Monday, August 20, 2012

Literary Travel Writing Workshop on September 8th at the Writer's Center, Bethesda MD

Rainbow in Camp Denali, July 2012 (c) C.M. Mayo 2012
Take your travel writing to another level: the literary, which is to say, giving the reader the novelistic experience of actually traveling there with you. For both beginning and advanced writers, this workshop covers the techniques from fiction and poetry that you can apply to this specialized form of creative nonfiction for deliciously vivid effects. 

One day only, Sunday September 8 from 1 - 5 pm
The Writer's Center
4508 Walsh St
Bethesda MD (just outside Washington DC)

About the instructor:
C.M. Mayo is the author of the novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, which was named a Library Journal Best Book of 2009. She is also the author of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles Through Baja California, the Other Mexico, a travel memoir of Mexico's Baja Califorinia peninsula; and Sky over El Nido, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is the editor of a collection of Mexican literature in translation, Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion. For more about C.M. Mayo and her work, visit

>> For more information about this workshop and to register on-line click here.

We'll be looking at a variety of techniques, mainy from fiction and poetry, but one of the most basic for beginning a draft is simply noticing specific detail that appeals to the senses. From my notes from a recent journey to Alaska (you'll see it's not brain surgery):

Denali, of course. Spatulated lavender.
Other sights: 
receding moose; levering hind legs
polkadots of Dall sheep on green
3 blues of Wonder Lake

eeee  eeee eeee
gravel underfoot
freeway roar of distant river

wet moss
drying socks
hot chocolate

cloudberry (spit the pip!)
Hoof N Woof honey (flowers of a season ago)
cinnamon gummy bear 

unfriendly bear pelt
chocolatey-suave beaver pelt
sinking into spongy tundra mosses

Bright on the ground:
monk's hood; mushroom caps, sparkle of water

In the sky:
eagle; rainbow; moon

New to remember:
charismatic megafauna
braided river
Michio Hoshino's photographs and mini-essays

+ + + +

For further surfing:

>From the Workshop: Literary Travel Writing by C.M. Mayo, Writer's Carousel, Spring 2009

>Listen to my most recent Marfa Mondays podcast, "We Have Seen the Lights"

>Read some excerpts from my memoir, Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico. 

>Recommended travel memoirs.

> Questions about this workshop? Just ask!