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Are you ready for a Tropical Breakthrough? (TWO SPOTS LEFT)

Have you felt stuck in your writing?
Have you lost your creative spark? 
Are you missing your creative community?

Are you longing for a fresh perspective, an adventure to energize your spirit?
A creative reset that takes your writing to the next level?

Just this once would you like to say yes to yourself and your art

Tropical Breakthrough:
Restore, Renew, and Recommit to Your Writing

in COSTA RICA! 
with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman

February 4-10, 2022

Dear Friends–

Over the last 18 months we’ve all learned so much about what really matters–family, health, happiness. We’ve learned we can’t take the future for granted. 

And whether you’ve been struggling to create in the face of so much uncertainty or have been flooded with strange new ideas, we’ve also gained a true appreciation for the healing, inspiring, vision-casting power of our art. 

But we are no good to anyone–including our writing–if we don’t first take care of the creative instrument: ourselves.

Join us February 4-10, 2022, as we leave the cold winter behind and journey to our own private jungle sanctuary for a breakthrough week of inspiration, creation, and transformation. 

What if you could take care of yourself, go deep into your writing, and say yes to yourself after this long year?

What if you could work with your colleagues and mentors, taking new risks with your art? 

What if you could hug your writing community again?

And what if you could do all this in beautiful COSTA RICA in the middle of winter?

What if you just need a little jolt of inspiration, some radical self-care, and a little adventure to nourish your creative heart?

Then you are going to want to find out more!

But don’t delay. There are TWO cabinas left and one of them might have your name on it! We will consider applications in the order we receive then, so if this is for you: don’t wait!

We can’t wait to travel with you!

Love,

Nancy and Kathy 


P.S. See you inside.

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Fire and Ice: Flash Fiction Retreat in Magical Iceland November 3-7, 2021!

Registration and details coming in April!

Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

Sign up here to get early notification and access!

We can’t wait to travel with you again!

Nancy Stohlman, Uncategorized, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Day 29: Bonus Unexpected Sabbatical–A Deserted Place

I’ve been thinking a lot about deserted places, the way this worldwide situation is changing our public spaces. I was really moved by these photos of iconic places: The Eiffel Tower, The Taj Mahal, The French Quarter, The Pyramids of Giza, Times Square, The Washington Mall, The Great Wall of China…empty.

And on the other hand, the empty lake that I usually walk or bike around is now crowded–so many bikes there yesterday I felt like I was on the Tour de France.

As we continue to navigate places and and redefine our spaces, I want to invite you for your second to last prompt to consider the latent tension inside solitude.

Tell a story inside an empty landscape. Consider the latent tension of the rustling cornfield, the quiet junk yard, the silent train station.

eiffel empty

Much love and solidarity

xoxo Nancy

Nancy Stohlman, Uncategorized, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Day 27: Bonus Unexpected Sabbatical April 11–Bibliomancy

It’s a great word, isn’t it? Bibliomancy

It means to “consult” seemingly random passages from books as messages or guides–or in this case starting points or prompts.

(Officially it means: “foretelling the future by interpreting a randomly chosen passage from a book, especially the Bible.” From Wikipedia: “Bibliomancy is the use of books in divination.”)

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Your prompt:

Open the closest book and put your finger down on the page. Where it “lands” is your story starter: Use that sentence as a first line (or maybe the title)…

(Here is my result, from On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous: “What’s left of November seeps through their jeans, their thin knit sweaters.”)

Happy Writing!

xoxo

Nancy Stohlman, Uncategorized, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Day 25: Bonus Unexpected Sabbatical April 9–Parables

Last night I was rereading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron, and I wanted to share this parable about a man dealing with fear:

“He said he was determined to get rid of his negative emotions. He struggled against anger and lust; he struggled against laziness and pride. But mostly he wanted to get rid of his fear. His meditation teacher kept telling him to stop struggling, but he took that as just another way of explaining how to overcome his obstacles.

Finally the teacher sent him off to meditate in a tiny hut in the foothills. He shut the door and settled down to practice, and when it got dark he lit three small candles. Around midnight he heard a noise in the corner of the room, and in the darkness he saw a very large snake. It looked to him like a king cobra. It was right in front of him, swaying. All night he stayed totally alert, keeping his eyes on the snake. He was so afraid that he couldn’t move. There was just the snake and himself and fear.

Just before down the last candle went out, and he began to cry. He cried not in despair but from tenderness. He felt the longing of all the animals and people in the world; he knew their alienation and their struggle. All his meditation had been nothing but further separation and struggle. He accepted–really accepted wholeheartedly–that he was angry and jealous, that he resisted and struggled, and that he was afraid. He accepted that he was also precious beyond measure–wise and foolish, rich and poor, and totally unfathomable. He felt so much gratitude that in the total darkness he stood up, walked towards the snake, and bowed. Then he fell sound asleep on the floor.

When he awoke, the snake was gone. He never knew if it was his imagination or if it had really been there, and it didn’t seem to matter. That much intimacy with fear caused his dramas to collapse and the world around him finally got through.”

The power of parable, and the reason they have such a lasting effect, is because parables use the power of narrative to show rather than tell. And since human beings are by nature storytellers, the lessons are more usually understood, absorbed, and assimilated.

Most religious texts use parables, but other books I love that use parables and allegory are The Tao of Pooh and The Alchemist, if you are looking for some quarantine reading.

Your prompt:

Write a parable.

(These three steps are adapted from here)

  1. Start with the moral lesson. Think about a moral principle that has been important in your own life, or one that you’re still struggling to learn fully. You might also choose something that you’re curious about and want to explore.
  2. Consider its consequences. What might happen as a result of behaving (or not behaving) according to your moral lesson? In “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” the consequence of dishonesty is that liars will not be believed in important moments, and it’s hard to live without people’s trust.
  3. Write a story following a basic beginning-middle-end structure. The beginning sets the stage and tells us who all the main characters are, while establishing important themes; in the middle, some kind of problem, conflict, or danger emerges; and in the end, we learn about the results of that conflict.

(And for fun: here’s a picture of me with a cobra in Nepal when I was about 27. Unlike the lesson of the man in the parable, my face is saying: take the picture quick!)

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Happy Writing! In solidarity!

xoN