Workshops, Readings, & Conferences
Everyone is talented, original, and has something important to say.
~ Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write
Ueland's words guide my writing workshops. Her book, still in print, is my 'bible' on the connection between writing and spirit. The pages are filled with the exuberance of a passionate and compassionate teacher.
Over the years, with various age groups, at all literacy levels, and in diverse and unlikely locations (including the Arctic tundra, an art gallery, women's shelters, a federal government luncheon seminar,) I've been “teaching” writing with what's come to be called the W.I.S.E.* word workshop philosophy. The approach is simple—but simple does not equal easy. This is not a formula approach to writing or a method or magic. There are not a lot of handouts but it is very hands-on. There are four principles vital in my workshops:
- All of us are in a 'safe place'. This is not an analytical what is wrong with this piece approach. That's for later, and an editor, when pieces are finished.
- There's no right and no wrong. This is not writing for others yet, or geared to curriculum outcomes. This is time to explore and even celebrate 'mistakes'.
- This is not a therapy session or just 'fuzzy wuzzy' time either. Yes, writing can heal and things might surface. This is about finding voice and writing down stories, poems, inspired pieces. We ask always, what is excellence in writing . How do each of us define it?
- Sharing the writing is always the choice of the participant.
Through a series of guided exercises clustered around four important elements in the writing process: Words, Imagination, Senses and Experience, participants write and read and write and read. Positive feedback is given. The result is rarely a polished piece or perfection. Authentic voices and unique visions will emerge by the end of the workshop, however, and the writing created is alive and often a point of departure for a future piece. Exercises can be adapted for classroom use or reused time and again in one's own writing practice.
Workshops run ninety minutes, day long, or week long. Fees vary. Contact me for more information.
Writing for Children (for adults)
Writing All Ready! (for youth aged ten and up)
Authentic Voice and Vision (for adults)
Poetry -- from Serious Joy to Lipslippery Nonsense (for everyone)
The Write Flow -- Movement, breath, body work, stretches, basic yoga and writing (for everyone)
* Workshops, if requested, can focus on any aspect of writing: plot, character, dialogue, specific genre.
Keynotes, Speeches, Lectures
The majority of the speeches and keynotes are in the field of education, literacy, literature, mental and physical health and well-being, issues affecting women and children. A weaving of story and poetry in each presentation. Fees vary. References are available upon request.
Author Readings/Community Visits
I do author readings in schools (all grades), universities, libraries, festivals, women's book clubs, mother and daughter book clubs, and more.
However, travelling far for one reading to one small group, is missed opportunity. As I've created books for all ages, a community-minded invitation appeals to me most.
Increasingly, budgets are tight, time for us all is precious and the carbon imprint is something to be conscious of. I'm saying yes more to organizations and people who can bring me in and use me for all the age groups and their community at large. An example might be, daycares, family resource centres, elementary, middle and high schools, a workshop at a library or a talk at local community college or university, a professional development session with teachers during the day. Then, a reading cafe or women's book club gathering at night. Whenever possible, the sale of books by the local bookstore and an author signing.
Hosts are responsible for travel, meals, and accommodations. No billets. My reading fee varies. The minimum is Canada Council Reading rate of $250.00 for an hourlong reading.