In the Name of the Land: Exploring New Pathways in Nature Writing

“This country’s wisdom still resides in its populace, in the pragmatic and generous spirits of everyday citizens who have not forgotten their kinship with nature. They are individuals who will forever hold the standard of the wild high, knowing in their hearts that natural engagement is not an interlude but a daily practice, a commitment each generation must renew in the name of the land.”

–Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert (New York: Vintage, 2002), 70.

Nature writing is often defined as environmental literature, or as the literature of place, or as landscape writing. The borders of the genre, though, are porous; after all, most writers write about nature in one way or another—some lovingly, some strategically, some politically, some lyrically. This September 13-15, join us at Rockvale Writers’ Colony for the “In the Name of the Land,” Weekend Retreat, where participants will hone their definitions and perceptions of nature writing. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage with natural landscapes, learn mindfulness practices to deepen their sensory and intuitive experiences of the natural world, and practice writing about nature in inventive ways.

These practices will be designed for people who feel a desire to write directly about the land in a variety of genres, as well as for people who want to learn to develop richer, more realistic, and more meaningful settings for their creative work.

We are excited to be joined once again by Melissa Jean, an Assistant Professor in the Mindfulness Studies masters’ program at Lesley University, where she also works as an Interdisciplinary Studies facilitator for Creative Writing MFA students. She teaches courses in academic writing, creative writing, research methods, and mindfulness and the environment. She received an MFA in Fiction Writing from Lesley, and a PhD in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management from Utah State University. Her writing has appeared in The Colorado Review and a variety of online journals, including most recently Junoesq, The Hopper, Waxing and Waning, and Causeway Lit.


Retreat Schedule (tentative):

Friday, September 13, 2019:

4:00 to 6:00 pm – Check in and settle in. You’ll be given a short tour and we’ll show you to your assigned room.

6:00 p.m. – Dinner, Introductions, Overview of Retreat

7:00 p.m. – Workshop

9:00 p.m. – Free time / Bedtime

Saturday, September 14, 2019:

6:30 a.m. – Coffee Ready!

7:00 a.m. – Breakfast is available

7:00 a.m. – Optional Guided Meditation Practice

8:30 a.m. – Workshop

10:00 a.m. – Free Time for Writing

12:00 p.m. – Lunch

1:00 p.m. – Outdoor Workshop

2:30 p.m. – Free Time for Writing

6:00 p.m. – Dinner

7:00 p.m. – Workshop

8:30 p.m. – Reading – Share your Writing (Sharing is optional; however, we ask that you attend whether you read or not, in order to support other writers.)

10:00 p.m. – Free Time / Bedtime

Sunday, September 15, 2019:

6:30 a.m. – Coffee Ready

7:00 a.m. – Breakfast is available. Come any time you’re ready

8:30 a.m. – Workshop

10:00 a.m. – Free Time for Writing

12:00 p.m. – Checkout and Goodbye

Cost Breakdown:

$340.00 – Room, meals, and workshops: Includes a private bedroom/bathroom for 2 nights, 5 meals (wine at dinner), snacks, 6 workshops

$ 46.75 – Applicable Taxes

$386.75 – TOTAL

Registration will open soon on Submittable! Those who register will be accepted and notified on a first-come, first-served basis. If the event is full, we will notify you and add your name to the Waiting List. If you have further questions, you may email Sandy at sandy.rockvale@gmail.com.