The 8th Annual Young Creative Writer’s Workshop "Coming Home to Community"

Creative people can be a bit peculiar. We have a certain routine before a dance. We like a certain pen, pristine paper, cushy headphones, a particular paintbrush, specific canvas, special guitar pick, etc. We like our silence or music or background noise. Some of us are exactly the opposite. We don’t care what type of pen or paper or brush we use; and a guitar pick cut out from a milk jug will do just fine, thank you.

One thing we cannot deny is a need for creative wisdom. We are always learning – every day and at every age. Take a walk in the woods and we learn bird languages, study animal habits, note tree growths, ponder rock formations. Listen to the elders – our old, wise loved ones – and they teach us about herbs and teas and tinctures; carpentry, hunting, and shine. Learning opportunities for creative people are plentiful in our region. On the more scholarly bent, we have workshops, seminars, conferences, lectures, practices, etc. Some of these events require a fee. But a good portion are free.

We encourage anyone to find a workshop in your creative niche. These events allow one to learn more about artistic skills and find community and mentorship. Not to mention, they’re fun. Recently, Appalachia Bare attended the Young Creative Writer’s Workshop hosted by Pellissippi State Community College in East Tennessee’s Strawberry Plains. We tabled the event and attended a few workshops. It was a joy to meet fellow artists and creators.

The event was free to the public (with registration). The keynote speaker was author Charles Dodd White, whose featured workshop posed a question every writer should ask: “Why are you writing the story?” In his keynote address, he spoke about inspirations for writing. Joseph Woods, aka Black Atticus, directed a lively workshop geared toward songwriting, slam poetry, and spoken word. Award-winning poet, Keri Withington presented a workshop that made “the mundane poetic.” Writer and poet Heather Schroeder engaged her attendees with fiction writing workshops about home and homeland. Jody Dyer’s workshops centered on publication and “craft-focused fiction.”

The Workshop also featured Appalachian Arts sessions inside the Appalachian Heritage Project. Allison McKittrick directed the “Quilting Bee,” where participants made quilt squares. Past Appalachian writers came to life in cleverly done reenactments.* And an interactive display featured “Myths, Monsters, Superstitions, and Sayings.” Lunch was a delightful gathering where the talented Robyn James Ensemble performed classical Appalachian music. After lunch, Timothy Klein directed an Appalachian Square and Round Dancing workshop.

Workshop presenters tabled the event, along with various others, including Appalachia Bare: Debbie Patrick from Vision Run Publishing; and Mossy Creek Writers, a friendly group who provides “camaraderie and support” for writers of all genres.

This writeup about the event is simply a series of happenings, to be sure. But it is also a small sampling of what to expect at such occasions. So, find joy in these special workshops. Discover learning and community. Google to find workshops in your county, state, or region.

A giant “Thank You” for inviting Appalachia Bare to the Young Creative Writer’s Workshop. We are grateful for all the student volunteers and for the following Workshop facilitators:
  • Event Director — Patty Ireland
  • Campus Dean — Dr. Mike North
  • Campus Librarian — Allison McKittrick
  • Student Assistant to Director — Hannah Kachelmyer

* Outstanding performers for “Living History”: Natashia Lewis, Hannah Kachelmyer, Elise Acuff, and Julian Starkey

They worked tirelessly to make the event a great success!


**Featured image from Px Here

***All other photographs by Delonda Anderson

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