A rainy Sunday afternoon finds me finalizing plans for leading a writer’s workshop next weekend at the Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival near Fairbanks, Alaska.
Today’s task was to find some examples of wildlife writing that I can share with workshop participants, to start them thinking about things like using action verbs and selecting meaningful details. What a great excuse to dive into my bookshelves and reacquaint myself with some amazing writers. Mary Oliver’s poetry, Richard Nelson’s lyrical prose, Aldo Leopold’s passion, Diane Ackerman’s eye for detail, Annie Dillard’s quiet voice … it’s as if I’ve been hosting a party, and all the guests are raconteurs with fascinating stories about the topics I care about most. The time has flown by.
For workshop participants, I promised to provide “a collaborative, structured environment for learning about, and doing, wildlife writing.” There will be opportunities for participants to begin a first draft, make solid plans for finishing and revising it, and read their work to a supportive audience. We’ll hear what various writers have said about sandhill cranes. I’ll share some of the guidelines I keep in mind when doing my own writing. All of that will be offered in under an hour and a half each day.
That’s the plan, anyway!