We gathered in the peaceful setting of old Fort Worden on its peninsula that juts into the churning waters where the Strait of Juan deFuca rolls in from the Pacific and turns at the mouth of Puget Sound. The landscape of seashore, snow-capped volcanoes, and deep forested wilderness might be enough to draw us, but Goddard offers writers a community. So, in the aftermath of remarkable snowstorms, all sixteen attendees having arrived safely, the conference began with two intensive days of workshops.
We began with the challenge of unsticking ourselves, moving past the internal editor to churn out five-minute short stories. Next, Tristan Beach guided us through “Poetry From the Root” to examine the role of ritual in the origins of poetry, as well as its influence through contemporary work. Our theme of Urgency framed our seven workshop sessions, both “academic” and creative. The highlight for many of us, though, was a morning salon. Five minutes from each reader was far too little. The quality and diversity of work transported us, the air was charged with inspiration, the light was liquid, somehow fresher, nourishing, renewing. “Wow,” we thought. “These people are awesome!” I think that the emotional whiplash and electric language we shared has done more to shake us awake than anything else we accomplished over those three and a half days.
Another wee thrill was to have met Goddard’s new president, Dr. Bernard Bull, and Director of Development, Meg Hammond. It does the heart good to know that the college is in their care because they do actually care about the place, its mission, and its niche in Education-writ-large.
I was excited to see Sarah Cannon in her role as Visiting Alum. She read from her memoir, The Shame of Losing (Red Hen Press), and led a workshop for students and alums. She shared insights gained from the process of finding the story within her experience and then working to discover the form by which to relate it.
Our conference affirmed the sense that Goddard has taught us something valuable for this writing life. I’ll be back for the community that supports our solitary wrangling to sculpt meaning from the maelstrom.
Check out the photo gallery below, and if you missed the LC&R, consider registering for this summer’s CWC&R!