March 11th, 2009 5:33 pm | by Adrienne So News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Writers Can't Be Dead Inside: Take a Workshop at Ibex Studios

Tags: Outdoors

Hellooooo! We live here, everyone! If looking at the Gorge on a sunny morning isn't enough to wake up your inner poet, what is?

Becca Deysach of the new local venture Ibex Studios is willing to work with you to find out. Portland's only adventure-based writing workshop is designed to wake up your inner Ernest Hemingway or Pam Houston—that inner hedonist who tastes strawberries, goes hiking and loves life.

Why would you take this workshop when you are perfectly capable of eating, hiking and writing on your own? On Monday night, I decided to find out by sitting in—for free, on behalf of WW—on one of her other workshops, "Writing Our Bellies Full." Deysach had prepared hot tea for all the workshop participants before they arrived, which in and of itself was an improvement on other writing workshops that I'd attended in college.

Over the course of two hours, Deysach led the workshop in a series of prompts based around taste and sensation. We investigated mystery edibles without using our sense of sight, and a cruel joke was played on me when, blind, I bit into an avocado pit. Snacks were served after the first hour, after which we worked on more prompts based on the sensory experience of eating fresh guacamole. I had never paid so much attention to guacamole before. Previous guacamole consumption experiences were limited strictly to before, during and after basketball games.

All in all, this was one of the better workshops I had taken. The food lent the workshop a much more informal, casual atmosphere, as if we'd all driven over to hang out and miraculously found ourselves creating instead. Eating—like hiking, I imagine—is also an intensely personal experience, which led to greater openness in the work shared. Try it. Invite someone over and ask them about their mother, then give them a beer and try again.

Writing is largely a solipsistic experience. Also, since it's work for some of us, there is a tendency to turn your writer's brain off when living the other, oh, 40-percent of your life. I have never brought a notebook hiking or snowboarding, because it would be taking up the space where my Snickers bars should go. Also, I try not to be that much of a pretentious jerk in real life (online is another matter).

But integrating sensory experiences in the writing process definitely lets you out of the cage that is your head. Every writing workshop should be as informal (and delicious) as this one.

For more information, check or contact Becca Deysach, or 227-0305. The Grand Opening Special offers 20 percent off all workshops until March 15.
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