Gretchen has devoted most of her life to writing, first as a journalist and freelance magazine writer, then as a writer of short stories, a memoirist, an essayist, and a teacher. She believes passionately in the importance of encouraging others to tell the stories of their lives. Like memoirist Patricia Hampl (one of her teachers at the University of Minnesota) she thinks there is nothing more important than for all of us to have a written version of our past, for, as Hampl says, if you don’t tell your story, someone else will tell it for you. Gretchen’s workshop style is open, empowering and affirming, while also demanding and challenging. Students in her workshop will practice innovative ways of generating stories from their lives, learn techniques for developing and shaping material into essays of various styles and lengths, receive tips for revising their work, and instruction in productive response to peer writing. There will be time to write, time to work one-on-one with the instructor, time to read and study examples of the best published writing, and time to have your own work responded to in a group setting. Participants will come away from the 5-day workshop/retreat with renewed inspiration, a refreshed sense of themselves as powerful storytellers, and a new set of craft tools in their writer’s toolboxes.
Each writer in the group will be asked to submit a manuscript in advance of the workshop, to be shared with the other members of the group, whose responsibility it will be to read all fellow students’ work before the first day of the workshop.