What if we really talked with each other, & listened to each other,
& held each others' stories as sacred information that could
transform our lives?
What if we learned to shape the stories of our lives
as containers for our experience & an expression
of our heart's greatest desires?
What if we wrote what we had learned & took it home with us
as a guide to realizing our dreams & hopes?
Writing our past in the present can be a life line to a future
filled with hope.
Join us for a women-only weekend lifewriting retreat, led by Sheila Bender, at the beautiful Festival Hill. (Click for maps and directions.) REGISTER NOW!
About the Retreat: "Write! Write! Write! Learn Tools Experts Use and Enhance Your Life Writing"
Spend a weekend with Sheila Bender, founder of Writing It Real, and fill your notebook or laptop with personal essays, vignettes, and poetry that you can incorporate into your ongoing life-writing projects. Sheila offers guided practice with writer's tools for using imagery, lyric sound, dialog, forms of organization and much more. Using Sheila's much talked about gentle, yet empowering three-step responding method, you'll discover your writing's depth, purpose and insight. Her mantra concerning work-in-progress is this: there is no such thing as bad writing, only the opportunity for good writing. Join us for a weekend of writing and sharing to discover those opportunities.
About the Facilitator: Sheila Bender
Sheila is a poet and essayist best known for her books on writing instruction, such as Writing in a New Convertible with the Top Down, Writing Personal Essays, Keeping a Journal You Love, and several others. Her most recent book, A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief, is her most personal: it is a memoir chronicling how reading and writing poetry helped her move through grief after the death of her son.
Read Lisa Shirah-Hiers' interview with Sheila, and her review of Sheila's book, A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief. Read Sharon Lippincott's review of Writing and Publishing Personal Essays.
Sheila has devoted most of her career to the teaching of writing and the improvement of writing instruction. In addition to her nine books on writing, she has written instructional articles for Writer's Digest and The Writer magazines. She is the founder of Writing It Real through which she provides an on-line writing magazine, offers individual and group writing instruction as well as offering writing conferences in Port Townsend, Washington and many other sites across the country. She is also a regular instructor, panelist and presenter at writing and educational conferences nation-wide. She has recently been an instructor for several Story Circle on-line classes. Read more on her website.
About the Location: Festival Hill
Located in historic Round Top, Texas, 75 miles east of Austin, The International Festival-Institute was founded in 1972 by world-renowned concert pianist James Dick and has developed superb year round education and performance programs. It has also created a unique 200-acre campus—Festival Hill—containing major performance facilities, historic houses, extensive gardens, parks and nature preserves. Through its singular collection of rare books, manuscripts, archival material, music and historic recordings, photographs and objects, the Festival-Institute is also known as an important center for research and scholarly study. Planted with thousands of trees and bushes of various species, Festival Hill offers visitors lakes, picnic areas, jogging trails, and wonderful herb gardens.
We'll have triple-occupancy accommodations (three twin beds in each room). Dinner on Friday evening, 3 meals on Saturday (including continental breakfast), continental breakfast on Sunday, and drinks/snacks during breaks are included. A map of the Festival Hill campus is here (pdf).
Registration fees for this weekend retreat:
The fee includes two nights in a triple-occupancy room and five meals. For a single-occupancy room, the rate is $25/night higher. To register, please use our online form.
- Early registration (before December 31, 2012): $400 for SCN members, $445 for non-members (includes a 1-year membership)
- Regular registration: $425 for SCN members, $470 for non-members (includes a 1-year membership)
Participants have the option of an on-your-own Sunday night stayover. Triple-occupancy rate for this extra night is $77; single-occupancy rate is $102.
For those flying to the conference: we will not provide transportation to/from the airport; however, we will serve as a go-between among those needing transportation.
Because we want an intimate retreat, where we can really talk & listen & hold each other's stories as sacred, we are able to accept a limited number of participants. We expect these places to fill very quickly, so please register as soon as you can.
Tentative Schedule / Agenda
- 1pm: check-in begins
- 6pm: dinner
- 7:30-9pm: evening session: "Getting Started (or Re-started): Ideas and Exercises for Coming to the Page Fresh"
- 8am: breakfast
- 9-10:30am: morning session one: "Inventing (or Extending) Our Material: Using Prompts for Writing in 10-Minute Spurts"
- 10:30-11am: coffee/tea break
- 11-11:45am: morning session two: "Shaping Our Starts: How Structure Helps you Continue the Exploration"
- 11:45am-2pm: lunch & free time (lunch @ noon)
- 2-3:30pm: afternoon session one: "There is No Bad Writing, Only the Opportunity for Good Writing: Working the Shaping Process"
- 3:30-4pm: coffee/tea/cookie break
- 4-5pm: afternoon session two: "Writing is in the Revision"
- 5-7pm: dinner & free time (dinner @ 6)
- 7-8pm: evening session (optional): Sheila will be available to address the questions you bring about writing and the writing life: the process, the product, the tools, etc.
SCN, Susan Albert's, and Sheila Bender's books will be available for purchase during this time.
- 8am: breakfast
- 9-10:30am morning session one: "Where Do I Go From Here? Applying What We've Done to Existing Work"
- 10:30-11am: coffee/tea break
- 11-11:30am: Wrap Up: "Bringing It All Home"
- 11:30am: check-out