This summer (July 12-15), we’re thrilled to welcome University of Alabama (Roll tide!) professor Michael Martone to Cirenaica, where he’ll host “From Start to Finish: On Beginnings, Endings, and All the Words In Between”. Michael’s the author of several books, including the newly released essay collection, Brooding. In addition, he’s also the author of several beloved books, including Four for a Quarter, Fort Wayne Is Seventh on Hitler’s List, Racing in Place, and Michael Martone (no, that’s not a typo). Read on for 5 great reasons to sign up for his writers retreat today.
1.) The Importance of the Parts
The workshop model often attempts to tackle a piece of writing “in total.” What’s working, what’s not, etc., etc. But in Michael’s summer retreat, participants will focus on the various parts of a piece of prose. As the title suggests: beginnings, endings, and all the words in between. It’s a unique approach sure to get writers thinking more critically about the various part of their work to ensure the improvement of the work at-large.
2.) The Beloved Writing Teacher
Few writing teachers in America are as beloved as Michael Martone. Perhaps the best way to describe Michael’s commitment to his students is to speak about his unique way of staying in touch. For years, Michael has sent thousands of postcards to former students and friends. He stresses the importance of maintaining connections, and of making new friends along the way. Sign-up! There might be a postcard in it for ya!
3.) Process > Product
In the classroom, Michael stresses the importance of the writing process over the writing product. In short, if one’s writing process is attempted with enough repetition, eventually the product will come. It’s a philosophy that, for decades, has made writers feel more comfortable with their words. Like anything, writing is a practice. And like everything, it becomes easier with time.
4.) Special guest B.J. Hollars
Full disclosure: B.J. Hollars may (or may not?) be the one writing these words. And so, it’s rather presumptuous (well, no “rather” about it, really) for him to hype himself in an effort to further hype Michael Martone. To try to steer clear of that particular can of worms, he’ll just say this: B.J. Hollars studied under Michael Martone while receiving his MFA at the University of Alabama. Under Michael's tutelage, Hollars learned the importance of experimenting. From the hermit crab essay to writing in the third person (this paragraph’s a good example…), Hollars’ writing grew dramatically during his time working with Michael. Michael served as Hollars' thesis advisor as well, and provided vital guidance in what would become Hollars’ first book, Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America. And he's continued to be a major supporter and inspiration for every word since. Suffice it to say: Hollars looks very forward to the reunion. Click here for a story on Michael and B.J.'s somewhat awkward first meeting.
5.) One word: food.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve heard this one before. But trust us, food is vital at a writers retreat. If you’ve got good grub, you’ve got good writing fuel. This summer, we’re proud to welcome chefs Michelle Thiede and Kristen Dexter, co-owners of FORAGE, to the Cirenaica team. They’re bringing their cooking skills out to the lodge to ensure that we’re all always well fed. From chilled corn soup to pepper crusted tenderloin, there’s something for every taste bud. Click here for the full menu.
The deadline is May 1! Submit your application this minute by clicking here!