The Writing Marathon Mothership.
That’s what I’m calling the event I was honored to attend as a guest panelist in July of 2014, the official title of which was “Finding Your Muse in New Orleans.” Billed as “a writing retreat featuring Kim Stafford and the New Orleans Writing Marathon Experience” and hosted by the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project, it was the fullest expression to date of what we know as the “the writing marathon” as it has been practiced in National Writing Project Sites and affiliated groups since 1994.
It was amazing. So amazing and so intense that it’s taken me forever to blog about it. For now, however, the most important thing all marathon fans need know is that the Writing Marathon Mothership is landing again in New Orleans this summer, July 13-17, and that registration is opening soon at writingmarathon.com. This is the new home for writing marathon resources of all kinds, including links to books, articles, radio programs, teacher handouts, and more.
I’m going to devote several upcoming blog posts to capturing my experience last year, but I wanted this post to promote the event this summer along side several exciting publications that emerged from it:
Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies has recently published a Roundtable looking at writing marathons from four different perspectives:
- Richard Louth’s “The New Orleans Writing Marathon and the Writing World” tells the story of how the New Orleans Writing Marathon evolved and discusses why it has been such a powerful force in so many teacher-writers’ lives.
- Kelly Lock-McMillen’s “Journey to the Center of a Writer’s Block” shares her personal journey of finding her muse at the New Orleans Writing Marathon Retreat and rekindling her passion for writing and teaching writing.
- Jeff Grinvalds’ “Bringing It Back Home: The NOWM in My Classroom” describes his technique for inviting creative writing students to thrive on a writing marathon even when it must be contained within the walls of their high school.
- My own piece, “Finding My Nonfiction Pedagogy Muse at the NOWM,” examines how writing marathons function as meta-muses in nonfiction pedagogy, helping writers practice the techniques that bring forth their own muses.
KSLU, the award-winning radio station at Southeastern Louisiana University, recently broadcast “Finding Your Muse in New Orleans,” a lively and well-produced program featuring readings from the evening open mic sessions from the New Orleans Writing Marathon Retreat:
Louisiana Literature has just published a diverse range of works by many of the writers who attended the NOWM Retreat, collected in the essay “Finding Your Muse in New Orleans” by Richard Louth.
Look for upcoming posts showcasing writing, highlights, and photos from each day of the Retreat!
P.S. I’m also thrilled that my vignette “On the New Orleans Writing Marathon,” based on my experience at the New Orleans Writing Marathon at the 2010 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, was recently published in College Composition and Communication 66.2.