SARK in Big Sur!

When I was younger, I wrote quite a lot.  I attended a writing workshop for teenagers.  In the end, that was pretty much one of the most decisive events in my high school years, despite the fact that I don’t really bear much resemblance now to who I became in those three short weeks – who bears any resemblance to their 16 year old self?!  Oh, how glad I am that I don’t, though I was pretty cool, just so you know.  Pretty cool indeed with my angsty teenage poetry and Fiona Apple positively BLARING on my headphones.  These have transformed into singing Van Morrison with friends and writing blog posts about the book I’ve been reading or that time I had my cat neutered.  But the fact remains, that were it not for those three weeks spent with like-minded peers, throwing ourselves headfirst with reckless abandon into that craft we had all decided, at our then-tender ages, was important to us.  We all wrote, we all wrote differently, we all had very different perspectives and inspirations and experiences, but we came together, to form six small classes and wrote, read, and talked for hours and hours and hours in a structured workshop for three weeks.  When we weren’t in class, we were talking with our new friends about the work we had brought with us, or the ideas we had created while there.  It was simply mind-blowing to my slightly provincial (small town rural snowwy mountains seemed so far away from the idea of a city I carried with my as a child, and a city was where the real thinkers were.  Since growing older and finding peace in Big Sur, I now know the opposite might be true, but like I said, I was 16) mind that there could exist a community of writers and thinkers, even if just living in dorms for 3 weeks before we all headed back to the places where we were from, and in full 16 year old glory, naturally resented the HELL out of.  I met friends who I thought for a while I must have imagined.  That is a product of my wild imagination (it would not be unlike me to have created the perfect friend, though I was never the kind of kid to talk to them or indicate that they “exist”), as well as the simple beauty to be found in strangers gathering around a goal such as writing and thinking.


This magical time in my life has been food for my thoughts much more lately because I’m looking at the workshop that the Henry Miller Library will be hosting in January.  SARK, who was particularly important to me as my ideas of myself as a writer were forming, is going to join us in Big Sur from January 22-24th to host a workshop based around her new-ish book Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper.  We had planned on offering this workshop around the same time last year, but the winter storms staring us in the face scared us into postponing the workshop.  This year we are more confident that our increasingly less fragile surroundings can withstand what the winter will throw our way (we have already weathered a particularly gnarly storm, and while it brought a sizable redwood crashing down against our debris-net in the canyon, we’re fine and so is everyone else in our community, bring it on, El Nino! – just bring it on nicely, alright?).  And so we will host SARK at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Lodge and enjoy a workshop which will pull us all from our web of procrastination and perfectionism, and we will all write with joy, passion, and creativity.

trust me, you want to stay here

trust me, you want to stay here

I pulled Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper from our shelf here at the library, where you can get your own copy to prepare for the workshop, and am immediately drawn to SARK’s signature colorful handwriting, water color painting and doodles that adorn the pages and drive home important points.  The chapter lists are as follows:

Chapter one: being a writer

Chapter two: time and energy to write & create

Chapter three: games, stories, and ways to get your juicy pen moving like crazy

Chapter four: difficulties, challenges, and ways to transform these

Chapter five: the power of stories

Chapter six: stories and portraits of other inspiring writers in addition to you

Chapter seven: publishing, style, process

Chapter eight: excellent writing resources just for you

To get you thinking, and maybe even writing in preparation for this workshop, let me give you a prompt from the list that SARK has on page 85 of this book:

take this sentence and write a story!

The door cannot be seen from the outside…

The workshop here in Big Sur is complete with wonderful lodging with our friends and the hosts-with the most(s?) at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Lodge, and delicious meals from their impeccable kitchen.  You will be here in Big Sur during one of the most magical times, a time during which I believe it to be impossible not to be inspired by the migrating whales in front of the razor sharp horizons to the west, the crisp air and that all-important-human-necessity of the feeling of being warmed by the sun.  Also, not as many people know the magic of Big Sur in January, and it’s entirely possible that the “turnout phenomenon” as we here call it won’t happen to you (the “turnout phenomenon” is that funny thing that happens as one is headed to the pullouts south of the Henry Miller Library to catch a glimpse of the ocean and – this is the important part – to have a quick and deep s0litary moment, despite being on the highway.  There are dozens of beautiful places to stop, and one may pull over at any, and one probably choses a pullout with no other cars at it to get the aforementioned solitude and peace.  This is when it starts, the “turnout phenomenon,” because as soon as you pull out onto a turnout with no other cars, all passing motorists from Kansas or New Jersey or Germany automatically pull over, as if driven by some frightening magnetic charge.  The fact that you’ve pulled over for some peace and quiet indicates to all other tourists that you are seeing something that THEY NEED TO SEE, TOO, and so your moment of peace is zapped into an iPhone photo taken backwards at arms length.)  But as I’ve said, lucky for SARK workshop participants, the liklihood of the ‘turnout phenomenon” happening to you reduces exponentially in January.  So come one, come all and have some peace and quiet!  But also, spend all the time you’d like in the bliss that I’ve described at the begining of this blog post – surrounded by like minded people, working toward a unified cause – spreading joy through writing and creativity.  Let SARK guide you!

And to leave you, a quote from Borges, by way of Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper.

“Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.” – Jorge Luis Borges


For more information about workshop specifics, pricing alternatives, or registration, please visit our website for the event.  You can also call (831) 667 2574, or zip me an email at


3 responses to “SARK in Big Sur!

  1. Wow, you guys never rest. I am really envious of your life style. If I were younger, I would be doing exactly what you are about. I would love to attend the workshop in January but my time is fully occupied with writing technical reports for submission to the FDA and computer coding,

  2. Keely,
    You are a lovely writer and I am very proud of you. Good work.


    P.S. I am a little tipsy.

  3. Keely, I must agree with Susanna, you are an amazing writer! Cant wait to come back down to the Sur and visit your sassy ass!

    Much love,
    Krissy 🙂

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