Birdland Activities

Our home in West Sonoma (also known as “Birdland”) is full of color and the sound of birds.

Birdland Studio Description: Watch and listen as woodpeckers, blue jays, finches, and black raven wings fly over the garden, the sound water spilling over the edge of our large fountain. Observe vistas through the trees and up into the open sky, the push of spring bulbs, ripening fruit, the scent of herbs, pines and redwoods, the roundness and texture of leaves and trees. Enjoy the property as it moves through the seasons.  When nobody else is around, David and I enjoy dolce far niente (an Italian term for sweet doing nothing). Besides its use as a private studio for our photography and writing and occasional overnight guests, the interior space is a great location for our writing workshops and retreats and drawing sessions. We enjoy sharing this special place.

First Writing Workshop in Birdland 2018

Littler Stories: A Day of Flash Fiction in Forestville

with Andy Touhy ( See bio below)

10821 Canyon Road Forestville, CA 95436  (Directions will be provided)

Saturday, April 7, 2018: 10:30-5:00 PM

$175 person. Please bring your own lunch. Morning snacks and beverages will be provided.

Please arrive close to 10:00. We will begin promptly at 10:30 and write until 1:00. We will break for lunch for an hour and spend the rest of afternoon listening to stories and writing until 5:00. We’ll end the day with a toast and a few appetizers to start your evening.

Workshop description

 “Perhaps a bird was singing and I felt for him a small, birdlike affection.”—Jorge Luis Borges

How short can a short story be? Consider Ernest Hemingway’s six-word classic: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. A tale told quickly can offer untold riches, which swell inside a reader long after the telling. Perhaps because brevity really is the soul of wit. Perhaps because immediacy forces close identification. Perhaps because of the countless approaches this most catholic of genres permits, we find a perfect home for the mystery and expression of personality, if not life itself. The question then isn’t how short a short story can be. But how deep can we make our littler stories. For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

In this workshop we will look at ways to craft full, pleasing narratives in tight spaces, completing generative exercises that will help us find our own voice within the form. For inspiration and guidance, we will also closely read a variety of published flash fiction, with an eye on length (roughly 150 to 3,000 words), mode, and overall effect. Throughout the day you will be invited to share your work with others, but you’re also welcome to maintain a private relationship with your own writing. Writers of any genre are welcomed, and everyone can expect to depart with a store of new material, if not a work or two in progress, worth honing and marshaling into the world.

About Andy

Andy Touhy is a recipient of the San Francisco Browning Society’s Dramatic Monologue Award and Fourteen Hills’ Bambi Holmes Fiction Prize. In 2016 his story manuscript, “The Secret of Mayo,” was named the finalist for BOA Editions’ Short Fiction Prize. Work from the collection has appeared in journals such as ConjunctionsNew England ReviewAlaska Quarterly ReviewNew American WritingNew Orleans ReviewColorado ReviewEleven Eleven, and The Collagist. He holds graduate degrees in literature and creative writing and has taught at SFSU, Academy of Art, Ohio University, and The Writing Salon.

Register

To hold your place, please send $87.50 (non-refundable deposit). The balance will be due the day of the workshop. Maximum twelve participants.

You can send checks to:

Sharon Smith

544 Vermont Street

San Francisco, CA 94107

or by PayPal to sharon@savorsmith.com

Note: If the workshop is cancelled for any reason, this deposit will be returned.

Consider making a weekend of it. Sharon would be happy to provide you with possible places to stay and things to do for instance this is a wonderful wine tasting region. You can email her with questions or suggestions at sharon@savorsmith.com. You can also see pictures of her property on her website and all this information will be there too. Please go to: https://savorsmith.com/birdland/.

Join us! It will be a great day!”

 

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PAST EVENTS

2017

A Reading with The Writing Salon and Birdland Journal & Retreats took place at Alley Cat Books San Francisco October 21, 2017. The evening was dedicated to the memory of Merijane Block, former co-editor of the Birdland Journal and a heart of Laguna Writers. She will be missed.

The evening included a relaunch of the Birdland Journal with its new subtitle: Celebrating Northern California Voices.  There was also the annoucement of the new co- editor for the journal, Marleen Roggow of Writers’ Wings. Submssions are closed for this first issue. The journal will be published online April 2018. Watch for info for submissions for Fall 2018.

2016

January and February and April

Birdland Journal reading at Alley Cat Books in the Mission on January 24th. 2:00-5:00. Twelve  readers.

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2016 Laguna/Birdland Retreat: Travel into Writing inspired by Hawaii was on Saturday, February 6th. Hawaiian toast after a good day of writing.

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Participants at Ben Jackson’s April Writing Craft workshop.

ben's workshop 2016

April 2016 WorkshopWriting the Lyric: Enliven Your Poetry & Prose with Ben Jackson. It was held on Saturday, April  10:30-5:00. Workshop Description

When we hear the word lyric, some of us might think of music or poetry. Yet a lyric can be much more than a melodic phrase or a sweet-sounding sonnet. It can be an expression of “a spontaneous, direct feeling,” inviting us back into our bodies, back into our emotions. Sometimes we writers get so caught up in telling a story that we forget to tap into our emotions, enliven our senses, and listen to the sound of our words. We poets, too, get sidetracked; we forget the core feelings we were trying to express and the patterns of music that make our poems engaging.

In this workshop we will look at ways to achieve lyricism in both poetry and prose, completing writing exercises that will help us create deeper feeling and musicality in our work. We will also try out fun approaches to structuring lyrical passages, using authors like Walt Whitman, Michael Ondaatje, and Lucia Berlin as our guides. Throughout the day you will be invited to share your work with others, but you’re also welcome to maintain a private relationship with your own writing. This class will expose you to skills and strategies that will breathe life into all of your writing regardless of genre.

About Ben

Ben Jackson’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Southern Review, Hudson Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, The Journal, and elsewhere. His awards include the 2015 Robinson Jeffers Tor House Poetry Prize as well as residencies from Vermont Studio Center, Jentel Artist Residency Program, and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. A graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program and a recipient of its Larry Levis Post-Graduate Stipend, he is the director of the Writing Salon, a San Francisco Bay Area creative writing school for adults.

Workshop Coordinates for this workshop

$175 person. Please bring your own lunch. Morning snacks and beverages will be provided. Please arrive close to 10:00. We will begin promptly at 10:30 and write until 1:00. We will break for lunch for an hour and spend the rest of the afternoon listening to poetry and writing until 5:00. We’ll end the day with a toast and a few appetizers to start your evening.

Register: To hold your place, please send $87.50 (non-refundable deposit).

The balance will be due the day of the workshop. Maximum twelve participants.

You can send checks to:

Sharon Smith

544 Vermont Street

San Francisco, CA 94107

or by PayPal to sharon@savorsmith.com

Note: If the workshop is cancelled for any reason, this deposit will be returned.

 

Birdland Journal: Fall Submissions 2016

Deadline  October 15 

max 5 pages or 1250 words

Theme: Talk to Me We are looking for writing in which dialogue plays an important part. It might be a piece that is mostly dialogue or has a few rich moments of conversation. It could be a narrator’s inner dialogue, or the narrator may be internally conversing with other characters. As always, our themes are open to your imagination and interpretation. We hope to hear from many of you, and have the pleasure of reading new work or rediscovering pieces we have heard in workshops and retreats before. Send one or two possibilities to Sharon at birdlandjournal@gmail.com. To look at past journals go to www.birdlandjournal.com

 

 

 

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