As soon as I could grasp that it was people who wrote the books I loved — real people! not magicians! — I wanted to grasp a pen. My entire life, whenever anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered, “Oh, I want to be [insert latest wish here]. And I want to write about it.”
Somehow, I’ve come to earn a living by writing about it.
I love writing this site. I love writing our cookbooks. I love writing freelance pieces and book reviews. Mostly, I adore writing long-form personal essays, the searching funny tumbling out the words telling a story that means something to the reader kind. I’ve gone back to writing lately. Writing that might not see the light of day for awhile. But writing.
As soon as I return to a dedicated writing practice, I long to go back to teaching writing too. The past few years, I’ve been focused on teaching baking classes, which I have loved. However, now that we have our Craftsy gluten-free baking video series, we know you can find many of the answers you’d like to see online. Let me teach you there. (We’ll be doing another video class with Craftsy again soon.)
For now, I’m going back to teaching writing. I’ve been teaching writing — in high schools, in arts camps, at writing studios, at writers’ retreats across the country — for more than 20 years. Teaching writing is one of my deepest loves.
And I’d love to see you on Vashon soon.
The Room Where It Happens: A Seminar in the Craft of Narrative Writing.
Let’s gather together in a room full of writers and talk about this weird, wonderful habit we have.
In this all-day workshop, with lunch provided, we will dive into the craft of the personal essay. We’ll explore the ways that extraordinary essays are really focused arguments, a personal exploration in service to the reader. We all have a voice. Let’s use it well.
Together, we will discuss the importance of specificity of detail, a sense of place, voice, and the role that writing about food can have in an essay written for another forum than a blog or cookbook. We’ll draw inspiration from writers such as Francis Lam, Eudora Welty, C.S. Lewis, Nora Ephron, Ta Nehisi Coates, Laurie Colwin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joan Didion, and Diana Abu-Jaber.
We’ll talk about writing as a process of discovery, as a means to see the patterns that cycle through a life, and as catharsis. We’ll also talk about how to write pieces that make other people laugh and see the world differently.
And of course, there will be plenty of writing exercises and chances to critique each other kindly. This will be a full day.
You will leave with a full mind and belly. I think I can also guarantee you’ll want to run home and start writing after this workshop.
You don’t have to be a published writer to be part of this seminar. You have to love the hard, beautiful practice of writing.
The seminar begins at 9:30 am and ends at 3:30 pm, with an hour for lunch and conversation at 12.
I’m teaching this seminar on Saturday, June 18th.
We’ll gather at the Lodges on Vashon, a wonderful space near town here on our island. They’re running a special right now, for those of you who would like a writing retreat weekend. You will have a night’s stay at the Lodges, the writing seminar, and a Moleskine notebook for all your new ideas. It sounds wonderful to me.
Would you like a writing retreat, among others who also love writing like breath, with lunch provided?
Or, you can buy it right here, right now.
See you soon. Pens up!