Step away from your desk, and venture out into the world with open eyes and ears.

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Good writers sweat the details.

In her essay “Why I Write,” Joan Didion describes the details that inform her work as “images that shimmer around the edges.” Where do these shimmering images come from?

Sometimes they emerge from memory, sometimes they are fished from the subconscious mind. But on occasion, we need to step away from our desks and venture out into the world with open eyes and ears. In this week-long class, derive inspiration from unusual settings. We’ll travel to Isleboro, Vinalhaven, or North Haven in search of stories, and practice summoning evocative details.

What kind of description allows a setting to be more than just a static backdrop, and described objects more than just props? Attending to precision and authenticity of details helps our writing be all the more emotionally engaging. Throughout the week generate new work and share your progress. Discuss your notes on craft by a few contemporary masters like Anne Lamott and Verlyn Klinkenborg. This class is suitable for those interested in writing nonfiction or fiction. All experience levels are welcome.

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Instructor: Lewis Robinson

Lewis Robinson is the author of the novel Water Dogs (Random House, 2009), a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, and Officer Friendly and Other Stories (HarperCollins, 2003), winner of the PEN/Oakland-Josephine Miles Award, a Whiting Award, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Missouri Review, The Baffler, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times Book Review, and on NPR’s program Selected Shorts. Robinson has taught at Colby College, the University of Iowa, the University of Maine at Farmington, USM’s Stonecoast MFA Program, and in Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program.