Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Self as Source (part two)

     One sunny May morning, as we were preparing to co-teach "The Self as the Source of the Story" - a five-day writing retreat on Whidbey Island - I turned to Christina Baldwin and said: "You don't teach writing; you skilfully create the environment in which great writing can come forth. Self as Source is  an incubator."

    Over the course of the next five days, as we delved deeply into the material of this wonderful retreat, I paid close attention to the process of fostering an ideal writing environment - an environment that develops simultaneously in the material world and in the inner life of the writer.

     Self as Source weaves a safe web, one that is grounded in the principles of circle practice and Christina's deep knowledge of writing and story. Within this web, people discover and pick up the threads of their personal narratives and begin to write the stories that need to be told. As Christina reminds us in Storycatcher, "We record unspoken experiences in the mind and body, but unless we can story it out, experience remains inside us shrouded like fog hanging over water" (81).
     It was inspiring to join with Christina, lay my knowledge next to hers and enjoy the back and forth of dialogue as we teased out the craft of writing and the power of story. I look forward to bringing this workshop to the UK in 2015.

     And finally, on a day that marks the death of a great storyteller and liver of life, Maya Angelou, it feels fitting to honour the craft and process of writing. Maya Angelou was one who understood the power of story and the enchantment of writing with every ounce of her. I will miss her voice on this earth. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Self As Source

I am on Whidbey Island, a spot of heaven in the Pacific Northwest of America. Through a picture window, sun-rippled water extends towards the snow-covered Olympic mountains and the sky is defiantly blue despite the island's reputation for changeable weather.

Today begins my experience of co-facilitating a writing retreat aptly named "The Self as the Source of the Story" with writer and educator Christina Baldwin. Self as Source is an inspired five-day writing retreat designed to help people move beyond journal writing to "tackle a portion of their life experience by writing memoir, autobiography, essay or fiction." Christina Baldwin - creator of this retreat, author of numerous books on writing, and co-creator of Peer Spirit -  has agreed to mentor me in the process of learning to teach Self as Source so that I can bring it to the UK.

Before I write any posts related to this experience, here is a taste of the setting. The first photo gives a glimpse of the Olympics, and the subsequent photos show the retreat setting of Aldermarsh.