Here’s a (very) long list of some of the programs I’ve created and run in the last six years… *
Keep Your Pen Moving
A workshop for anyone who wants bulgy hand muscles
A retreat you don’t need to leave town for
“Summer Sanctuary” is a weekend of writing for people who want to slow the noise of July to hear their own creative voices. Together, we’ll create a sanctuary in the midst of our busy lives and our busy city, and then fill that sanctuary with writing. Using creative exercises to get our voices loose and free, we’ll listen close and them choose one writing project, large or small, that we want to move forward. With a mix of structured writing assignments, self-reflection, silent time and discussion about our creative lives, we’ll explore who we are as writers and we’ll scribble our hearts out in a supportive community of other people who are on the same path. Expect laughter, productivity, release, supportive community and delicious fresh baking.
Coming Home to Writing
A web-based class for writers who don’t think they are writers just yet.
Over 7 weeks of interactive web workshops and gentle deadlines, we’ll “Come Home” to our creative selves, shedding unnecessary pressures and settling into the writers we already are. This class will be both gentle and focused, reflective and productive.
The Blog Shop
This online workshop will gather together people who want to blog, need to blog, intend to blog, but just don’t seem to get around to blogging. Claim your blogging voice, figure out what your material is, get a (gasp) formula for blog posts, write your heart out and connect to a community of other bloggers on the same path.
A retreat for women
This rejuvenating weekend will invite participants to slow down, breathe deeply and take in the stunning beauty of another June in Ontario. Come expecting gentle yoga to settle your body, writing exercises to express your self, mouth-watering vegetarian meals, the peace of a silent Sunday breakfast, as well as plenty of time to chat, hike, swim, pick wildflowers, snooze in the sun, or simply sit in the midst of the beautiful, rolling Northumberland Hills.
Writers and yogis of all levels of experience are most welcome, including those with no experience at all. Co-facilitated with the amazing Lindsay Hall!
Not Your Average Travel Writing Class
A workshop to get your journeys on paper
Most travel writing classes teach students how to write writing zippy blurbs about their experiences as tourists. In this workshop we’ll uncover our real journeys – the stubbed toes, the lost tickets, sudden friendships and unexpected awe. Each participant will choose one journey to write about over the entire season, digging under the surface with questions like: What was this trip truly about for me? How did it change me? When was the moment of change? We’ll also explore how to develop characters, work with details, and find the arc of our stories. By the end of this workshop, participants will have a store-house of writing about the journey of their choice, and a clear plan of how to put it all together.
Listening At The Door of the Heart
A workshop on creative journaling
This is a brand new experiment in creativity – not so much a workshop, but a playground, where participants will let their hearts out onto the page using words, sparkles, finger-paint, glue sticks and more. We’ll make lists and rants, manifestos and one-word poems, collages and mirages. We’ll also create beautiful journal pages to fill in later. All levels of art and writing experience welcome, only open minds are required.
A retreat for folks who are ready to dive.
Got a project you just can’t find time for? City noises distracting you from creative nourishment? Need to reconnect to your writing voice? The idea of this retreat is to create a beautiful and cozy space for good people to write, write and write more. We’ll spend the first half of each day in silence, working and dreaming independently. Bring along a laptop or journal, sit on the beach, walk the country roads, breathe, nap, swim, listen to the waves lap and write your heart out. The second half of each day will be a mix of workshops, food, wine, readings, campfires, music and sleeping.
A workshop for the faint-of-hand
Terrified of the idea of poetry? Think it’s something that other people do? Want to rekindle an old passion for napkin poems and words doodled in margins? Prepare to surprise yourself. This class will create a fun space to dip your toes into the magnificent ocean of one of humankind’s oldest art forms. Come for fun, colourful, not-too-serious approaches to using words in new, vibrant ways.
A workshop for women on writing sexy prose
The reason that your hands are so sexy is because they can write! The fabulous Melissa Benner and I will co-facilitate this sizzling half-day workshop in the West End. We’ll explore the ways that words can light you up from the inside, using poetry, prose, readings, memories and, of course, our beautiful imaginations. This is for the nervous and the confident; the experienced and the tentatively excited. The focus will be on creating a safe, fun, supportive and nourishing space for everyone to start making some literary sparks. All that is required is an open mind, a great pen, and a lot of paper. This is a queer-positive space. All sexualities welcome. And of course: Sharing is always optional.
A retreat for folks who are ready to dive.
Got a project you just can’t find time for? City noises distracting you from creative nourishment? Need to reconnect to your writing voice? The idea of this retreat is to create a beautiful and cozy space for good people to write, write and write more. We’ll spend the first half of each day in silence, working and dreaming independently. Bring along a laptop or journal, sit on the beach, walk the country roads, breathe, nap, swim, listen to the waves lap and write your heart out. The second half of each day will be a mix of workshops, food, wine, readings, campfires, music and sleeping. Open to anyone who has a project they need some space for.
A workshop for women who want to write about their lives
Escape the grind for eight evenings of soul-nourishing writing with a small group of like-minded women. In this class, participants will delve into their own life stories with the help of short writing exercises, inspiring examples of women’s autobiographical work, supportive feedback and lots of sharing. The focus will be on creating a nourishing space to help participants find their writing voices and record their stories, laughing, supporting, and eating delicious snacks all the way along. Beginner and seasoned students very welcome.
Four Seasons of Writing
A workshop just for the self-defined “older” women in my community. This one-day retreat at the peaceful Loretto Maryholme Centre will be a gathering of women who wish to write, connect, and explore what it means to be in a seasoned season of their incredible lives. It will include both structured and unstructured time to write, breathe and enjoy the beauty of the woods, labyrinth, docks and Lake Simcoe shoreline. Come for community, laughter, connection and the restorative powers of rural Ontario.
A one-day retreat for mothers with stories to tell
This one-day workshop is for mom’s (including step-mom’s, foster mom’s, adopted mom’s and more) who want to step away from their busy lives, take a breath, and get writing. We’ll spend the day reflecting, scribbling and connecting at the beautiful Loretto Maryholme Spirituality Center, one hour north of Toronto. In a cottage by a lake, we’ll work on sketching “motherhood timelines” lifting out some of our most important stories and beginning to write them down. We’ll talk about the craft of writing, and some of the joy and fear that we typically encounter when we begin. Come to this workshop for laughter, connection, silence, productivity, yummy lunch, and the restorative powers of rural Ontario.
The Manuscript Group
A workshop for people who are ready to dive
I know, I know. MANUSCRIPT is a big word. (The hippie in me wants to call it a womanuscript, but I’ll spare you). A manuscript is simply a big, finished piece of work. This class is for people who might just be ready to create one.
Do you have a series of poems that are gaining momentum, an idea for a novel you can’t put down or some bits of memoir that are beginning to feel like a collection? Do you have any piece of creative writing that needs some support to see through to its beautiful conclusion?
This group will meet nine times over an 18-week period to write, workshop and support these projects into their finished form. We’ll begin by meeting weekly, then bi-weekly, then every third week. In between sessions, email contact between participants and one-on-one coaching sessions will keep participants on their paths. Come prepared to support and be supported. No project will duck out unfinished.
Summer Creative Pressure Valve
Short workshops for summer attention spans
Admit it. No one wants to be inside in July and August. These three workshops are designed to help keep your creative spirit nourished through the summer months, without taking time away from lake-jumping and dandelion-picking. There isn’t a theme per say, just lots of prompts, poems and brand new ways to keep your pen dancing across the page.
A workshop for people starting creative projects
Creative projects, just like everything, need roots in order to grow. In this workshop we will use writing and group process to let your current creative project sink more deeply into the soil of your life. We will ask questions like: What is the heart-message of this work? What was the calling that led you to this project in the first place? How does this project come from your history, your questions, your wounds and your achievements? How do these roots point to to what comes next?
Using lists, quick writes and creative visualizations, we’ll explore our work’s connection inward, and see what that shows us for its direction forward.
The People Inside You
A workshop on character development
This is an ideal class for those who are new to writing, or those who have already taken a few steps down that road. Each student will create and nurture one new character across the season, paving the way for writing short stories in the summer. As well, we’ll use writing to explore deeper questions about drive, voice audience and play. Come to learn about yourself through the baffling and beautiful world of your imagination.
A short fiction class
There are few things more empowering than creating a fictional world, and then watching it grow. In this class we’ll travel together through every stage of story-writing, including character development, setting, dialogue, suspense, and new ways to look at that p-word… plot. Each participant will end with a finished short story that they are excessively proud of.
A poetry workshop in Chile
What is a poem? The answers are endless. A poem can capture a moment, ask a question, or tell a story. A poem can tune us in to the world unfolding around us, and it can make that same world close down to a whisper. A poem can be political act, a romantic gesture, a rallying cry, a tribute or a spiritual affirmation. But above all, a poem is an act of freedom. It is a hammer to break the hard shell around the ways that we usually express ourselves.
Travel is another act of freedom. Getting on an airplane to South America, you will be lifting off from your expected ways of experiencing the world. Horses in the back yard. Springtime in October. New air, new food, cacophonies of morning birdsong.
At this 2-week retreat we’ll breathe in the warm, unexpected air of a Chilean springtime while exploring all kinds of roles that poetry can play. Participants will be encouraged to experiment, break loose, be free and unencumbered. We will write in the moonlight and in the blazing sun, on busy city streets and peaceful grassy foothills, we will write beside the crashing ocean and around a cozy dining room table. We will write to music and birdsong and in silence. We will write about our pasts and futures, our wishes and homes, our loves and our questions. We will write as an act of presence, of connection, and of freedom.