Workshops

Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time. . . We must prime it with a little solitude and idleness.

Brenda Ueland

Writing from the Mountains: October 28-30, 2022

For seven years, Chris has been leading periodic workshops for writers of all stripes and experience. Writing from Nature sends participants out onto trails and in natural places to observe. Then we do guided writing exercises.

Chris developed Writing from the Mountains to take Appalachia journal, which she edits, into a personal workshop for writers of all levels. This is the kind of workshop she would have benefitted from in her own development as a writer.

Writing from the Mountains is returning to its roots at Cardigan Lodge this year. Sign up to spend a quiet weekend with plenty of outdoor creative time, guidance, new writing, and community with other like-minded writers. This year I welcome writer Elissa Ely, who will help lead.

Writers are born, and then made. We are compelled to write. Writing usually chooses the writer; it feels like a calling. Writing is a solitary job but requires a community to thrive. We face this paradox every working day. We need a strong community. We need the right community.

Many writers already realize that their work is not merely an indoor, sedentary pursuit but that the best ideas come in a flash while we are doing other things that have nothing to do with writing. Moving through nature can deliver this flash. We will help you find it and write it. The workshops are for writers of all levels. Anyone who wants to use the backcountry as a way to tell human stories.

Tentative agenda

Arrive by 6 p.m. Friday night

Introduction to the landscape around Cardigan Lodge. Its history, ecosystem, weather. 

Discussion. We’ll talk about why we write and share some memories, perhaps an early story of being outside.

Saturday: Breakfast. We will spend the morning venturing solo onto the trails around the lodge (we have guides to keep you on track) with no pen or notebook, no picture-taking. Just pay attention with no agenda. Guided writing inside afterwards.

Lunch. Discussion of essays and poetry shared ahead. Writing exercises: we will produce some new material all weekend.

Our special guest this weekend: Elissa Ely, whose pieces about encounters with people on mountains have appeared in Appalachia, the Boston Globe, and elsewhere. She will present some of her ideas about writing.

Free rambling outside. Some of you might meet with Chris to discuss works in progress.

Dinner. After dinner, we encourage writers to read sections of their new work from Saturday. 

Sunday: Breakfast, followed by an hour outside observing (unlike what you did on Saturday morning). Just watching, listening, and even photographing a spot you choose. Write down everything you can. We will share some of what we “collect” afterwards.

We will then reconvene and share readings and reflections.

My workshops are tailored to the way I felt as a new writer. I encourage new ideas without judgement. I help you become your best selves. The noise of the literary world can intrude on our particular voices. Of course, other published writers also inspire us, and genres of writing provide a place for us to land as we make our writing careers.

Writing from Nature

Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold.

Henry David Thoreau

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