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POSTPONED: Tender Wild Writing Retreat

March 13 - 15, 2020

Join us as we explore the wild parts of writing, the tender stories that must be told, and ways to engage yourself and others in writing practices that bring life back. Join Bethany Bylsma, Tyler Dunning, and fifteen of your newest soul-friends on this 3-day writing retreat exploring the therapeutic benefits of writing.

Earlybird pricing:
Registration Rate, solo lodging: $750
Registration Rate, shared lodging: $700
Registration Rate, commuting: $450

All photos by Rachel Morell. Click image to view gallery.

Join us for a journey into these ideas: 

Friday / Writing in the Wellness of Everyday

There is a fallacy to creativity in that many believe it first requires crisis and that self-destruction is the fast track to creative success. We hope to challenge this long-held notion by encouraging you to seek creation in wellness. You are here, awake, alert, alive. Your next essay doesn’t need to come from a bad breakup; the quote “write drunk, edit sober” doesn’t need to be taped above your desk. In this initial session we will introduce this notion of “writing in wellness” through introductions, inspirations, and an “altar” exercise. Tyler and Bethany will then talk about their ten-year backstory and the power of being penpals.

Saturday Morning / Writing Through Hard Emotions

Therapeutic writing is simply writing that relates to healing, addressing the dis-ease of our lives. For many, memoir, essays, and short stories are ways to record personal histories. And yet, all story is fiction. It is the way I remember the Christmas of 1990, not the way youdo. Learning to confront our own stories, depict friends and family, and learning how and when to separate sentiment from narrative is important. In this session Bethany will lead the group in writing practice based on Where I’m From poems used in classrooms across the country. Tyler will give personal anecdotes about lessons learned as a memoir writer.

Saturday Afternoon / The Art of Honesty

Finding your particular voice can be scary in life, and in writing. We learn from a very early age through mimicry, encouragement, and relationship. Our writing has a similar developmental process. We learn by what we read, we write using the voice of our teachers, our muses, our inspirations. And then we come into our own. This 3rd session will blend writing prompts and exercises with an exploration of the land at the Whidbey Institute. Bethany will offer conversation around thin/thick descriptions used in therapeutic spaces as a way to offer engagement around honest writing, and Bethany and Tyler will discuss their chosen platforms as places that hold their honesty best.

Final Day / Addressing the Ego: Ways to Avoid Taking Personal Critique Personally

Any creative process and art form that is to be shared asks of us to sacrifice our ego on the altar of criticism. Not everything we do will be loved. Not everything we write will be understood. Not every story will translate to a larger audience. So how do we survive the scrutiny of others while at the same time bravely offering ourselves to the world? This session will address tips and tricks of the trade: How to grow more comfortable sharing your work, how to metabolize rejection and critique, how to send your super-ego to a timeout in order to pursue the work.

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