Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Words in Bloom: New UCDE Spring Creative Writing Conference in Sacramento--Enroll Today!


I am so pleased to tell you that we are now unveiling our newested creative writing conference--Words in Bloom!

Words in Bloom takes place April 29-May 1, 2011 in Sacramento, California. For complete information and to enroll now, head to

The Experience
Join nationally known poets and authors, respected editors and agents and featured area writers for a weekend of inspiration as you create new work and new writing relationships. Begin Friday evening with faculty readings at Time Tested Books in Sacramento. Spend Saturday and Sunday mornings with the author or poet of your choice as you draft new writing and discuss craft issues with your workshop leader and peers. Readings and panel discussions with published authors, emerging writers, agents and editors fill the afternoons; evenings feature faculty readings and book signings.

A special note to UC Davis Extension Creative Writing Students: Are you in the process of completing UC Davis Extension's Creative Writing Certificate Program? Or, perhaps you are considering completing the certificate? If you are, Words in Bloom can fulfill a portion of your elective requirements. For more information, see the Creative Writing Certificate Program.

Conference takes place in Sacramento: Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., and the Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street. To view the tentative conference schedule, visit our website.

The Workshops—Enroll in one Workshop per participant
To view workshop instructor biographies, click on that instructor's workshop at the bottom of our event webpage.

Poetry: Digging Out the Diamonds—Strategies for Inspiring, Developing and Strengthening Poems with Dana Levin Enroll in section 104WRT301
How do we dig out the diamond moments—moments of linguistic, imagistic and musical intensity—from our free-writes, journal entries, abandoned, "failed" or resistant poem drafts? How can such "diamonds" help us intuit the developing shape of a poem-in-process and help it on its way? In this workshop we will look at some poetic strategies in sample poems, then turn to serious play—via exercises, collaborative collage, working with speech acts, Japanese Renga and more—to generate our own fields in which to start digging.

Fiction: Into the Deep End (Without a Kickboard)—Plunge Straight into the Good Stuff Without Boring Yourself to Death First with Pam Houston Enroll in section 104WRT302
The blank page is one scary s.o.b. Sometimes we are so afraid of it that we fill it up with a whole lot of throat clearing that (in the best case scenario) we end up cutting later, or (in the worst case scenario) derails whatever energy sent us to the blank page in the first place. In this class we will talk about and practice getting the good stuff down first: the most salient image, the most memorable bit of dialogue, the white hot story moment that we are most terrorized by.... We will worry less about trying to keep everything under control and more about getting all those electrically-charged particles on paper.

Fiction: Beginnings—So Much Depends with Ehud Havazelet Enroll in section 104WRT303
So much does indeed depend on beginning, the way we first introduce readers to the world we are creating in their minds, whether it be William Carlos Williams looking out the window, or the Bible, or even, as John the Apostle might have it, God. Where we start counts.
We will begin by taking a look at several opening lines, trying to analyze how quickly and how well we are immersed in the created world, and what, right off the bat, we are taught. Perhaps even more interestingly, we will look at what compromises, concessions, what arrangements we enter into without often realizing it as the author begins working her magic on us. We will then turn to the work of writing our own beginnings.

Nonfiction: The Pen and The Bell—Writing as a Contemplative Practice with Brenda Miller Enroll in section 104WRT304
Memoirist Lawrence Sutin writes, "The truth of writing is the discovery of one's voice—a voice that is unimpeded by anger, the desire for praise or the fear of self-disclosure. This is the voice that knows more than we do, that manifests itself only in the act of writing." Together, we will court this sense of discovery through intensive writing sessions that generate rich and unexpected work, and we will practice different contemplative exercises that will help us navigate toward the core of self from which the true voice emerges. Often our best writings emerge from that "still point" within us—a stillness difficult to achieve in a world filled with distractions.
My aspiration for this workshop is to provide you with ways to gain access to the creative mind in the midst of everyday life. Be prepared to check your critical mind at the door, and put on your play clothes instead!

To Enroll in Words in Bloom
Enrollment in Words in Bloom costs $595 ($745 if postmarked after 03/14/2011). Enrollment fee includes entrance to all scheduled afternoon and evening events as well as participation in morning workshops with one instructor. Academic credit is included in the enrollment fee for all students choosing full enrollment; students can choose to participate on audit (non-credit) status for the same enrollment fee. Paperwork to file for audit status will be available at conference registration on April 29, 2011. Lodging, meals and transportation are not included in the enrollment fee.

Please note: Morning workshops are scheduled concurrently; students meet with the same workshop instructor and group on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Choose only one instructor (e.g. one section number) when enrolling in Words in Bloom. UC Davis Extension may not be able to provide full refunds to students who enroll in more than one section.

Professional Consultations
Consultations with professional agents and editors will be available at the conference. For complete details, please visit the conference website at

I hope to see you there! Happy holidays!

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