Brenda Cooper

Writing on the Lake, with the Lake, and Many Others

There are many different kinds of writing workshops.  I’ve been tasked to write all night – given a 10,000 word story assignment and told to finish it in 24 hours (yes, its possible).  I’ve been on Kelley’s Island in Ohio with some fabulous east-coast and mid-country writers. critiquing novels.  It’s good for my soul to fall into a world of other writers and just do and talk and breathe writing for three days.  At the moment, I’m in Lake Quinault at the Rainforest Writers Workshop which is organized by my good friend Patrick Swenson, who publishes the magazine Talebones and runs Fairwood Press.  The group includes about twenty people, including Jay Lake, Louise Marley, Barb and JC Hendee, James Van Pelt, Susan Mathews, and others.

Lake Quinault is in the temperate rain forest on the Olympic Penninsula in Washington State.  At the moment, it is not raining, although clouds are dancing and fogging and the colors outside the window are all greens and greys and the white bones of trees in the last stand of winter.

I’m falling back into Wings of Creation, and some uninterrupted time is great.  Perhaps, for me, that’s the best part of the process around workshops.  Most of my life is a struggle for an hour a day to write, and someplace like this, I can have ten or twelve or more.  There was a time I picked workshops for the teaching.   Sometimes I still do, but now it’s as much for the focused time.