Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop!

Tomorrow I head off to The Kenyon Review Writing Workshop. I've mentioned it a few times in the last few weeks, because I'm so excited to go. This will be my second summer attending, so I know what to expect, but mentally I'm still preparing for "writing bootcamp."

The workshop is set is beautiful, beautiful Kenyon College (the college of John Green!!!), and involves about seventy writers from all over the world (last year we had writers from as far away as Ireland and Alaska). I'll be there from Saturday until the next Saturday, and I'll be writing nonstop. Last year I stayed in Taft Cottages, which was on the edge of campus, but this year I'm trying the dorms to be more in the middle of things. I haven't lived in a dorm since sophomore year in college, so that should be an adventure in and among itself!

The first night includes a dinner under the trees. It was right out of a movie or something...we ate under trees with branches as our ceiling and had goodies like strawberry shortcake. After dinner, we have an introduction meeting and everyone heads off to sleep to prepare for the start of the workshop the next day. Believe me, we need to get to bed early to prepare!

The program breaks us into groups of ten. This year 40 fiction writers were accepted (there are also two groups of poets and two of nonfiction) and I'll be working with author Ron Carlson. I'm beside myself to work with him, his craft with short stories is one I've admired for over a decade.

We get up every morning and workshop with our group for about four hours. We're expected to write a piece a night and share it the next morning. It's a lot of pressure to produce writing so fast, bit I came away from some great writing last year. After workshop, we break for lunch and have the afternoon to write our new assignment for the next day. The evening is full of readings from the authors who lead our workshops, their fellows (an assistant each of them chooses) and then from us. Yes, us! We have to read one of our pieces in front of everyone! Last year I was the last person to read in the entire conference, so I had to stress and worry the whole week. It wasn't bad, though, and I'm not too worried about reading this year.

I met some amazing people at the workshop last year, had lots of good late night talks about writing. I came home exhausted (both physically and mentally) but so motivated and excited to write. I can't wait to head off to the workshop again this year, and I plan to blog a lot about it (and if I can't, I've got questions from all of you to still answer). I must admit that I'm excited to be back writing in the same town/campus that John Green did. You all know that he's my writing crush, and I look forward to channeling some of his greatness while on campus to help with my own writing!

Okay, off to pack! :)


Kristan said...

Heh, didn't realize John Green was a Kenyon alum. Now that I know, it seems fitting.

Oh how I miss Gambier, OH. It actually inspired an entire YA book for me! One that I'm itching to write... right after I finish 20SW. (If/when that ever happens... o_O)

Have fun, and say hi to Tyler for me!

Rachele Alpine said...'ll be missed! You saw the post ahead of time, I didn't mean to post it last night! Ba ha ha!

Emilia Plater said...

The environment sounds challenging, but inspiring. I bet you're having a ton of fun! :)