In January, 2016 after doing a book discussion and signing for Blue Moon Vegan at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane, Washington, Phil and I were invited to tour the River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary. Situated near Riverside State Park, River’s Wish is home to more than eighty horses, pigs, cows, chickens, goats, rabbits, geese, dogs, cats, and two people. With the exception of the people, but certainly becausof the people, all of the inhabitants at River’s Wish have been rescued from mistreatment, neglect, or in some cases, even death. Executive director Kit Jagoda and her husband Pete, both accomplished visual artists, run the rescue program, and coordinate its volunteer staff—and raise money to keep it all going. For more information about River’s Wish (and more great snaphots of residents!) click here

With a mission toward humane education, River’s Wish offers related lectures and workshops on the property. I’m honored to offer a two-day class called “Writing as Sanctuary” on May 18 and 19.  This is a generative workshop, the goal of which is to encourage writers to think about the relationship between the physical body, the environment, the notion of safety, and the idea of writing as a place of personal refuge.

To this end, participants will be asked to leave all electronics at home for the duration of the workshop and to bring a sketchbook, a notebook or journal, and a supply of #2 pencils.

An introductory session from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18, will give participants the opportunity to hear Kit and Pete’s story and to learn more about the Sanctuary and its benevolent purpose. A discussion of my “kind” approach to writing follows, which will include a succession of exercises designed to generate writing.

Saturday, May 19, will feature a Sanctuary tour at 8:30 a.m., followed by two class sessions from 9:30 to noon and 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., which will include both discussion and writing practice. A vegan lunch is provided. The late afternoon will be spent communing with the Sanctuary’s residents, exploring the grounds, and responding to generative exercises. The event will close Saturday evening with a wine hour, dinner, and open mic.

Cost for the program is $150, which includes materials, 2 vegan meals, wine, and snacks. Participants may also submit up to 20 double-spaced pages for feedback from Ms. Coomer. (NOTE: For manuscript formatting guidelines, click here.)  The deadline is May 2.  No refunds after April 20. To sign up or to inquire further, contact Ms. Coomer at coom1286@hotmail.com or click on PayPal to make payment. The workshop is limited to fifteen, so early application is encouraged.