Writing Retreat, July 26-31, Shalom Hill Farm, and Writing Times, Blue Moon Café, July 8 and July 22

We are writing to invite you to a writing retreat at Shalom Hill Farm, starting Friday, July 26, at dinner time and concluding Wednesday, July 31, around lunch time.

And to invite you also to the July writing times at the Blue Moon Coffee Café, 5:30-7:00 PM, on Mondays July 8 and 22. The Blue Moon is on East Lake Street at 39th Avenue.

What will be writing retreat be like? The motto of the retreat could be Rousseau's saying about education, that "the point is not to save time, but to lose time." A group of facilitators (Ilene Alexander, Julie Plaut, Peter Shea, Mary Ellen Shaw, Kim Lindell, Joanne Englund, Lynn Englund, and John Wallace) met on June 19 and came up with the following ideas:

The retreat will be very lightly facilitated, with a simple and open structure to time, and to meals, and will give participants a lot of time to write according to their individual rhythms.

We will use the space at Shalom Hill Farm to create a few different writing and socializing environments. For examples, a quiet space with tables where you can write quietly in the presence of others writing-that is, a space to write in company and not be talked to; a talking space where you can have conversations about whatever (for those of you who have been at Shalom Hill Farm, we think we will use the dining room in the Commons for this, next to the kitchen where there is likely to be coming and going and snacking and talking most of the time anyway); the space in your sleeping room can be a quiet private writing space; and then there is the great outdoors.

On using your sleeping room as a writing space-it will probably be a good idea to bring card table to write on. Only a few of the sleeping rooms at Shalom Hill Farm are equipped with desks.

Shalom Hill Farm now has superfast internet connections. We will bring a Mac, a PC, and a printer or two so these modern conveniences and access to email will be available those who want them.

Breakfast and lunch will be simple do-it-yourself meals. Cereal, toast, bagels, fruit for breakfast. Sandwich fixings for lunch. Dinner will be a little bigger deal, a real meal so to speak where all participants will sit down together.

Besides dinner, the only times that will be "programmed" for everyone to participate are an introductory meeting on that first Friday evening, and a concluding meeting on Wednesday morning.

We will encourage and provide opportunity for small-self initiated groups to form where participants might read their writing to each other, give and receive feedback, do writing exercises of the Natalie Goldberg type (or any other type) and so forth. There will be a big sheet for suggestions and sign-up for these groups prominently displayed. These will be self-initiated spaces for risk-taking and surprise.

It is OK for people to come for only part of this retreat. The loose structure makes this possible. The fee for the retreat will be pro-rated for a shorter stay.

A word about the fee for this retreat. As you know, the fees we charge for these retreats exactly cover costs. For this retreat, the costs for the full six days will be about $140. As for the shorter weekend retreats, we offer the option where without any application or review or questions you can give yourself a scholarship-and pay, say, $90--or give a scholarship, by paying some amount more than $140, say $190.

John Wallace will serve as banker for this retreat. Payment may be made to him either at the retreat or by sending a check to 4536 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409.

Further information about the folk school, about costs, logistics, travel, and registering for the retreat can be found on the web at www.hopework.org

A special note. This invitation will reach some people who have not previously taken part in a gathering sponsored by the folk school group. That is great. The folk school gatherings are intended to bring new people together and to be open to people who share the values of wanting stronger communities and working to build them.

Let me remind you again of, and urge you to feel welcome to participate in, the July writing times at the Blue Moon Coffee Café, 5:30-7:00 PM, on Mondays July 8 and 22. The Blue Moon is on East Lake Street at 39th Avenue. These times can be an opportunity to ask questions about, and warm up for, the end of July 5-day retreat.

A word about future retreats. We have the following retreats scheduled:

August 30-September 1, 2002, just before the start of Fall Semester at the U of MN. The topic will for this retreat has not been chosen yet. Choosing the topic will happen at a potluck sometime in July. Stay tuned for an invitation.

And finally, please don't hesitate to call or email Lynn Englund or John Wallace if you have questions or suggestions (engl8813@umn.edu 612-625-1944 walla003@umn.edu 612-624-5210).