Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Calling Myself a Writer: Write Doe Bay 2015

The first time I attended Write Doe Bay, I was tagging along with my friend Claire, who was a teaching artist for the weekend. She convinced me it was something I needed after months of listening to me complain of a creative stagnancy that was making it hard for me to focus on my current project. So I went with her--on a plane, in a car, on a ferry boat and then another car and then a hike through the woods to this place that would end up changing me forever.

I'd been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. Making up stories in my head for as long as I could remember. I'd published essays, gone to graduate school, won writing awards. My memoir had been published just ten months earlier. I didn't call myself a writer. 

It's hard to explain the magic of Doe Bay. And yes, I do mean magic. It's near enough to visit for the weekend, but so far from the "real" world that I had to strip layers and layers away just to get there. Nestled on tiny Orcas Island off the coast of Seattle, it is quiet, and serene, and stunningly beautiful, but also charged with an subtle, palpable energy that vibrates through you--an energy that is both a calming and an awakening in every breath.

I taught writing, published writing, breathed writing...but I didn't call myself a writer.

And Write? Write is a room full of magic and creativity and community and art. It's hot coffee and scribbled-in journals and learning new things. It's cracking your craft wide open and seeing everything upside down in a way that makes perfect sense. It's a whole lot of people who get it, who get you, and aren't afraid to hear you out and lift you up until you're different than you were when you walked in the door.

A little braver. A little more honest. A little more determined to go back to your regular life and kick some serious creative ass.

Today, I call myself a writer. 

Write Doe Bay helped me realize that being a writer isn't something you can define. It doesn't come all wrapped up in red ribbon when you publish a poem or or finish your first novel or hit the bestseller list. It's this tiny, unquenchable flame that comes from within you, and either you're born with it, or you seek it out, or you stumble on it by accident somewhere along the way. It's knowing yourself and respecting your craft enough to say the word "writer" out loud--without fear, without shame, without expectation of any outcome other than to do, and be, and believe. And more than anything else, it's a flame that needs oxygen and faith, hard work and community, and a willingness to chase impossible dreams in order to keep on burning.

Last February, I was honored to return to Write Doe Bay as a teaching artist, where I shared knowledge and space with another incredible group of writers, artists and creatives. In the midst of the support and revolution of that particular Write weekend, I made the life-altering decision to quit my marketing job and, for the first time in my life, focus exclusively on my career as an author.

This October 8-11, as I complete the manuscript for my first novel and continue to chase down new writing dreams, I'm returning to Write Doe Bay once again as a teaching artist, along with talented writers, musicians and creators Nikki McClure, Kris Orlowski and Jonathan Zwickel. I'm honored to share their space and hear their stories, and I'm excited to settle, once again, into the fabric of the magical Write community that unlocks new stories every day. If you've heard me talk about Write Doe Bay before and are thinking about attending, I hope you'll take the plunge and meet me on Orcas Island this fall for an unforgettable experience.

The details:

WRITE DOE BAY is an intimate 2.5 day writer's retreat and multi-workshop event held on beautiful Orcas Island, WA at Doe Bay Resort. We host award-winning authors/ writers of genres ranging from memoir, fiction, screenplay, songwriting, poetry, and more. We welcome participants at any stage of their creative path including those who are ready to take their first steps. 

WHEN: OCTOBER 8-11, 2015

FEES: $800 for workshop tuition, resort accommodations, and meals.

FORMAT: Workshops are held Friday and Saturday morning and afternoon. Evenings include a writer's open mic (for participants, teaching artists, and staff to share pieces of their work) and singer songwriter showcase set by Kris Orlowski. Sunday morning includes a closing ceremony and time for personal writing and exploration of the resort. 

For more information, teaching artist profiles and to register, visit http://www.writedoebay.com/

If you have questions about the retreat, please email writedoebay@gmail.com (or send them my way!) Looking forward to sharing some magic together...

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyable article - your style of writing is honest and ethereal, and resonates... I love the photos, can definitely see how such a scenic location can tap into immense creativity that may have been latent... To be honest I'm very inspired to try this kind of workshop, sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks for the article and keep up the great work!