Tag Archives: retreats

New Oaxaca Workshops in the Works

Behind the scenes, we’re busy!  I’ve talked with writers, artists, and designers about new workshops to offer in Oaxaca in 2012.  I’m happy to say we are in the final planning stages for the following programs:

  • Making handmade books and journals with Lisa Gilbert.  We’ll go to the paper studio in San Agustin Etla to see the process and buy our journal paper, then learn a variety of bookbinding stitches to put together a travel journal.  Coming Summer 2012.
  • Silver jewelry making with Brigitte Huet and Ivan Campant of Kand-Art.  You will learn how to carve beeswax and use the sling to make a sterling silver jewelry pendant using the ancient pre-Columbian lost wax technique.  We’ll have one, two and three-day workshops starting in February 2012.
  • Travel writing workshop will be held in March 2012 for about one week.  We’ll be based in both Oaxaca city and Teotitlan del Valle. You’ll learn what it takes to write a compelling travel article and get it published.  With Carolyn Patten of Portland, Oregon and San Miguel de Allende.
Interested?  Contact me and get on the waiting list!
Plus, NEW DATES for Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat: Lifting Your Creative Voice.  We have moved the workshop to March 2-9, 2012.  A perfect time to get away from winter be in Oaxaca with Robin Greene, MFA and Beth Miller, yoga instructor.

Writer’s Guide to Reading in Public: 8 Tips

Writers are solitary, work in silence, and are often intimidated by the daunting prospect of reading their work in public.  Robin Greene, MFA, the leader of our Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat attributes this fear to our collective wish to “get it right and not make mistakes.”  She says that imperfection is what makes us human and creates the relationship between the audience and the reader.  People enjoy it when you make a mistake, she says.  It makes you more like them.  And, we can transmit this tension and fear of public speaking as energy in the delivery of our words.

Robin Greene, MFA, introduces the readers

Reading is different from speaking, Robin goes on to say.  The writer has to do more work when putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to convince the reader that they should care about what we are writing.  This is what Robin calls, befriending the reader, and the relationship starts out as adversarial.

When reading aloud in front of an audience, we don’t have to convince them. They already care about and like us because they are there waiting to hear our words.

Janet Chavez Santiago reads from her memoir

8 Tips for Reading in Public:

  1. Track what you read with your finger.
  2. Always know where you are when you look up.
  3. Speak slowly–words evaporate.
  4. The more slowly you speak, the more your audience will digest and retain.
  5. Practice phrasing out loud in front of a mirror.
  6. Create a friendly reading space with chairs in a semi-circle.
  7. Add slash marks on the written page where you want to take pauses in the stanza.
  8. All communication is an act of love.

If you have tips to share, please add them in the comment section!

Click here for the next Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat. And, click here for more about Robin Greene, MFA.


Susan Florence shares her thoughts about women and identity




I’ve Been Gone for a While, Immersed in Poetry, Vocal Yoga, Temescal, and the Joy of Being With Creative Women

We began each day last week with yoga at eight o’clock in the morning, arising to rooster crows, the beat of the loom next door, the bark of the dog upstairs, the donkey brays.  There were eleven of us — all women, joining together to lift our voices through the written word, through the sonorous sounds of chanting, and to flexing muscles that would build  intellectual and spiritual strength.  I can’t remember feeling so  euphoric and inspired.

Oaxaca Women's Writing Retreat: Lifting Your Creative Voice 2011

Nine of the women traveled to Oaxaca from various parts of the United States. Many had never been to Oaxaca, and for some this was their first visit to Mexico. All traveled solo to get to our women’s writing and yoga retreat.

Daily yoga with Beth Miller combined movement and voice; some said we sounded like an ashram!









We gathered for yoga in the altar room of Casa Elena, then had breakfast under the pomegranate trees at Las Granadas.

Breakfast al fresco under the pomegranates

We all loved the fresh papaya and mango, the scrambled eggs with sauteed chiles, and especially the fresh tortillas made daily on the comal in the outdoor kitchen by our host Magdalena.

Robin Greene, our incredible instructor, started each writing session off with meditation. Then, we went off on our own to write, inspired by the culture, the food, the art, and the landscape.  Many of us brought current projects underway.  Some created poetry and memoir anew.

Bridget working on her project against the pink wall