Go deeper into your writing this Spring 2014 – Go ForWords!

In this Post:

Costa Rica waterfront 300

  • Blue Heron Writing Classes starting March 7
  • Blue Heron SoulCollage Course startingMarch 9
  • and a SoulCollage weekend with PatSchneider and me in Amherst Massachusetts in July
  • Writing in ITALY April 2014
  • 2014 Writers’ Sanctuary and PoetrySanctuary
  • Some courses for the Fall 2014 and beyond, and
  • A couple of Memoir-oriented contest deadlines coming up this month


Dear Friends,

It’s been a quiet three months – I have kept my schedule fairly clear during this time to create time to work on my own writing, although I continue to teach at the jail once a month, and I have been leading Sanctuaries. I’m also still completing the supervision stage of my psychotherapy license.

Writing in Costa Rica 300I feel incredibly grateful for the work I’vebeen called and allowed to do. I couldn’t imagine a life any more satisfying –working intimately with people and their stories and helping writers achievetheir dreams. Several of our participants have published their books, and onehas signed a two book deal with Simon and Schuster. For the last two years, the WCDR’s $1000 Prose Contest prize went to our students and participants in Sanctuary,and just this week I got news from four participants in my classes and groups that they’d won first, second (two of them) and placed in contests.

Still we wanted – and needed – to take a break and rethink and restructure how we teach the courses. I’ve been meaning to write to you for awhile, but life and work commitments still intrude. However at this moment I’m in Day 11 of ourCosta Rica Radical Restoration trip and I’ve made the time to let you know what’scoming up.

The Beach 250We will be starting A Novel Approach again this coming September, anchoring itto the school year now, instead of the calendar year. We will also be doing The Final Approachagain, as well as a course that comes between those two – I’ll be sending outanother notice as soon as we’re ready to announce the details for that.

In the meantime, there are a few opportunities coming up very shortly I wantedto let you know about, and some farther away that I’m working on.

My very best wishes for you and your work.



Pen in  a  300

Beginning on March 7th (this Friday!), I will be teaching the “Pen in Hand, Ink on Page” group again. This is a class where we try out techniques in Memoir, Poetry, Fiction, and where we develop 2 and a half hours to our writing every week. It’s a high creativity/low stress, high community/low anxiety way to make sure you spend regular time on your writing projects.



Colour aSacred feminine

Beginning on March 9th (this coming Sunday Evening) I will be leading six weeks of SoulCollage at Blue Heron.

I will also be leading a SoulCollage workshop hosted by Pat Schneider in Amherst Massachusetts in July, 2014. The details of that aren’t up on the website yet, but I expect it’s going to fill very quickly once it’s posted, so if you’re interested, please contact me using the contact form on this website.



Italy 300

There are just a couple of spots left for our combined yoga and writing retreat in Italy beginning on April 19th. As I am immersed right now in the magic of Radical Restoration in Costa Rica, I acknowledge all over again what a truly restorative practice this is, both physically and for the writer in you. Esana Lotfy’s yoga is a remarkable experience – a gentle, humane, deeply self-compassionate and loving practice that stretches body and spirit. And later in the morning, the writing takes over where the yoga left off, and as writers we explore both technique and intuition, producing work that takes us to places both personally and artistically that it is difficult to get to alone, in a deeply supportive community of writers.



winter deerWe’re thrilled with our new space. The large bright workshop room is wonderful for the morning session of writing together, and there are more private spaces for the silent afternoons. James is now offering a Poetry Sanctuary once a month as well.

If you’ve been meaning to come back to a Sanctuary, or you’ve always wanted to try one, all the dates for this year are at this link



A NOVEL APPROACH – Book length projects

A Novel Approach graphic 300

We will be starting A Novel Approach again this coming September, anchoring it to the school year now, instead of the calendar year. We will also be doing The Final Approach again, as well as a course that comes between those two and is meant for those who have a first draft manuscript and want to do a second draft – I’ll be sending out another notice as soon as we’re ready to announce the details for that. In the meantime, if you’re interested in any of these offerings, please email us.




Just a note about what’s coming up: in the fall I will be doing training for Amherst Writers facilitators program again: September in Chicago, and a training in Toronto in November that’s almost full already. If you’re thinking of leading AWA-style workshops (the most rewarding work I know!) please contact AWA.

Also, as some of you know, last fall James and I went to Mallorca to study with the phenomenal American poet Ellen Bass. If you don’t know her poetry, you can see some of it on Writer’s Almanac here. She has agreed to come to Ontario in the fall of 2015, so mark your calendars. I’ll let you know more as the details solidify.




Many of you know of my passion for writing memoir as a transformative art. If you’ve been working on memoir pieces, here are a couple of places to offer your work:

Glimmertrain Family Matters Contest-Deadline March 31, Fee $15.
Winning entries will be presented as fiction and must read like fiction but based on your real experiences. 12,000 words max, shorter pieces welcome. Worth the effort with this prize structure: $1,500, publication + 20 copies of the issue, $500, $300 (2nd and 3rd, if published, receive $700 + 10 copies). Learn more at http://glimmertrain.stores.yahoo.net/familymatters.html

Prime Number Magazine Awards-Deadline March 31, Fee $13.
Creative Nonfiction category takes 751 – 5,000 words.
Prizes $251 and pubication in the magazine and Editors Selection annual, $101, $53 and consideration for publication in both editions.
Multiple submissions accepted with separate fee for each.
Check this one at: http://www.primenumbermagazine.com/Awards_2014.html

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In the summer of 2013 I was invited to do a TEDtalk on “Shining the light on our Changing Communities”. I talked about the therapeutic writing program I do with incarcerated women. You can view the talk here.

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