Join award-winning authors and teachers Nancy Stohlman and Kathy Fish for a breakthrough gathering of inspiration, creation, and transformation in beautiful Colorado. Gather with the hummingbirds at our secluded vantage point in the clouds and experience High Altitude Inspiration for yourself. The spirit of the West has always attracted the bold and pioneering, the dream seekers among us, and Colorado in the summer is a special sort of magic. Whether it’s your first or hundreth time, being in the Rocky Mountains is nature at her finest, and Grand Lake is the quintessential Colorado experience, complete with stunning mountain views and a deep natural lake. Walk one direction and end up on the rugged trails of Rocky Mountain National Park. Walk less than a mile down the hill and drink some local Colorado whiskey in the historic town of Grand Lake.
OPEN YOUR ART High Altitude Inspiration in the Colorado Rocky Mountains AUGUST 15-20, 2023
Every retreat has its own magic, its own signature. Even if you go to the exact same location, no two retreats are the same. Grand Lake was our 9th retreat, and no matter where we go–from the tropics to the arctic, in a medieval castle or a Rocky Mountain log cabin–it’s always the people who animate that location. We’ve been lucky, and Grand Lake was no exception. Our high altitude group felt like coming home–metaphorically linking arms with new family and climbing the creative mountain together.
There is always something wonderful about coming home, and Colorado in the summer is a special sort of magic. John Denver wasn’t wrong to describe the Rocky Mountain High as, “coming home to a place he’d never been before.” Whether it’s your first or hundreth time, being in these mountains brings out something peaceful, a sort of childlike wonder at the majesty of nature at her finest, from the fairy-like hummingbirds to the sweet gurgling streams to the shooting stars in a moon-filled sky.
So what happens when you put a group of talented, open-hearted artists into a setting of natural beauty and wonder? Absolute magic in more ways than one. Magic on the page. The magic of old friends who have never met. The magic of a group belly laugh until everyone is crying with joy. The magic of sneaking up early to watch the meteor showers and then the sunrise. The magic of digging deep into the stories that must be told in a room where everyone is rooting for your success.
Thank you my partner in retreat crime, Kathy Fish, and to all the amazing writers who gathered on the mountaintop in August. Happy happy writing until we meet again!
From Kathy Fish:
Nancy’s retreats take us to such amazing places around the world, but it was wonderful to gather in the place we both call home: stunning Colorado. This was our second retreat at Shadowcliff Lodge, a place I adore. Homey, rustic, and welcoming, nestled cliffside next to Grand Lake, it feels like summer camp for adults and is a perfect place to restore one’s creativity. We ate heartily, photographed hummingbirds, encountered a bear, (well some of us did!) and rose before dawn to watch the Perseids. Everyone seemed to be on the same wavelength, embracing the same warm, creative spirit. In lively and productive workshops, we encouraged and supported each other and wrote our hearts out. Beautiful, layered stories were written and lovely connections forged. I can’t wait to go back in 2023!
From K.B. Jensen:
The Colorado writing retreat in Grand Lake with Nancy Stohlman and Kathy Fish was a magical and life-changing experience. I learned and relearned so much from them about finding joy and prioritizing my own writing. The inspiring conversations with other writers were also a major plus. Nancy and Kathy were able to foster a supportive community within hours and were our guides on an amazing, reinvigorating writing adventure. After finishing my latest book, it was just what I needed to start going on the next.
From Brian Dickson:
Such gratitude for meeting these people. Lots of writing, laughter, sacred space. Thanks Nancy Stohlman and Kathy Fish!
From Kristin Tenor:
My experience at the Flash Fiction Retreat in Grand Lake, Colorado was phenomenal. Nancy & Kathy are both generous and supportive facilitators with a wealth of knowledge to share in a safe, creative environment. You will walk away from this retreat transformed. I did.
From Jill Royce Loomis:
I experienced High Altitude Inspiration! Seriously, I am in a new phase of writing and I’m building a community of great writers from this retreat. I love you, Nancy and Kathy. You are enriching my life.
Nancy and Kathy have a wonderful complementary energy in bringing ideas into the room and words to the page. They are supportive and extraordinarily kind teachers. The flash retreats whisk you away to magical places and provide a rich pot of gold to dip into once there.
From Barb Ristine:
I found the retreat to be both restorative and inspirational. I enjoyed my time here, and I will miss being with everyone. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I didn’t come with any set expectations other than this would be a generative retreat. This time far exceeded any expectations I may have had. The individual conferences were a wonderful time to discuss my work and get advice. In the daily workshops, Kathy and Nancy made sure that everyone was heard when they wanted to share, but never forced participation. The environment they created felt safe and supportive.
From Tammy Breitweiser:
Retreats allow for total immersion in the creative process, and the Flash Fiction retreat was a tremendous gift to my writing life. It was my first destination retreat experience and it has changed my writing life forever. I was open to the experience, and everything exceeded my expectations from the scenery, the writing conversations, the people, the depth, and the instruction. This group has become my forever writing people. There was time for restoration of my spirit, which allowed me to write about topics I had been avoiding. At this time in my life, it was a transition from one phase of life to another. All the things I learned during the retreat I will use moving forward in my writing life. I am forever grateful for this experience.
Do you dream of uninterrupted days to write in beautiful locations? Do you long to meet, be mentored by, and network with other writers? Are you enamored with flash fiction and want to learn more or refine your work?
We give professional and aspiring writers, struggling to create amidst the everyday demands of life, the gift of time, community, instruction, and the opportunity to reconnect with your own imagination and sense of possibility so you can confidently bring the work inside you to fruition.
From past participants:
“The retreat was life-shaking. It was a dream to learn from writers whose stories I’ve read for years. The combination of Kathy’s generative workshops with Nancy’s editing/revising workshops is a great approach. Peace Retreat is beautiful, and the staff couldn’t have been nicer. I came away with better writing AND eating habits.” ~Bill Merklee
“Location, location, location? Not only. This experience pulled my writing in new directions and left me with a sense that a retreat can be both demanding of one’s mind and easy on one’s spirit. Kathy and Nancy were inspiring instructors who brought together a talented and generous group of flash fiction-loving writers. Together, they offered guidance that I can continue to draw on each time I take to the page.” ~Charmaine Wilkerson
“A Flash Fiction Retreat with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman is the perfect way to refresh one’s writing practice. Inspiring locations, like-minded short-fiction writers, and their hallmark positive feedback style make for a true retreat: Pressure-free, productive, and restorative.” ~Anne Weisgerber
“My week of “writing wild” at Peace Retreat in Costa Rica ” with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman was an amazing way to start of 2019. Everything a writer needs to gain confidence and fire up her word machine was provided: time to write, community, useful exercises, mentoring, helpful critiques, encouragement, time for rest and contemplation, time for fun and games, time to reflect and dig deep. Stunning experience.” ~Gay Degani
The writers retreat with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman was an inspiring, magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience. They are wonderful instructors, writers and mentors with great insight into the craft, as well as the writing life. I also loved meeting people from all over the world who are passionate about writing. I left the retreat feeling re-energized and refocused about my writing. In short, I loved every minute. ~ K.B. Jensen
If you want to learn about yourself as a writer and a person, if you want to open yourself to your creative potential, and your inner truth as a writer, take a retreat with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman, they will guide you, encourage you, and inspire you. The rest is up to you, put aside your usual way of thinking, open yourself up to what you want to avoid, and.prepare to be amazed. ~ Annie Bien
The French writing retreat with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman – my first ever writing retreat – lived up to all my expectations, and they were pretty high. It felt like a fairy godmother had shown up, asked us what we wanted and needed most for a week of writing, thinking, creating, sharing, learning and laughing, waved her wand and made it all come true: exceptional teachers in an exceptional location in the company of other inspirational writers. With a pool and fabulous food thrown in. I feel I am leaving with my writing well filled up to the brim with riches for me to keep drawing from. Thank you Kathy and Nancy! ~Philippa Bowe
Wow! The Spanish retreat was an incredible experience. The combination of novelty, space, time, and total immersion with other creatives, spending a week with your tribe, pushed and encouraged, detoxing from the usual distractions to enter that space of raw creativity is both deeply healing and deeply inspiring. On a retreat we remember that everything is a story waiting to happen.
We had a wide range of amazing writers—from published to unpublished, brand new to flash all the way to flash veterans; we had a pair of friends reuniting from two different countries, a pair of sisters reconnecting in the yurts, and people representing California, Baltimore, Texas, New York City, Portugal, France, Spain, Qatar, and of course Denver, doubly represented (by Nancy and Kathy).
There was a group hammock, fiery sunsets, and (multiple!) spontaneous performances of the Grease soundtrack. There were massages and hikes in the Sierra Nevada mountains. And there were surprises of course, part of any good adventure. From the exploding chairs to the nudist beach to the historic heat wave that swept Europe during our retreat (!), all that material filtered through our bodies and onto the page. We risked both vulnerability and connection and we bonded and played and ate and wrote—a lot.
And we were fed—oh yes. The food was as beautiful as it was delicious and all vegetarian. We were so inspired that we wrote a group poem (and sang a song!) to the many cooks and kitchen angels who spoiled us all week.
We were the first group of writers to visit House of Light, and they learned as much about us as we did about them—including the copious amounts of coffee and wine consumed (sangria happened!)—and we were delighted that the owners joined us for our final night reading.
We reconnected with our writing and remembered that inspiration often comes at the crossroads between novelty and play. If we are too comfortable, or too serious, the words get stuck. After a week in Spain the words, ideas, and friendships are flowing!
I’m so grateful to my co-facilitator, Kathy, and to each one of the amazing writers who said yes to an Andalusian adventure. I raise my pen to all of you!
From Kathy Fish:
The House of Light in Órgiva was a unique, magical space for us to gather. We were fed meals almost too beautiful to eat, we woke to birdsong, and ended our days with late sunsets bathing the hills in gold. Our group quickly gelled and became friends and encouraging cohorts. I found myself inspired by their energy and enthusiasm and all the beautiful stories they created, and cheered by the conversation and laughter at mealtimes and around the pool. The highlight for me was (as always) our salon night. The resident cats and dogs came around, too, as if they’d been invited or they were just curious about what us humans were up to. The readings that final night were superb. All in all, this retreat was an amazing experience I won’t soon forget. Thanks to everyone who took part.
from Cheryl J. Fish:
From Cheryl’s blog: “Thinking about the flash fiction workshop I just experienced feels like a re-birth. So much of what I know about story was reinforced, and yet there’s much more to realize and expand into. In flash you don’t explain. Inunendo rules in fiction that comes in under 1,000 words. It’s an opportunity to prove less is more. After twice-a-day workshops and prompts with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman, and a wonderful group of writers from all over the place, I am ready to up my game in the micro and flash fiction worlds.”
From Philippa Bowe:
The Andalusian retreat with Nancy and Kathy was a delight from beginning to end. Workshops were enriching, enlightening, fun, creative, productive. Add in fabulous food, sunshine and company and you have an experience that, as a writer, is pretty near heaven on earth.
From Pedro Ponce:
You will leave this retreat well-fed, rested, and, most importantly, inspired! Thank you Nancy and Kathy!
From Marina Pacheco:
I learned a great deal at the retreat. Nancy and Kathy were fantastic tutors who took me on a journey of discovery that resulted in handfuls of new flash writing for me.
From Dorothy Rice:
What a wonderful group you brought together! I had such a great time and I feel really good about the writing I accomplished as well. The stories I wrote are so different from what I usually do, and there was something very freeing in that.
More photos from our gallery:
Next: August Flash Fiction Retreat in Grand Lake, Colorado!