The paradox of Belonging: Womxn writing our way home
1.3.20 - 1.5.20, a weekend retreat for womxn at the Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island, WA
Where, with whom, or in what ways do you feel most at home in your body?
How do you move between solitude and community, or between silence and speech?
How can you lean into areas of discomfort, while offering yourself self-compassion and care?
What do you need to write about and embrace?
In this retreat, we will gather to write, listen, and share from our unique voices. Each day we will: write from prompts and poems; discuss short readings by writers such as Rebecca Solnit, Natalie Goldberg, and Audre Lorde; and be invited to read aloud from our writing in a supportive space. Interwoven with our writing practice we will also practice brief walking and loving-kindness meditations and mindfulness exercises. Participants will be fed healthy, delicious meals and have ample free time to explore the beautiful wooded property, write, and rest. This weekend is designed to allow you to go where you need to go in your writing, with a focus on themes such as paradox, grief, joy, home and belonging.
When: Friday afternoon, January 3 – Sunday afternoon, January 5, 2020
Where: On the 116-acre wooded property of the amazing Whidbey Institute; we’ll be gathering in Thomas Berry Hall and lodging (14 doubles and 5 singles available) will be in the Farmhouse and Granny’s Cottage.
Who: Up to 20 women/womxn identified participants; facilitated by Anne Liu Kellor
Cost: Price includes lodging, snacks, tea/coffee, six meals, and roughly 12 hours of group instruction.
Payment by check preferred : $615 for doubles; $735 for singles. (If paying by Paypal, 3% fee added)
Payment plans available, as well as two partial scholarships for a Womxn of Color (please inquire soon for details!). Please also let me know if you’d like to donate money for me to be able fund additional scholarships. Thank you so much!
How to register: Priority registration given to anyone who has studied with me before.
1. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm that space is available.
2. Once you receive confirmation, you may either send a check to Anne Liu Kellor (I will provide the address at that time) or pay me via Paypal (note added fee above).
3. I will email confirmation of registration and a receipt when payment is received.
4. Please let me know if you need to pay in 2 installments or have other needs.
1. Full refunds less $50 admin. fees provided until 10.28.19 if written notice is given.
2. Refund less $100 fee provided if written notice is given by 12.13.19, if I am able to fill your spot.
3. No refunds provided after 12.14.19.
4. Full refunds will be provided if for any reason the retreat needs to be cancelled.
Pre-retreat: About a month prior, I will email the group introductions, pre-readings, directions, dietary questions, rooming assignments, and carpooling options. Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns!
The Schedule (subject to change):
Arrive as early as noon; you are on your own for lunch so either bring something with you or stop in town before you come. Walk and explore the grounds…
2:00-2:45 Group Orientation in Thomas Berry Hall
2:45-5:00 Writing, Sharing, Listening, and Meditation
5:00-6:00 Silent Writing or self-led yoga/meditation with ambient music or FREE TIME
7:00 Free Time or Optional Salon/Open Mic Gathering
9:30-12:30 Writing, Sharing, Listening, and Meditation
12:30 – 1:30 LUNCH
1:30-3:30 FREE TIME
3:30-6:00 Writing, Sharing, Listening, and Meditation
7:00 Free Time or optional Evening Salon/open mic
9:30 – 12:30 Writing, Sharing, Listening, and Closing Circle
Afterwards you are free to go or stay and enjoy the grounds.
Writing Mother and Child
Together, we'll explore themes like: birth, time, identity, intimacy, fear, letting go, humor, frustration, challenges, sacrifices, wounds, joy, how we ourselves were parented, and much more. Each week we’ll free-write from prompts, as well as read and discuss contemporary essays on motherhood that will inspire us to explore new topics, styles, and points of view (I’m especially inspired right now by Carmen Gimenez Smith’s lyric memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds!). Students will have the chance to receive in-depth feedback on their drafts, explore places to submit for publication, and most importantly to write, share, listen, and connect in community. Mothers of all ages and writers of all levels are welcome.
Six Sundays at the Hugo House, 10.6.19 - 11.10.19 from 1-4 p.m.
Register or learn more here.
Creative Nonfiction I (in-person and online)
This six-week class will help you decide the best way to tell the nonfiction story you want to tell. Together we will write and share from generative prompts, read a diversity of essays, and investigate our own personal stories. We will learn to ask What is this piece about? and to explore craft elements like scene, reflection, points of view, and form. Students will be encouraged to free-write regularly, and in Week Five be introduced to the workshop model and optionally submit a piece to the instructor for extensive feedback.
Online class runs via the Hugo House’s partners at Wet Ink, from 9.16.19 - 10.21.19; classes are posted on Mondays but you may respond to exercises throughout the week on your own schedule. Register for CNF online here.
In-person class runs on Thursday nights from 10.3.19 - 11.7.19 from 7:10-9:10 p.m. Register for CNF I in-person here.
shapeshifting: Reading and Writing about the mixed race experience
As Mixed Race people, it is often hard to know where we belong. In conversations around race, our perspectives often get overlooked or we may feel pressure to “pick a side.” This class will hold space for multiracial people to write and share freely about our experiences and evolving identities. We will read work by writers (some mixed race identified, some not) such as Robin DiAngelo, Jewel Parker Rhodes, Jesmyn Ward, Elissa Washuta, Roxanne Gay, Claudia Rankine, Lacy Johnson, Eula Biss, Jeff Chang, and Debby Irving who write about racism, whiteness, privilege, micro-aggressions, and non-binary thinking. We’ll free-write extensively from prompts about how our awareness of race has permeated our lives, and optionally submit work for instructor/peer feedback. Extensive readings, homework, and personal reflection required. This class is for Mixed Race identified people. Please let me know if you have any questions!
7 Sundays, 4.28.19 - 6.16.19 (no class 5.26)
creative nonfiction iii
Together we will explore a range of essay/memoir forms, with an emphasis on the lyrical, fragmented, and braided. We will ask: What topics have you been avoiding, and how can experimentation help you access your most essential material? We will write and share from in-class prompts; discuss craft; workshop drafts; and read writers such as Chelsea Hodson, Terry Tempest Williams, Elissa Washuta, Ocean Vuong, Alexander Chee, and more. Ultimately we will push ourselves to look inward and outward; to revise and take risks; and to hold ourselves accountable to our goals. Note: you do not have to have taken CNF I and II to enroll, so long as you have taken a couple nonfiction writing classes before. You also may retake CNF III if you took it before, because I switch up many of the prompts and readings.
10 Thursdays, 4.18.19 - 6.20.19
Creative Nonfiction II
This class is for those looking to build upon craft learned in Creative Nonfiction I or anyone already familiar with the basics of the genre including points of view, scene, reflection, and structure. Each week we will delve deeper into the process of generating and sharing our own vital material from in-class prompts and read/discuss a diverse range of essay/memoirs. Students may receive feedback from the instructor on a piece and optionally from the whole class in a workshop setting. Themes of inquiry include looking at memory, truth, metaphor, diversity of forms in CNF, short personal essays, longform, and experimental work. Readings will include Lidia Yuknavitch, Rebecca Solnit, Brenda Miller, Kiese Laymon, and more.
1/24/19 - 3/14/19, eight sessions
Writing and Fear
Drawing from Art and Fear (Ted Bayles and David Orland) and Your Art Will Save Your Life (Beth Pickens), we will examine our work patterns, challenges, goals, and fears through free-writing and discussion. What is your relationship to your writing? How do you work best? What new realms do you want to explore? How might you be holding yourself back? If you know you must keep writing no matter what and want to re-commit yourself to your art, this intensive 2-day workshop is for you.
Sundays, 2/24 and 3/3 from 1-5 p.m. @ the Hugo House
Exercises in Empathy: A Writing and Mindfulness Retreat for women
Co-facilitated with Alycia Scott Zollinger
STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT ONE 1.3.20 - 1.5.20! (Recommended: get on my mailing list so you don’t miss out!)
Are you ready to dive deeper into your writing practice and connect with others in community? Are you willing to explore your vulnerable interior spaces with clarity and empathy? This transformative retreat will examine our shifting identities as women and the legacies we’ve inherited from our families. Together we will free-write from prompts, listen as we share aloud, and experiment with writing from multiple points of view. Paired with each writing session, we will also deepen our inner awareness and connection with mindful breathing, meditation, and movement exercises.
1/4 - 1/6/19 @ The Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island, WA
All meals and lodging included.
Writing Mother and Child
A rare weekday class held at the new Hugo House on Thursday mornings this fall! Ten full weeks to gestate, generate, revise, and receive feedback on your nonfiction writing in a supportive community. We'll explore themes like: birth, time, identity, intimacy, fear, letting go, humor, frustration, challenges, sacrifices, wounds, joy, how we ourselves were parented, and much more.
We'll also read and discuss contemporary essays on motherhood each week that will inspire us to explore new topics, styles, and points of view. Students will have the chance to workshop their drafts, and explore places to submit for publication.
10/4/18 - 12/20/18 (no class 10/25 and 11/22)
10 Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Creative Nonfiction I Online
Participate as little as much as you want, at your own pace from home! (sorry, the in-person session is full)
Introductory. Do you have a true story that you wish to tell? A desire to explore your ideas, experiences, and emotions in writing? This class will introduce you to the process and craft of writing compelling creative nonfiction: from mining for memories and details through free-writing; to asking yourself what is this story truly about?; to examining your form and structure; to learning how to receive feedback and embrace the work of revision. Each week we will read and discuss a diverse range of creative nonfiction from authors such as Natalie Goldberg, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jesmyn Ward, Ross Gay, and Cheryl Strayed. Simultaneously, we will experiment with our own topics through writing prompts, and learn about essential craft elements such as: balancing scene and reflection; choosing a point of view; editing for strong, vivid language; and utilizing white space and form. Students will be encouraged to share from their free-writes; to turn in a short piece to the instructor for feedback; and some may also volunteer to workshop their piece with their peers.
November 6 - December 11, 2018
travel writing as pilgrimage
We will explore our stories of personal questing, migration, and transformation. Each week we will write and share from prompts that help us examine periods or places through which we’ve journeyed. We will also discuss the process and craft of writing creative nonfiction as we read authors such as Rebecca Solnit, Pico Iyer, Patricia Hampl, and Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. Students may opt to exchange writing with their peers, and receive feedback from the instructor on a draft.
7/3/18 - 8/28/18; no class 7/24
creative nonfiction III
Together we will explore a wide range of essay and memoir forms, including Hermit Crab, research-based, braided, fragmented, and lyrical works. We will ask: what topics have you been avoiding, and how can experimentation help you access your most essential material? Each week, we will write and share from in-class prompts, as well as discuss craft and readings from authors such as Brenda Miller, Ocean Vuong, Kelly Sundberg, Khadijah Queen, and Lily K. Hoang. During the latter weeks, we will workshop drafts with our peers in a respectful environment. Ultimately, we will push ourselves to look both inward and outward; to revise and take risks with our work; and to hold ourselves accountable to our goals.
4/16/18 - 6/25/18 (no class on 5/28)
Renewal: Writing about change
Whether writing about seasons, bodies, relationships, beliefs, systems, or the world at large, together we will examine the theme of change from a kaleidoscope of angles. How have you changed? What is changing now? What change is yet to come? Prompts may explore themes of uncertainty, loss/growth, mindfulness, and more, and be inspired by questions, poems, photos, music, and brief meditations. Participants will be encouraged to write freely without censoring, and to share if desired, in a spirit of playful, non-judgmental exploration. Writers of all levels are welcome. Prompts will be framed as nonfiction, although writers of other genres may adapt them as you see fit.
5/6, 5/13, and 5/20
Body of Memory: Writing Innovative Nonfiction
January 30 - April 3, 2018
Each week we will explore themes such as mindfulness, the 5 senses, body parts, desire, memory, trauma, love, and death as we experiment with in-class generative prompts and exercises. We’ll also read and discuss lyric essays and memoir excerpts that utilize juxtaposition, braided structures, and risk-taking from authors such as Sherman Alexie, Roxanne Gay, Melissa Febos, Brenda Miller, and Lidia Yuknavitch. Students will receive feedback on their work from the instructor and optionally from the entire class during the final weeks.
CREATIVE Nonfiction II
February 4 - March 25, 2018
This class is for those looking to build upon craft learned in Creative Nonfiction I or those already familiar with the basics of the genre including points of view, scene, reflection, and form. Each week, we will delve deeper into the process of generating our own vital material from prompts, and examine a diverse range of voices and structures found in essays and memoir excerpts. In the final weeks, students will have the option to workshop their own nonfiction pieces.
Building a Writing Practice
September 28, 2017 - November 16, 2017
Do you love to write, but struggle to keep doing so? Do you want to commit to a regular writing practice within a supportive community? Together we will outline our intentions and check in weekly to hold ourselves accountable. During class, we will free-write from prompts (geared toward nonfiction, but adaptable to any genre), share, and discuss the process of sustaining a “writing life”—from solitary practice to publication goals to writing groups—drawing inspiration from Natalie Goldberg, Annie Dillard, and more. Come join us!
Creative Nonfiction I
October 1 - November 5, 2017
Introductory. Do you have a true story that you wish to tell? A desire to explore your ideas, experiences, and emotions in writing? This class will introduce you to the process and craft of writing compelling creative nonfiction: from mining for memories and details through free-writing; to asking yourself what is this story truly about?; to examining your form and structure; to learning how to receive feedback and embrace the work of revision. Each week we will read and discuss a diverse range of creative nonfiction from authors such as Natalie Goldberg, Jesmyn Ward, Lidia Yuknavitch and Cheryl Strayed. Simultaneously, we will experiment with our own topics through writing prompts, and learn about essential craft elements such as: balancing scene and reflection; choosing a point of view; editing for strong, vivid language; and utilizing white space and form. Students will be encouraged to share from their free-writes; to turn in a short piece to the instructor for feedback; and some may also volunteer to workshop their piece with their peers.
Writing as a spiritual practice
July 11, 2017 - August 15, 2017
Connect to your heart and mind this summer by spending six weeks generating new writing and reading short works by authors such as such as Terry Tempest Williams, Joy Harjo, nayyirah waheed, William Stafford, Naomi Shihab Nye, Kerry Egan, and more. Each week we will free-write from prompts and have the option to share our writing, as we contemplate themes such as awareness, gratitude, ritual, grief, empathy, isolation, fear, longing, community, and giving. We will also look at the act of free-writing as a meditative practice that can enrich our daily lives and inform our long-term writing habits. This workshop is open to anyone interested in writing nonfiction-- poets, essayists, those who haven't written in a long time, or those looking for new avenues of exploration. It is also open to anyone regardless of your spiritual beliefs (or lack of beliefs).
Memoir as Collage
April 27 - June 29, 2017
Each week we will explore personal narratives that are told in a lyrical, fragmented, nonlinear fashion. We will also read excerpts from writers such as Pam Houston, Nick Flynn, and Claudia Rankine, examining how they weave together memories, themes, metaphors, genres, and points of view into a rich, complex whole. Utilizing plenty of in-class free-writes, discussion, and an opportunity to workshop/receive feedback on your work, we will aim to explore the theme(s) and structure(s) that exist within your own memoir-in-progress. If you have been looking for an opportunity to produce new writing, to see your memoir from new angles, and to connect to other writers in a supportive environment, this 10-week workshop is for you! All are welcome, though discussions are geared towards intermediate levels.
Home as Metaphor
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
Where have you lived? What structures have sheltered you? How do you exist within the different spaces in your home? Together, we will free-write from a variety of prompts, share when desired, and co-inspire each other as we listen to our meditations on home. Prompts will be geared towards creative nonfiction, but may be adapted to other genres. Come prepared to generate a lot of new material in a respectful, inclusive, and energizing environment.
Writing About spaces In between
March 8 - April 12, 2017
Who are you? How do you identify? Where do you belong? Through in-class writing exercises, readings, and discussion, we will explore our personal identities and contradictions. Whether writing about race, gender, spirituality, privilege, politics, or other realms where we defy easy categorization, together we will examine parts of ourselves and our world that are nuanced and paradoxical. We’ll read and discuss essays by Roxane Gay, Jesmyn Ward, Rebecca Solnit, Eunice Tiptree, and more. Students may opt to submit to me and receive feedback on their own short personal essays.
Other past courses include:
- Mind in Motion: Reading and Writing Contemporary Essays
- Dear You: Letter Writing and Second Person
- Writing, Fear, and Self-Censorship
- Writing Transformation
- Writing Compassion
- Writing Motherhood and Writing Your Birth Story
- Discovering Your Story: Memoir Writing for Seniors
curated for your group or organization:
I am available to design and facilitate a writing workshop for your group's needs.
Workshops can range from 1 to 4 hours, or be spread out over multiple weeks.
Workshops are conducted in a safe, supportive, participatory environment, and will be designed with your group in mind.
I will give a brief talk, share sample readings (time allowing), and otherwise encourage the group to free-write and share together from prompts. Sharing is always voluntary and confidential.
You will learn how to keep your pen moving, turn off the internal editor, and trust in the process... anyone can write!
I will offer your group a chance to process and debrief our experience together, along with ideas for how to continue the practice after our time together.
Groups that may benefit from my generative writing workshops might include:
non-profits looking for a staff team-building experience;
homeschooling groups seeking a creative writing workshop for youth;
senior centers interested in curating your community's memoirs;
mothers seeking to write their birth or motherhood stories;
book clubs, women's groups, friends, or family looking to take creative risks, have fun, and connect;
A sampling of offerings:
Shapeshifting: Writing Mixed Race Narratives
Building a Writing Practice
Writing Compassion: Understanding Ourselves and Others
Discovering your Story: Memoir Writing 101
Dear You: Writing Letters to Connect, Heal, and Transform
Writing Your Birth Story
Writing about Place and Home
If YOU have an idea for a workshop that you would like me to facilitate, please contact me at email@example.com and we can discuss the possibilities! My average workshop rate is $100/hour, with a sliding scale depending on your group's needs, budget, and size.