This is our 9th year offering this retreat! We will gather in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, from December 15 to 21, 2020, to reflect and write. Holiday traditions run deep here and it is a perfect place to explore our theme: ‘Tis the season for family, traditions, celebration, gift-giving, holiday expectations and disappointments, wishes fulfilled or not. The Christmas season evokes many memories and this is an opportunity to recreate them in a supportive environment. We are often inspired by our shared voices.
You may even think about staying on in the village or in Oaxaca after the retreat, inviting your family to join you for the traditional posadas, Night of the Radishes, and other events that happen during this magical time of year.
Winter solstice and other seasonal celebrations inspire us to revisit our memories of people and places, to dig in and go deep, and to write in whatever genre speaks to us: memoir, journaling, fiction, personal essay, creative nonfiction, and poetry. You will also participate in the Teotitlan del Valle Christmas posadas. Here you can explore traditional culture, values and celebrations to trigger your own experiences.
New and seasoned writers are welcome. Come to kindle and rekindle the writer’s life.
Cost is $1,369 per person for a shared room, and $1,885 for a private room. A 50% deposit will reserve your space.
Retreat is limited to 10 participants.
See the Exquisite Corpse Poem from our 2019 writing retreat.
Planned Itinerary: 2020
- Tuesday, December 15: Arrive and check-in to our retreat space. Group dinner. Introductions. (D)
- Wednesday, December 16: Morning yoga (optional), breakfast, writing workshop, lunch, afternoon independent writing, optional activities, group dinner, coaching session (B, L, D)
- Thursday, December 17: Morning yoga (optional), breakfast, independent writing, lunch, afternoon workshop, participate in Teotitlan del Valle posada, dinner on your own, coaching session (B, L)
- Friday, December 18: Morning yoga (optional), breakfast, writing workshop, lunch, afternoon independent writing, optional activities/workshop visits or participate in Teotitlan del Valle posada, dinner on your own (B, L)
- Saturday, December 19: Morning yoga (optional) breakfast, writing workshop, optional activities/workshop visits or participate in Teotitlan del Valle posada, dinner on your own (B, L)
- Sunday, Sunday, December 20: Morning yoga (optional) breakfast, writing workshop, lunch on your own, afternoon independent writing, optional activities/workshop visits, group reading and celebration dinner (B, D)
- Monday, December 21: Breakfast and depart (B)
We reserve the right to make itinerary changes and substitutions as necessary.
You can add-on days in Teotitlan del Valle or Oaxaca before or after the retreat at your own expense. To get to Teotitlan del Valle, please buy a ticket at the airport for secure taxi service.
There will be optional daily activities in our schedule: gentle yoga, afternoon walks, and mini-seminars on writing topics such as writing effective description and dialogue, grammar, or submitting creative work for publication. Each person will have a private coaching session, too. We will also arrange visits to the home workshops of local artisans so you can delve more deeply into the culture.
What is included?
- Complete instruction with 5 workshop sessions
- 3 dinners
- 6 breakfasts
- 4 lunches
- 6 nights lodging
- transportation to local artisan studios
- daily gentle yoga and meditation (optional, but included in fee)
- mini-seminars on writing topics
- one coaching session
Meet Robin Greene, Writer-Editor-Professor
We are pleased that Robin Greene is returning to lead this intensive writer’s retreat. This will be her ninth year teaching with us to rave reviews.
Novelist and Poet Robin Greene in Oaxaca, Mexico
Robin Greene is Professor of English and Writing and Director of the Writing Center at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, where she held the McLean Endowed Chair in English from 2013-2016. Robin has published two collections of poetry (Memories of Light and Lateral Drift), two editions of a nonfiction book (Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories), and a novel (Augustus: Narrative of a Slave Woman). Robin’s second novel, The Shelf Life of Fire, is published by Light Messages Publishing, 2019, and Robin is currently working on a sequel.
Robin is a past recipient of a North Carolina-National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Writing, and has published over ninety pieces of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in literary journals. She has received two teaching awards, the latest of which, the Cleveland Award, received in 2017, is the most prestigious award offered by her university. Robin has given over a hundred academic presentations, literary readings, and writing workshops in a variety of venues throughout the US.
In addition, Robin is a registered yoga teacher (RYT200), cofounder and editor of Longleaf Press, and cofounder of Sandhills Dharma Group for Buddhist meditation. She holds a M.A. in English from Binghamton University and a M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Art at Norwich University.
What is a Workshop Session? The group meets daily for three hours to actively listen to each other’s writing, giving supportive and constructive feedback about what resonates or not. We offer guidelines for the process. Everyone takes a turn to read and everyone participates. Writers may accept or reject suggestions. Workshops offer an important learning tool for writers to gain feedback about how their words are communicated and understood.
How to Register: Cost is $1,369 per person for a shared room, and $1,885 for a private room. A 50% deposit will reserve your space. Send us an email to say you want to attend and if you want a shared or private room. We will send you an e-commerce invoice to secure your space.
Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum of $50,000 of medical evacuation coverage. Proof of insurance must be sent at least 45 days before departure. In addition, we will send you by email a PDF of a witnessed waiver of responsibility, holding harmless Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We ask that you return this to us by email 45 days before departure. Unforeseen circumstances happen! Be certain your passport has at least six months on it before it expires from the date you enter Mexico!
Plane Tickets, Arrivals/Departures: Please send us your plane schedule at least 45 days before the trip. This includes name of carrier, flight numbers, arrival and departure time to/from our program destination.
Reservations and Cancellations. We accept payment by credit card with an e-commerce service. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After October 1, 2020, refunds are not possible. If there is a cancelation on or before October 1, 50% of your deposit will be refunded. After that, there are no refunds.
All documentation for plane reservations, required travel insurance, and personal health issues must be received 45 days before the program start or we reserve the right to cancel your registration without reimbursement.
Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: The altitude is almost 6,000 feet. Streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, mostly narrow and have uneven paths. The stones can be a bit slippery, especially when walking across driveways that slant across the sidewalk to the street. We will do some walking. If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please let me know before you register. This may not be the workshop/study tour for you. Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.
How to Get To Oaxaca: United Airlines operates direct flights from Houston. American Airlines operates direct flights from DFW. Delta Airlines has a codeshare with AeroMexico with a connection to Oaxaca from Mexico City. All other major airlines fly to Mexico City where you can made independent connections on Interjet, Aeromar (code share with United), Volaris and VivaAerobus. Check Skyscanner for schedules and fares before you book. Note: I always book directly with the carrier for better customer service.
Workshop Details and Travel Tips: Before the workshop begins, we will email you study tour details and documents that includes travel tips and information.
To get your questions answered and to register, contact Norma Schafer. This retreat is produced by Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.
Women’s Creative Writing and Gentle Yoga Retreat, June 22-29, 2018, Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico
Lifting Your Creative Voice Writing and Yoga Retreat
This is our 8th year for the Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing Retreat. We welcome new, inexperienced writers and those who are more seasoned and want to go to the next level. Some have published and many dream about it. We may write memoir, poetry, essays, creative non-fiction and fiction. The workshop-conference is a haven for exploration and encouragement. Writers of all genres and ages are invited.
Who Attends? Women with something to say.
Teotitlan del Valle church built atop Zapotec temple
Friday, June 22 to Friday, June 29, 2018
You arrive by Friday evening, June 22 and leave Friday morning, June 29, 2018. The comprehensive workshop fee includes 7 nights lodging, all breakfasts, all writing instruction and workshop sessions, a personal coaching/feedback session with the instructor, daily afternoon gentle yoga sessions, and a grand finale celebration reading and dinner. You might want to arrive a day early to settle in to avoid a late night arrival or missed connection.
Workshop Leader: Professor Robin Greene
Our workshop leader and coach is published author/poet and university professor Robin Greene. With her help and feedback, with participation from the group, you’ll gain knowledge and perspective about the art and craft of writing. There will be plenty of time to retreat for writing — what you come here for!
We encourage you to write in the genre that best suits you: memoir, journal, poetry, personal essay, creative nonfiction or fiction. Or, explore one that you have been hesitant about trying. Or, mix-it-up!
Whatever your writing genre, you are welcome!
What Participants Say
A healthy breakfast awaits you with brewed coffee (2017 retreat)
Accommodations — Lodging
We are based on a quiet residential street in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle.We are within a couple of blocks from the village church, market and hiking trails to the reservoir. We will occupy two family operated inns, located within steps of each other. The families live in residence, so it’s a great chance to practice your Spanish and to dine like the locals. Accommodations are basic, simple and clean.
Blue corn quesadillas
Our site is conducive to reflection and writing. The quiet retreat center offers plenty of private spaces to gather and express your thoughts. If you want street or rural inspiration, there is plenty to capture your attention, too.
The combination of creative writing with gentle yoga expands your perspective and helps give you voice.
Taking a lunch break from writing.
Topics participants write about have included family and relationships, women’s issues, health, health care and diagnoses, pain and recovery, loss, food and eating, and the spirit of life. We have heard voices that give us pause to laugh, cry and commiserate. The atmosphere is supportive and encouraging.
From Instructor Robin Greene
“The writing retreat is very relaxed. I ask each participant to send me a work in progress or writing sample before the workshop. This gives me an opportunity to tailor the workshop to strengths and needs. Our goal is to develop craft and we will support each other in this learning process.
I’ll also have plenty of prompts, writing exercises, and suggestions—and, of course, as women write, we energize each other. I like to encourage women to find their voices so that the retreat experience is personally meaningful. In addition to one scheduled conference with each person, I’m available for feedback and coaching throughout our time together. And, because I teach creative writing, I have a repertoire of techniques and strategies to share with writers at all levels.
Roses on the writing table with journal notes
We cannot promise that you will win a poetry prize, as did one of our participants after writing her winning poem at the retreat, or be published in The Sun Magazine and Minerva Rising literary journals as several past participants have. We CAN promise that you will explore, develop and deepen as a writer if you are open to the experience. Plus, you will make new friendships with like-minded people.
What the Retreat Includes:
Optional activities you can arrange on your own:
We may arrange a surprise pop-up expoventa show and sale of hand-woven women’s traditional clothing during the retreat.
2017 Exquisite Corpse Poem
The Exquisite Corpse Poem is a collaboration. Each writer in the group contributes a random sentence or phrase that then becomes part of a complete poem. The result is surprising and creative! We do this each year as part of our closing ceremonies for the Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat. For 2015, our mission was different however.
We adapt the Exquisite Corpse Poem based on the game developed by the Parisian Surrealist Movement. Professor Robin Greene, our writing instructor and coach, takes liberties with the concept and edits what we have contributed into something more coherent than abstract, but always beautiful!
In Oaxaca, Everything is a Poem
An Exquisite Corpse Poem by the Writing & Yoga Retreat Women of 2017
Cool blue walls and pebble floors surround us
as words flow like cool water over our sun-heated
skins…. Is everything a poem here? Even the ants
and the humans, hot, lucky, looking for their match?
Even the horseshoe-shaped bar that spills its words
onto the table where the watermelon butchers work,
while we women writers of Oaxaca speak out our
sentences through open but barred windows, only
to find a white cat sitting on a window ledge, then
rising to strut in beauty like an unwashed dream,
while we sit cross-legged on wide beds, hearing
city dogs bark, listening as the day lifts into evening,
and the radical sky turns one woman’s hands
such dark indigo blue that the goddesses feel envy
and drink her language like mescal? Is everything
a poem here? So that even if we could tent the house
and save our words, the termites still might never
leave, and the purest truth might never know regret,
might end up a doo-wop squatter, living life as if
back in the girdle-Ike years again, growing like cactus,
hard and full of tears until all hope plays dead.
At the daily workshop sessions to discuss and get helpful feedback
What Women Say . . . “I better learned how to put together a writerly life. The coaching session will help me stay on track. I enjoyed listening to and evaluating each others’ work. What a great group of women.” –Leslie Larson, California
“I came with the hope of being rejuvenated. I am leaving with a lightness and grounding that is beyond comprehension.” –Rebecca S. King, North Carolina
Daily low impact yoga opens up creativity
“The instruction was excellent and supportive. The personal coaching session offered me a chance to talk about my writing in a way I never had before. The workshops are especially valuable because the feedback is so thoughtful.” –Susan Lesser, New York
“I discovered that my writing entertains people! Yoga is the best I have ever experienced. A perfect combo of the physical and spiritual. –LeeAnn Weigold, British Columbia, Canada
Daily village market offers inspiration
“There is amazing resonance between the writing and yoga teaching — vigorous, solid, and accepting.” –Deborah Morris, M.D., North Carolina
“It was all perfect. You gave us a beautiful writing workshop in a beautiful village setting and you also gave us a strong community-of-women bond that will far outlast this conference. Mil gracias!” — Katie Kingston, MFA, Trinidad, Colorado
“The quality of the teachers was stellar and the combination was a perfect fit for me. Robin has a clarity that is lovely, supportive, truth-telling, knowledgeable, superbly skilled.” — Nancy Coleman, Portland, Maine
Optional visits to local village artisans
“Robin’s knowledge impressed and guided me throughout the week. She is one of the most generous people, instructors and writers I have ever met. The week gave me the insight to investigate life and write about it.” Kathryn Salisbury, North Carolina
“The week helped with my intention to write my book. There were too many valuable parts to list! We experienced an amazing time together, sweating leaves, meditation, chanting, writing, and honoring our lives. This was an awesome experience.” — Susan Florence, MFA, Ojai, California
“We learned from the other women in the group, from the culture, the language and people in the village. It was magical.” –Bridget Price, Mexico City
Handmade beeswax candles at Casa Viviana
Your Writing Workshop Leader: Robin Greene
Robin Greene is Professor of English and Writing and Director of the Writing Center at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, where she held the McLean Endowed Chair in English from 2013-2016. Greene has published two collections of poetry (Memories of Light and Lateral Drift), two editions of a nonfiction book (Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories), and a novel (Augustus: Narrative of a Slave Woman).
Greene’s second novel, The Shelf Life of Fire, is forthcoming from Light Messages Publishing, and Greene is currently working on a sequel. Greene is a past recipient of a North Carolina-National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Writing, and has published over ninety pieces of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in literary journals.
Greene has received two teaching awards, the latest of which, the Cleveland Award, received in 2017, is the most prestigious award offered by the university where she teaches. Greene has given over a hundred academic presentations, literary readings, and writing workshops in a variety of venues throughout the US. Additionally, Greene is cofounder and editor of Longleaf Press, a literary press that primarily publishes poetry, and cofounder of Sandhills Dharma Group, a Buddhist meditation group.
She holds a M.A. in English from Binghamton University and a M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Art at Norwich University.
See Robin’s website: www.robingreene-writer.com
Perhaps an evening mezcal tasting can fit into your plans!
Preliminary Workshop Outline
Celebratory Fiesta Dinner and Group Reading
Each Workshop Day includes breakfast, writing and yoga sessions, plus scheduled individual coaching sessions with Professor Robin Greene. Each day you will have choices for how you will spend your time — in retreat to write, to meander historic cobblestone streets and village markets, gather at cafes to discuss subject possibilities or work in process, make a day trip to Oaxaca, or to schedule an optional massage.
Tasty food from home cooked to master village chefs
Special Pop-Up Events!
During the week, we might invite noted artisans to come to the B&B for special showings of their work. This might include textiles, alebrijes (carved and painted wood figures), clothing, pottery and other regional crafts.
The workshop does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, lunches, some dinners and local transportation to and from the airport to our B&B. We will give you detailed instructions for how to get from the Oaxaca airport to the village after you register. In most cases, when you send us flight information, we will send our taxi driver friends to come get you at the airport! We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.
Have you tried the chapulines?
Reservations and Cancellations. Send us an email to register. A 50% deposit is required to guarantee your spot. The last payment for the balance due shall be paid by May 15, 2018. We accept payment with PayPal only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After May 15, refunds are not possible. You may send a substitute in your place. If you cancel before May 10, we will refund 50% of your deposit.
Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance. Proof of insurance must be sent at least two weeks before departure. We also ask that you complete a witnessed waiver of responsibility, holding harmless Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We will send this to you several weeks before the workshop start. Unforeseen circumstances happen!
Workshop Details and Travel Tips. Before the workshop begins, we will email you instructions to get to the workshop site from the airport, and documents that includes extensive travel tips and information. To get your questions answered and to register, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This retreat is produced by Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We reserve the right to make itinerary changes and substitutions as necessary.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Workshops and Retreats
Tagged conference, creative writing, fiction, Mexico, Oaxaca, poetry, retreat, Teotitlan del Valle, Women, workshop