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2023 Retreats Announced!

If you’re a flash fiction writer who’s longing for a new creative spark, an adventure to energize your spirit, and camaraderie with your creative community, then join us in 2023!

2023 Retreats announced!

FRANCE: June 26-July 3

COLORADO: August 15-20

ICELAND: October 25-29

Get on early access WAITING LIST for 2023 retreats here 

REGISTRATION OPENS IN OCTOBER!

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

Read “Everything is a Story”: Reflections and photos from the 2022 Spanish Flash Fiction Retreat

Kathy fish, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Your Final Quarantine Prompt: How Art is Born

Well, friends, I had wanted to offer you all something profound for this last prompt. But as it often does– more so lately–life got in the way. I developed an ocular migraine which made it impossible to read or write. It left me exhausted. Tapped out. Drained. I sat in my tiny basement office with the window facing my backyard and watched the snow fall heavily, weighing down the branches of the freshly leafed out trees. I worried about the destruction a heavy, wet, spring snow might bring them. I thought of how nature sometimes is unpredictable and unwieldy and…terrifying. But this spring snow will melt and soak into the earth and the greenest grass imaginable will emerge from it. There is an artfulness to chaos even when it make us uncomfortable. 

I love this quote by abstract expressionist artist Helen Frankenthaler:

So for today, what if you simply write? Without a word bank or first sentence or situation supplied to you (i.e., “a man and a woman argue in a crowded cafe without saying anything…include a purple chapeau”). Okay, use that if inspires you! But today, I’m granting you permission to write freely, without direction or rules. 

Consider this wisdom from Rebecca Solnit:

Write. There is no substitute. Write what you most passionately want to write, not blogs, posts, tweets or all the disposable bubblewrap in which modern life is cushioned. But start small: write a good sentence, then a good paragraph, and don’t be dreaming about writing the great American novel or what you’ll wear at the awards ceremony because that’s not what writing’s about or how you get there from here. The road is made entirely out of words. Write a lot. Maybe at the outset you’ll be like a toddler—the terrible twos are partly about being frustrated because you’re smarter than your motor skills or your mouth, you want to color the picture, ask for the toy, and you’re bumbling, incoherent and no one gets it, but it’s not only time that gets the kid onward to more sophistication and skill, it’s effort and practice. Write bad stuff because the road to good writing is made out of words and not all of them are well-arranged words.”*

*From “How to Be a Writer: Ten Tips from Rebecca Solnit” in Lit Hub.

I’ve always believed the best “ideas” spring organically from the act of writing itself. So go write. Set a timer for 15 minutes and keep your hand moving across the page. Maybe turn it sideways. Scribble. Write with a crayon. Make a huge, glorious, chaotic mess. 

That’s it, my friends. Nancy and I will keep these prompts here for you to access any time you need them. For now and always, I’m sending you well wishes, strength, and love. ❤

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

Kathy fish, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Day 28 Prompt: Strange Beauty: A Microfiction Prompt

Read the strangely beautiful “The Two-Headed Calf” by Laura Gilpin, generally considered a poem, but it feels like a microfiction to me:

 

 

The Two-Headed Calf

 

Tomorrow, when the farm boys find this

freak of nature, they will wrap his body

in newspaper and carry him to the museum.

But tonight he is alive and in the north

field with his mother. It is a perfect

summer evening: the moon rising over

the orchard, the wind in the grass.

And as he stares into the sky, there

are twice as many stars as usual.

 

Now write your own micro (try for 75 words or fewer), perhaps involving a strangely beautiful creature, real or fictional, and emulate this structure: “Tomorrow…(then) “Tonight…”

 

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