Over the last fifteen years, the reader-submitted essays in the The New York Times Modern Love column have elevated many writers’ careers, leading some to agents, book deals, and even film adaptations. The column has led to a Modern Love Podcast (2015) and, most recently, a web-based anthology series on Amazon (2019), evidence of its continued popularity. With all that it has spawned, the column has become something of a cultural phenomenon. With 2.6 million readers, there is no greater exposure for a writer than The New York Times. This three-day retreat will provide plenty of time for immersion in the Modern Love column, while also giving participants unstructured time to work on their ideas and drafts. In our first class, we will study essays published in the column, analyzing them to discover their range of topics, writing styles, and narrative strategies. Each of us has within us the material for an essay appropriate to the column. (More likely, we all have several.) Once we’ve become more knowledgeable about essays that found their way into print, we’ll devote our second class to generating ideas through in-class exercises to discover our own Modern Love material. The love we explore can be romantic, platonic, unrequited, or familial. With feedback from peers and guidance from instructor, we will get started on a first draft. On our last evening together, before and after a shared dinner, we will have read-aloud workshops of essays-in-progress.
Open to writers of all levels. Some familiarity with the Modern Love column is assumed.
$575 includes instruction, lodging, welcoming Meet&Greet, one dinner, one lunch. (All cabins have kitchens and participants bring provisions for other meals.)
Arrive between 2:00 and 3:30 pm on Monday, Oct. 21st.
Check out by 10:00 am, Thursday, Oct. 24.
Group meets three times:
Monday, 4:00 to 5:00 pm: Meet & Greet in the Commons.
5:00 to 7:30 pm: Class.
Tuesday, 9:30 to Noon: Class.
12:30: Lunch in the Commons. Free time for writing.
Wednesday: Free day for writing until 4:30pm.
4:30 to 6: Workshop.
6 to 7:30 Dinner.
7:30 to 9: Workshop.
Enrollment limited to the first eight applicants who register and pay in full. To pay, go to our shopping cart or call the PLAYA office at 541.943. 3983. Once payment is complete, please have all members of your party fill out this form.
Meet Your Mentor: Melanie Bishop
Melanie Bishop’s essay, “I Would Have Driven Her Anywhere,” appeared in the New York Times Modern Love column in November of 2018. She has taught writing or led creative writing retreats in Arizona’s Sierra Ancha Wilderness, at Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti (www.arcosanti.org), in the Cycladic Islands of Greece, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Prescott, Arizona, and in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Currently Faculty Emeritus at Prescott College, Bishop has published fiction, nonfiction and a YA novel, My So-Called Ruined Life. Her novel was a top-five finalist for both the John Gardner Award in Fiction, sponsored by Binghamton University, and the Firecracker Awards, sponsored by Community of Literary Magazines & Presses. (Access online publications here.) On creative writing faculty at Prescott College for 22 years, Melanie taught Memoir as her signature course. She was also founder and fiction/nonfiction editor of Alligator Juniper, the college’s national literary magazine, three-time winner of the AWP Directors’ Prize. Bishop has taught a Modern Love Essay class in July 2019 for Stanford Continuing Studies, and will teach it again in March of 2020. She has twice been a resident at PLAYA Summer Lake, and has served on PLAYA’s review panel for selecting applicants to be awarded stays. Learn more about Melanie here.
“Writing retreats provide the perfect balance of solitude and companionship, introspection and discussion, rest and stimulation, work and play. During retreats, writers often find they have better access to the muse, simply because they’ve left behind their familiar environment, with its typical distractions and demands. Being stimulated by a new locale and landscape recharges the senses, restores inspiration, and generates new material. Other than class times, participants will be encouraged to design their daily routines according to their own preferred rhythms—writing, reading, taking walks, taking photos, stargazing, and communing with other writers.” – Melanie Bishop