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Posts Tagged ‘workshop’

Photo of Devil's Island Sea Caves in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore by Cliff Odendahl.

Devils Island Sea Caves in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Photo by Cliff Odendahl, Copyright 2013

A few months ago I sent a book draft to my editor and wrote a short story for a local writing contest — my first work of fiction since I was a child. I was in the writing groove.

Then, suddenly, somebody close to me died and I suspended my regular activities while I helped take care of other matters. As time passed and I got back on track with other work and activities, I still didn’t write. Of course, the longer you are away from something, the more difficult it is to pick it up again. I doubt I am the first writer to lose my momentum for a period of time.

The spark to write again came from a workshop I attended at Madeline Island School of the Arts last week. I can’t say enough good things about Catherine Watson and Jane O’Reilly, who guided the class in writing personal stories with descriptive detail and emotion, and my fellow participants who supported each other’s efforts and results.

The school itself is a warm and friendly operation, located on an idyllic setting on an island in Lake Superior. My husband, Cliff, was enrolled in another workshop going on at the same time, Craig Blacklock’s photography class. For months I had been telling people that Cliff and I were going to “art camp” together this summer. We shared a cabin at the school, but with wildly divergent schedules we rarely saw each other except for occasional meals. Cliff loved his opportunity to photograph the beauty of the island and the majesty of Lake Superior.

I was on a high, living in a bubble where writing and learning about writing was my focus morning, noon and night. I am motivated to keeping the spark alive at home by writing in my blog and in my work-in-progress book, Realize Your Dreams: Create an Action Plan for Life Transformation, along with a couple other projects.

The creation of art can be a solitary activity. We can all benefit from opportunities to meet with others, expand our perspectives, learn from great teachers, exchange knowledge and share our own personal work with like-minded people. If you are a writer or an artist who could use a spark of your own – seek out a workshop, class, or conference – anything that will stimulate you and your passion for your work.

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At the “Writing in the Garden” workshop. I’m the gray-haired lady with my back to the camera.
Photograph is courtesy of Blue Cottage Agency.

It is inspiring to spend time with people who are fulfilling their passions for creative expression. I am fortunate to be experiencing more than my share of art immersion this week.

I am still pumped from spending yesterday at the 3rd Annual Writing in the Garden Workshop in Minnesota. It was attended by writers of various interests and genres.  Some are working on a project – others are published authors.  Everybody was friendly and eager to learn.

The workshop was led by writer and teacher, Angela Foster and historical fiction author Candace Simar.  Check out Candace’s recently published book, Blooming Prairie, Book Four of the Abercrombie Trail Series. 

On Monday this week I joined some other members of the Kanabec County Art Association at a weekly get-together, where we work on our art projects or just enjoy each others’ company.  I have found that artists are generally sociable and knowledgeable because they are interested in so many different subjects.        

Are you realizing your dreams for creativity and personal expression? It is not difficult or expensive to seek out camaraderie and educational opportunities with like-minded creative people.  If you need a pick-me-up find a class, workshop or organization that appeals to your interests and check it out.

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Here is the guy I fell for! This photo shows Cliff on his bike, with our travel trailer, taken in the early 1980s.

I am living in the 1980s, as I remember my past in order to realize my dreams for the future.  I am writing my first travel memoir.

Traveling Together: Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Make Three is about the journeys I took with my husband which generated stories of love and adventure.  During the past few years I have been composing my account of these stories during writing classes. Now I am putting the chapters together to become my first e-book.

I am well on my way to completing this memoir. My plans are to publish this as a Kindle e-book before I publish the book I have been working on: Realize Your Dreams: An Action Plan for Life Transformation.

Last week I had the great privilege to participate in a writing workshop called Pilgrimages: Mindful Travel Writing & Memoir at Madeline Island School of the Arts, where I worked on this memoir.  It was taught by Catherine Watson, an accomplished travel writer and inspiring instructor and mentor.  I was part of a small group of students who poured our hearts out, writing in a supportive environment. My thanks to all involved. Did a mention that it was a fantastic experience?

The reason I was able to participate in this workshop is because I was the recipient of an Individual Artists Grant, which I would like to acknowledge with gratitude: “This activity is made possible by a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council with funds generously provided by the McKnight Foundation.”

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