Our Balance Writing with Yoga program for the 2022 Clearwater Writers Residency was once again completely magical and productive time for all involved. Yoga evolved as a means to support the body for long periods of meditation, so it makes sense that yoga would work as well to support writing, which in itself impacts the body in the same way that meditation does–if you are writing by hand. All of our programs introduce the writer to the phenomenon of working in pencil–really nice pencils that smell like the old cedar pencils many of us remember, as they are produced from sustainable incense cedar, and which we provide for all attendees. Our attendees are seen walking around with fistfuls of pencils and notebooks in arm. Engaging in small motor activities remind us at a deep level of our early engagement with language–working with pencil, crayon, clay–and we have observed over and over again the way this changes writing practice. Replicable studies of the brain have proven that with pencil in hand, we are no longer working at the surface, as is the case with typing on a keyboard, but we neurologically gain quicker access to the furthest corners of our stored experience, and the evidence is in the more nuanced and detailed use of language we see emerging from writers at our retreat programs. Life-changing and life-affirming are the words we hear most often from attendees.
Unfortunately for now, the future of Clearwater Writers for 2023 is uncertain. Originally, we thought that 2022 programs would be our last, but we are withholding judgment until we see what the year presents. Please check this space regularly for future announcements.