experience In Jackson

View of Mtns from 2 RM Cabin 2-1Last summer we began exploring a creative cross-pollination effort with Patricia Lee Lewis from Patchwork Farms Writing Retreats in Massachusetts. Patricia, who leads writing and yoga retreats around the world, has been visiting Jackson Hole for almost twenty years because her daughter Ponteir Sackrey moved here. But rather than see her mother work while in the valley, she asked her to just enjoy herself. This year Ponteir has given the nod to her mother to offer a retreat in the neighborhood. On January 4 during a workshop at the Center for the Arts we poets in Jackson got to do a test-drive of Patricia’s techniques for inspiring our own unique writing. Nothing cookie-cutter about her approach. She fostered an environment that helped everyone to see a different way into their writing, whether it was poetry or even fiction.

This June, immediately prior to our conference, Patricia will lead a week-long retreat at Turpin Meadows Ranch about 40 miles northeast of Jackson and just outside of Grand Teton National Park, bordering on wilderness. Outside Magazine’s most recent issue featured Turpin Meadows Ranch as a great destination for adventurers wanting to get off the beaten path.

If you want to completely immerse yourself in writing with a meditative component and a little yoga thrown in, this would be an amazing opportunity. And from meeting Patricia I know that any yoga that goes on at Turpin Meadows will not be intimidating.

After the retreat, Patricia is joining our resident faculty for the conference and will offer a workshop on Saturday afternoon for participants who are not having critiques. I know this will be extremely helpful to writers at what level they are at with their craft. Especially if they are looking for a little more creative juice.

–Connie Wieneke

Happy New Year

Watch in our posts for links to submission calendars. If you are writing essays, poetry and short stories, there are lots of markets out there. Some may not pay but they get your name and voice out there.

 

Glimmer Train announces submission calendar. GT also has a quarterly Writers Ask publication. Check it out.

 

If you have suggestions on places to submit, please forward to us at Contact.

Reading your work

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Whether you write poetry, fiction or nonfiction, reading your work out loud is so important. You might feel satisfied with the words on paper or computer screen, but when you speak those same words, they suddenly become clumsy, without rhythm, fall flat. Even as you work through your drafts, practice reading out loud. Or if you have a trusted friend have them read it to you. The beauty of your language and story will come through, just as the places where something is not working.

A recent blogspot by Susan Vittiow Mark at Writing Wyoming’s offers up some tips when reading your work in a more public venue. Seems like wise things to remember.  Might save your audience from fidgeting. Shut up and play your guitar.  Zappa couldn’t have said it any better.

 

Selecting Faculty For The Conference

One of the best parts about working for the Jackson Hole Writers Conference the last three years has been helping Tim Sandlin select writing faculty. I do take suggestions from people I know, especially when they have had first-hand experience with their nominee. You can blame the poets in our poetry group sponsored by Jackson Hole Writers for the poetry faculty. Or give us credit for finding folks who are excellent poets AND teachers.

Occasionally, Tim lets me or a board member offer up a name. Tina Welling mentioned Tobias Wolff. And now he’s coming. He will most likely be the Q&A author on Saturday afternoon. If you are doing a critique at that time, you will miss out.Jewell-Rhodes_600

This year I didn’t have to push hard to have Tim invite Jewell Parker Rhodes. Many years ago she came to Jackson for a free workshop sponsored, I believe, by the Teton County Library. I provided housing for her and so spent time with her in addition to the workshop. As with so many writers who travel a long ways to Jackson, I was stunned by her generosity both as a teacher and as a human being. Sounds trite, I suppose, but she makes the world a better place with her stories and her presence. Nothing academic about her person, though she teaches at Arizona State University. Something to be said for being able to engage with students. Even teachers are students.

Since that time I have recommended Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau to many fiction-loving friends and fiction-writing friends, who are often the same people.  Jewell delves into the roots in all of her stories. The roots of racism, sexism, power. It is tough soil she has to dig into. She is fearless but doesn’t serve rhetoric over story.

I am looking forward to talking with her, hearing what she has to say about the narrative craft. I envy anyone who has a chance to have her critique their work. Poetry draws me right now, or I’d be standing in line to get her comments.

Susan Marsh on Writing Wyoming Blog Spot

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Recent Writing Wyoming Blog Spot features Conference resident faculty Susan Marsh. She has had both a memoir and a novel published this year.

Check out her blog on Writing Wyoming and learn something about writing beyond setting. Follow Writing Wyoming Setting is used to serve the author’s needs; place resists this. It can intervene as I write, the same way my characters do: “Cross that out – I wouldn’t say that,” says a character as I struggle with early-draft dialogue. Place likewise demands to be portrayed on its specific terms.

Let’s make an effort to connect, collaborate and support writing, especially in our own communities. In Wyoming, our community is LARGE.

–Connie Wieneke

December Book Signings

I can’t help but shout out when local writers get their works published. It’s so satisfying to know that it really happens.

Susan Marsh will be reading from and signing her memoir, A Hunger For High Country, at 7 p.m. on December 11, in the Valley Bookstore. I’ve known Susan for more than twenty years, having spent a great deal of time with her in various iterations of a writing group. Having read and critiqued sections of this work, I know that it conveys her love of the country just out her backdoor. This book proves that knowing your inner and outer landscape is essential to creating a compelling and passionate narrative. I am sure it will be well-sprinkled with political observations of her time with the Forest Service. Susan promises chocolate as a bribe to get listeners/buyers to the bookstore.  I don’t think that is necessary! We should be bringing Susan treats. A member of the Jackson Hole Writers board of directors, she will be our conference resident faculty for her second year.

 

A past participant in the Writers Conference, Cate Cabot also has a signing for her book, Uncharted, the following day at the Valley Bookstore, from 5-7 p.m.

 

–Connie Wieneke