Brave Writer Staff Retreat 2016!
First Brave Writer Staff Face-to-Face
by Nancy Graham
California, Kentucky, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. (One day we may be as international as our students…)
Julie said, “I feel like I’m giving myself the biggest present!” Can you imagine building a company of more than 20 people over a period of 15 years and finally seeing everybody in one room all at once? What a party!
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There was a goody bag for each teacher with treats that included the highly recommended book Vernacular Eloquence by Peter Elbow (affiliate link) and a necklace that reads “live honestly write bravely.”
After Julie told us the story of how Brave Writer evolved from its beginnings as a workshop in 1997, we got down to the business of talking about what we do and how we can do it better. We also shared bits of writing we brought in from our classes. Of course that was a highlight—we laughed, we cried, and we clapped hands for all the Brave Writers that make this work so rich and inspiring for all of us.
One of our top priorities in the coming year is figuring out the best way to share more of this writing more widely. It’s too good to keep to ourselves! We also started a list of alternatives to the word “teacher” in hopes of arriving at a better name for our role in the life of the writers in our program. We’ll be sharing those, too.
A few things you would have learned about Brave Writer teachers if you’d been a butterfly outside the window: Susanne writes with a quill and a pot of ink, Alicia is one of three Brave Writer teachers to have lived in Morocco, Angela runs a family alfalfa business on the side, Lora mothers seven kids, Deb knows a hilarious trick for responding to someone who wants to know how you feel, Sarah plays the oboe, Jean can scope out the best pajamas, Lucy has a daughter in Madagascar, Kirsten Periscopes with her daughter Olivia, Jen’s smile could light a city, Joy’s hair could light another, Nikki loves life in Portland, Karen has written more than 80 books, and Nancy dances like a mighty goofball.
You should also know that our head of operations, Cindy Clark, never stops smiling or asking others what she can do for them, that our brand strategist Tia Levings is willing to get scratched up in the bushes for a good photo, and that our social media wonk, Jeannette Hall, wears kitty slippers and bunny ears when the mood strikes.
We did a whole lot of planning, too, putting our noggins to work on new courses and publications and—well, you’ll just have to wait!
You get the idea: three days of ideaphoria, celebration, bighearted conversation, silliness, poetry teatime, dishrag dancing, and chatty noshing.
Sounds like home, right?