Award-winning author Matt Love will conduct an all-day “En Plein Air” writing workshop at Lower Nehalem Community Trust’s Alder Creek Farm in Nehalem, Oregon on Saturday August 25. Here’s your chance to study with a master, to spend a day that will combine lecture with observation, writing and workshopping your words.“Constructing metaphors from nature is one of the most empowering creative exercises an aspiring writer can undertake,” says Matt Love. In this unique writing workshop, Oregon Coast author and teacher Love will lead participants through a hands-on, reflective process in the beautiful setting of Alder Creek Farm that will culminate in the creation of a personal metaphor that merges several literary and visual genres.
Many of us are familiar with En Plein Air Art Workshops…but how does an En Plein Air Writing Workshop compare? To share more details about the workshop in advance, we interviewed Matt Love. Here are his responses to our questions.
Q: What do you mean about “merging several literary and visual genres?” Will there be more than writing involved?
A: In the workshop, we will write, sketch, color, collect, document, collage, and perhaps even photograph (I’ll bring the cameras). I like fusing image with text and see what results.
Q: What’s the idea for the day …how do you see it flowing?
A: We will practice constructing metaphors from abstract objects, and then turn to nature to build one that helps us make sense of ourselves and our world.
We’ll be moving about the farm, individually, with partners, then regrouping to write and share our discoveries.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for a writer to get out in nature? What can it inspire?
A: Getting into nature has always inspired me to answer every important question I have ever asked. There are no institutions, paradigms, texts, politicians, or rules. You just go into the desert, mountains, forest or beach…and ask. These places answer in a way a city cannot. I’ve lived in big cities and now I live on the Oregon Coast and visit the beach three times a day. I know what I’m talking about.
Q: For writers who don’t necessarily think of themselves as “nature writers” what will they get out of this kind of workshop to inform all of their writing?
A: I consider every writer a nature writer. It is all around us, although many people never notice it. Nature is us. Noticing is the first step and that’s what this workshop is all about.
Q: Why hold this workshop at Alder Creek Farm?
A: Alder Creek Farm is one of the most inspiring places in Oregon. Concerned citizens came together and bought a damaged piece of estuary and restored it to holistic watershed function. It’s the model for so many good things.
Q: For an en plein air writing workshop, should attendees show up with pen and journal…or are laptops okay too?
A: Laptops will work back at the barn, but we’ll be moving across farm so people should bring paper and pen.
Q: How has nature affected your writing and your writing life?
A: It’s all in my book “Gimme Refuge: The Education in Caretaker.” I was lost as a human without connection to the land. I had no voice as a writer. I found the Oregon Coast and publicly owned beaches and everything changed. I don’t hold this out as a model for everyone, but it could work for some.
Q: You mentioned the following in a recent blog. Can you tell us your next project? I will also make a special announcement about my next Oregon literary venture that I’m sure will intrigue many, many Oregonians. A: It involves the legendary two-term Oregon Governor, Tom McCall. His centennial is next March. I’m going to do something that he would have loved.
Alder Creek Farm is a 54-acre conservation site preserved as open space by the Lower Nehalem Community Trust (LNCT). You’ll have a chance to wander the property for your observations, with views of the bay, an estuary, permaculture gardens, lots of wildlife, often a herd of elk.
The workshop will run from 930am to 3pm. The fee is $95, $85 for LNCT members, and includes a box lunch. There is space for 15 participants. For a registration form, go here, or email Tela Skinner at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
This workshop is a collaboration between the Hoffman Center’s Manzanita Writers’ Series and the Lower Nehalem Community Trust .