Writing & Yoga Retreat in Granada, Spain with The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

Join the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop on our summer writing retreat to the cultural oasis of Granada, Spain. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Granada is one of the gems of Spain and has inspired writers from Washington Irving to Salman Rushdie to Ali Smith.  Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes. Or, indulge in delicious Andalucían cuisine and traditional Arab baths.  Work with world-renowned authors on your manuscript, or look to the beauty and warmth of Granada to inspire all-new projects.

Our Andalucían writing retreat will feature twice-daily lessons or workshops with both CWW faculty and famed writers who will focus on strengthening your craft.  Our lodgings in Granada have room for private as well as group writing, allowing you to take advantage of the unique atmosphere to concentrate and convene with your fellow writers.  The exclusive boutique-style accommodations with alluring rooms and expressive architecture offer a calm and relaxing environment.

In addition to workshops and lessons, daily yoga lessons help soothe the mind and body by creating opportunities for personal exploration and inspiration. Taught by CWW’s very talented yoga instructor Elissa Lewis, our yoga classes focus on both the structural and spiritual and can be personalized according to any physical demands you may have.

Our Andalucían writing retreat will take place from August 3-10, 2015, and cost of the workshop is $2950, which includes lodging, craft of writing seminars and writing workshops, yoga classes, room cleaning, and breakfast.

The retreat location places you within close distance to the best of Granada, including the majestic Alhambra and the historic Moorish quarter the Albaicín. Granada is well-connected to the rest of Andalucía through public transportation, should you wish to explore the Costa del Sol, the Alpujarras mountains, or nearby Sevilla and Córdoba. Or, soak up all that Granada has to offer and enjoy tapas bars, Moroccan tea rooms, or flamenco.

Faculty includes Peter Orner (fiction, nonfiction), Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), Diana Norma Szkoloyai (poetry, nonfiction), Jessica Reidy (fiction, poetry) and Elissa Lewis (yoga, meditation).

FAQ

What Happens After I apply?

Once you apply, you can expect to hear from us within 7-10 days and know whether you were accepted into the program. Once you are accepted, you will receive a welcome packet with detailed information regarding the program.

What is the process of paying tuition?

Once you are accepted into the program, you will need to pay a 30% tuition deposit ($885) to hold your seat within 3-5 days of acceptance but not later than April 30, 2015.  The remainder of tuition ($2065) will be due by May 5, 2015.  Our standard and preferred method of payment is PayPal invoice.  You can also mail us a check.  Please note that the deposit is non-refundable after May 5, 2015.

What is included in tuition?

-lodging in central Granada
-daily breakfast
-creative writing workshops
-craft of writing seminars
-one-on-one manuscript consultation
-daily yoga and meditation classes
-room cleaning

Where will the program be held?

The program will be held at Gar Anat Hotel Boutique (http://hotelgaranat.com/?lang=en), Placeta de los Peregrines 1, 18009 Granada, Spain.

What if the deadline has passed?  Can I still apply?

Sometimes, we do have spaces open after our deadlines have passed.  Please apply or just email us directly at directors[at]cambridgewritersworkshop.org to check whether there is still availability.

Application Deadline: May 1, 2015

Also, bonus excitement, I’ll be offering fortune telling and energy healing (Reiki) sessions, and Diana Norma Szokolyai will be offering aromatherapy.

Cure for writer’s block: The Southeast Review Writer’s Regimen (starts June 1st!)

The hardest thing about writing is keeping going– I get all my self-doubt and feelings in a tangle and suddenly I’m paralyzed. If this doesn’t happen to you, then you either have defeated your ego or your ego is so huge and dense that nothing can penetrate it. Or another reason. Whatever the root of your writer’s block, it helps to have prompts. (It also helps to do another activity, like yoga, to get you going). The Southeast Review does this fantastic thing called 30-Day Writer’s Regimen and the next cycle starts June 1st. Here’s a description from the website–

Sign up for The Southeast Review Writing Regimen and you will get the following:

 

  • daily writing prompts, applicable for any genre, emailed directly to you for 30 DAYS! Use these to write a poem a day for 30 days, to create 30 short-short stories, or to give flesh to stories, personal essays, novels, and memoirs
  • daily reading-writing exercise, where we inspire you with a short passage from the books we’re reading and get you started writing something of your own
  • Riff Word of the Day, a Podcast of the Day from an editor, writer, or poet, and a Quote of the Day from a famous writer on writing
  • Flashback Bonus Craft Talks, where, as a little something extra, we repeat an earlier regimen’s craft talks from more writing heavyweights
  • weekly messages from established poets and writers—including tips and warnings on both the craft and the business of writing
  • FREE copy of a current or classic back issue of The Southeast Review, featuring interviews, poetry, nonfiction, and fiction that will knock your socks off!
  • a chance to have your work published on our site.
  • access to our online literary companion—www.southeastreview.org—for interviews with up-and-coming and established poets, fiction writers, and memoirists, podcasts of readings from the Warehouse Reading Series, including such writers as Ann Patchett, Jennifer Knox, Matthew Zapruder, Barry Hannah, . . . as well as essays on the reading life of writers, book picks, web picks, and much more . . .

All of this for just $15.00. That’s a mere 50 cents per day! Join us for a month and walk away with a new body of work! 

It’s pretty sweet– I use the regimens to teach, I buy regimens as gifts for writer friends, and I use them myself. If you can’t swing a retreat, it’s a good way to make your own retreat at home. Think about it, but not for too long because June is upon us! http://southeastreview.org/30-day-writers-regimen/

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Manifest destiny/shameless begging really works; or, I prayed to Maria Bamford, patron saint of lady writers, and she delivered

All hail “The Bammer” and her seraphic entourage of pugs, maker of dreams and angel of satire!Image

Saint Bamford & pug seraphs

If you remember my post back in December in which I made my first invocation of Saint Maria “The Bammer” Bamford and asked her to grant my manifest destiny magic wish to return to Europe and research my novel some more this summer, then congratulations and thank you, you’re one of 5 or so people who reads this and gives a flying bat shit about what I write here. (5 might even be too optimistic.) If you don’t remember but you’re still reading anyway, thank you too! Miracles do happen.

 

I’ve been waiting to write this so that I could figure out what I want to say, how can I eloquently thank the All Mighty Bammer for her inspiring and guiding light that has led me to my destiny, but I’ve delayed long enough and I’m not any wittier than before so I’m just going for it. You see, after I posted my tongue-in-cheek shameless begging for someone out there to help me get to Europe, it happened. Last year I wet on a fantastic Yoga & Writing Retreat in Verderonne, France, led by The Cambridge Writers Workshop, and it was art-changing. I learned so much, I wrote so much, I was in France, my novel is set in France, I swam in a moat, I did yoga in a garden on the chateau grounds… it was a good thing. I also spent all my money going there so it was a once-in-a-decade-or-two opportunity. But little did I know that the directors were reading my plaintive wails! They got in touch and were like, “Yo girl, you want to teach Fiction on the next retreat? Would that help?” And I was like, “Um. Yes. That’s helps a lot.” Except I was jumping up and down and screaming.

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Yoga in the garden beside the moat with wonder woman yoga teacher Elissa Lewis, photo by Rita Banerjee

So now, all I want is for wonderful people to come and do this with us. I’ll be teaching a workshop on novel-writing, the fabulous Elissa will be teaching yoga twice a day as well as an art workshop (she’s a marvelous artist too), and the fantastic Cambridge Writers Workshop co-founders and co-directors Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai are both wonderful poets, scholars, and fiction writers, will be teaching workshops on their specialties. It’s going to be magnificent.

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Getting some writing done in our private courtyard. Photo by Rita

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Getting some writing done in Paris– I was doing a character exercise on the lady behind me. Photo by Rita

There are optional field trips to Paris, Chantilly, and Versailles as well, so there’s time for work and time for adventures. In Paris, we’ll probably stop in at Spoken Word Paris for a reading.

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Spoken Word Paris, photo by Rita Banerjee

There will also be quite a bit of eating homemade delicious French food, and even though I was raw vegan at the time (I fell off the wagon since, getting back on the wagon, slowly) the spectacular chef Joelle not only accommodated me but ended up trying it herself! She is so kind, and much of the food is organically grown right there on the grounds. She even makes her own yogurt!

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With a gorgeous salad. Photo by Rita

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The dinner table. Photo by Rita

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Joelle feeding chickens. Photo by Rita

Here are the details:

Location: Château de Verderonne,
Picardy, France
Dates: August 7, 2014 – August 20, 2014
Application Deadline: May 15, 2014
Apply: cww.submittable.com

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Annual Yoga & Writing Retreat will be held from August 7 -20, 2014 at the Château de Verderonne in Picardy, France, located approximately 50 miles north of Paris. The conference features workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft of writing seminars, art classes, free time to write, and daily yoga and meditation classes.  Writers of all genres and levels are welcome. Yoga practitioners of all levels are also welcomed (we have experience adapting the yoga sequences to meet the level of beginner-advanced participants).  Participants are encouraged, but not required, to bring their own long-term projects to work on.  Whether writers are beginners or advanced, CWW workshops have a history of success in generating new writing.

Optional excursions to Paris and Chantilly are also available to participants.  The faculty includes Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Jessica Reidy, and Elissa Lewis. The cost of the conference is $3,200, which includes lodging, meals, writing workshops, yoga classes and transportation to and from the airport.

So, I hope you, dear reader, apply for the retreat. I’m so excited to be there. Praise the Bammer!

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Helpful links:

More info: http://cambridgewritersworkshop.org/retreats-2/

To apply: https://cww.submittable.com/submit

The Tumblr for the last retreat: http://cambridgewritersworkshop.tumblr.com/post/56372789267/day-1-france-cww-2013-writing-yoga-retreat-in

My Yelp Review: http://www.yelp.com/biz/cambridge-writers-workshop-brooklyn

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Many hats with Rita & Elissa

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All of us in Versailles. From left going clockwise: Tiffanie, Norma, Elissa, me, Rita, and Kareema. I felt so lucky to work with such brilliant and delightfully kind women!

Researching in Paris, Day One

Sometimes research is practical: where is my train? how do I find myself on the map of Montparnasse? How do I say, do you sell comfort shoe-inserts for my 16-year-old combat boots? in French? These things I learned, except the last one. Instead I discovered how many pharmacies are in a 2 km radius from the hotel (Answer: 6).

It’s been nice to map things out for a change: I’m not nearly as organized as most put-together tweens as I’d like to be. Len and I fell in love circling each other for a few weeks, then circling Italy, then Croatia, too giddy to concentrate on maps, too polite to make an actual suggestion. Circling is fun, let’s not kid ourselves. Who hasn’t gone an extra time around a roundabout at least once? Metaphorically or otherwise. Yet now, seven years later, I’m learning the joys of having a plan. Maybe it’s because I (finally) made myself full outline my novel during the Cambridge Writers Workshop writing and yoga retreat in Verderonne, France for the past two weeks. Such relief! Such clarity! Circling the novel became exhausting and much less inspiring, but saying what, when, where, and how was so powerful, like architecture and alchemy together. And sure, Len and I circled and it was whimsical and romantic, but then I locked that down with paperwork and wedding rings in a Roanoke, VA courthouse. So, plans are nice, too. Balance, right?

For instance, to research Romani culture in France between 1920 and circa 1952, I will go here:
Centre des études Tsiganes
Médiathèque Fnasat-Gens du voyage-Etudes Tsiganes
59 rue de l’Ourcq
75019 PARIS
France
01 40 35 12 17

and I will be very happy. I am already.This novel takes up about 70% of my brain. Sometimes that’s agonizing (I will admit this), but lately, especially when I’m in a community of writers like my MFA program, or the Writing and Yoga retreat that I just adored and finished, the novel-brain phenomenon is delightful and fulfilling .

So, some sample plans: to learn more about jazz, I could to go Le Petite Journal, and for Romani/Manouche jazz I could check out these gems compiled by Jane Parry of Paris Voice. I will go to catacombs and odd museums, cafes and gardens, I will try to catch some burlesque culture, I will go to Spoken Word Paris to met the wonderful expat writers and listen to their wonderful word-magics, and maybe read something myself. I will probably deviate from my raw-vegan lifestyle and eat a crepe. For research. The point is, I have about 6 maps of Paris, I understand the metro system, I found my comfy inserts, and I’ve had these combat boots since I was 11. I’ve got a plan.

Photo by: KareemaBee

Photo by: KareemaBee