Thursday, April 19, 2012


Lately I've been busy at a labor of love: preparing for "Words and the Porkies," the second annual writers workshop the Lady Friend and I will host at the Folk School in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park near White Pine in upper Michigan.

This four-session Saturday workshop, which runs from 10 a.m. to sometime after noon on May 12 and 19, and June 2 and 9, is aimed at purely amateur writers. 

Last summer eleven writers, mostly mature residents of western Upper Michigan, participated in the workshop, and we all had a good time. There was no competition, no grading. The only rivals the students had were themselves. The idea was just to become a better writer, not a world-beater.  Our goals were modest and realistic.

We'd begin each class with a little PowerPoint lecture and readings of each other's work, then set out on an hour-long hike in the woods or on the beach to gather information for the next assignment. After a few days, the students would email me their work, and I'd edit it, make suggestions and printouts, and then we'd read the work in class and talk about it. It was all very informal and relaxed, with lots of coffee and munchies, and so far as I know nobody suffered an emotional breakdown. (We writers are tender souls.)

At the end of the workshop the students contributed their best work to a colorful little paperback book made with the Blurb Booksmart software, and we published it for ourselves. It's also available to the public.

Afterward the students formed a little writers' support group that met a couple of times a month at the Folk School to read their work to each other and exchange ideas. 

One of the students, inspired by a workshop hike to a cabin built in the woods for artists-in-residence, produced a Blurb Booksmart book about it. She had taken many photographs while participating in the building of the cabin, and she also accumulated pictures taken by others.

Another student published in the local weekly paper a long profile of a relative, the founding director of the Porcupine Mountains State Park, that she had begun during the workshop.

If you live anywhere within easy driving distance of the Porkies, you're invited.

Cost? Just $50 for all four sessions, or for one, two or more. That includes the cost of a Blurb Booksmart book containing your work.

If you just want to audit the class, the price is $25 for the whole thing.

Interested? Call Angie Foley at 906-884-4886 by April 30.

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