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Antioch Writers’ Workshop 2016 – My 20-Year Reunion

This year’s Antioch Writers’ Workshop marks the 20-year anniversary of my attendance as a participant. 20 years! This fact make me feel old. But it also makes me feel accomplished. It was a true honor to join the workshop as a seminar leader this year, taking on an afternoon session of fiction instruction. It’s amazing how close these small groups become over the course of the week – everyone putting everything out there, sticking with that uncomfortable feeling of vulnerability that only a writer can understand.

My group was amazing, ranging from the ages of 18 to 70-something, each participant supportive and inspiring, even while offering a critique. And boy were they brave, sharing their pieces without the anonymity of a screen name or the ability to hide in the murky waters that the internet provides. No, these people met live, face-to-face, for really really real. I had more than one student approach me in a complete, shaky-handed, My-piece-is-being-workshopped-tomorrow! panic. But they all worked through the fear and came out on the other side feeling like they had made some lifelong friends in the process.

I’d forgotten that part – the magical feeling of connection and unity that a workshop provides, with everyone there for one collective reason, to geek out on writing. And now, two weeks later, I’m missing my new friends who feel quite a bit like family, wishing them the best of the best in all endeavors, but especially when it comes to writing.

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Workshop days start with some very early mornings, which make for some gorgeous drives through backcountry farmland. The dew glistening on the grass and cornstalks feels like a million stories ripe for the picking.

 

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Antioch University Midwest, the site for the annual Antioch Writers’ Workshop.

 

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Dinner with some lifelong sister friends, Katrina Kittle and Sharon Short, just before my first ever reading from, A MILLION TIMES GOODNIGHT.

 

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My group of fiction writers. Lots of love here!

 

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All of us leaping for writerly joy. 

 

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Two exceptionally talented ladies, both chosen by my group to participate in the public evening reading.

 

 

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More lifelong writer friends – Sharon Short, Janet Irvin, Me, and Erin Flanagan.

 

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This iconic barn graces the field next to AUM. It’s been there as long as I can remember, going back decades to when I first visited the village of Yellow Springs, Ohio when I was in high school. (And now I feel even older.)

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