Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Writing Retreat & other Spring Cheer!

Phew, I've been a wee bit absent from the blog of late, because I'm busy reading theses and research papers, getting ready for the end of spring semester.

But I'm back! I teach a course called the Creative Life to college students. Since the students are artists, they're writing really interesting papers about painters like Rothko, Basquiat, Pollock, Frankenthaler; and writers like DeLillo, Denis Johnson, Kafka, Vonnegut. It dovetails nicely with what I'm working on now--more of Sienna's artistic journeys. It's been fun writing about bad boy art star, Casper Mason and his new intern, Sienna for Book Two of my New Adult series, Private Internship. Have you heard of these creative heads?
Helen Frankenthaler and
her fabulous paintings

Jean-Michel Basquiat & his work

A young Joan Mitchell
in her studio
Denis Johnson, author of
the acclaimed, Jesus' Son

The little stream at Rosement

I also teach creative writing workshops. In fact, I'm teaching at a weeklong writing retreat in June, and I'll focus on writing new adult and young adult fiction! The retreat is at Rosemont College, which is in Bryn Mawr, PA, so it's easy to get to for anyone around the Philadelphia/Jersey/Norristown area. The dates are June 20 to 27. Come chill under the summer trees, meet other writers and workshop your manuscript. It can be for college credit, or for your own edification.

I've taught writing workshops at The New School in NYC, Push to Publish, The Philadelphia Writing Conference and at Missouri U's Summer Abroad Program.
Here are the Rosemont retreat links, the workshops, the faculty bios. To register!

I'll leave you with a few amazing quotes from some inspiring writers and artists. It's fun to think about how these might inform your own work.

“It takes close attention to see what is happening in front of you. It takes work, pious effort, to see what you are looking at.” -Don DeLillo, Point Omega

"Stories have no point if they don't absorb our terror."  -Don Delillo, Mao II

"I don’t want your candor. I want your soul in a silver thimble."  -Don Delillo, Valparaiso

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us."  -Franz Kafka

"Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly."  -Franz Kafka

“What’s the point of being alive if you’re not going to communicate?”  -Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard

"This wasn't the sea of the inexorable horizon and smashing waves, not the sea of distance and violence, but the sea of the eternally leveling patience and wetness of water. Whether it comes to you in a storm or in a cup, it owns you--we are more water than dust. It is our origin and our destination."  -Denis Johnson

"I’ve gone looking for that feeling everywhere."  -Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son

"You are right in demanding that an artist approach his work consciously, but you are confusing two concepts: the solution of a problem and the correct formulation of a problem. Only the second is required of the artist."   -Anton Chekhov

"I am only interested in the ideas that become obsessive and make me feel uneasy. The ideas that I'm afraid of."  -Marina Abramovic

"The strangeness will wear off and I think we will discover the deeper meanings in modern art."  -Jackson Pollock

“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.”  -Helen Frankenthaler


  1. That's cool you are qualified to teach those courses and inspire other artists and writers.

  2. Good luck and have fun at the workshops! Love those quotes!

  3. Those quotes are great! I kept reading the next one thinking "no, this one is my favorite!"...until I read the next :) Wish I lived closer--your retreat sounds amazing! And three cheers to this semester almost being over!

  4. Thanks, yes, I love teaching but I am ready for summer for extra writing time and family time. And I am looking forward to teaching the writing retreat. Rosemont is a gorgeous location.

  5. Ooh, how fantastic Catherine! Wish I could attend as so close to me. But I am gone both weekends then and into the week as I have a writing retreat in Upstate NY and then come back just in time for the SCBWI Princeton conf. Have a wonderful time!

  6. Donna, thanks for spreading word about the retreat via twitter & FB! The Priceton conference sounds fun.

  7. Interesting that some of these greats are absorbed by terror. For me, art is exactly the opposite.

    Fantastic post, Cat.

  8. Sounds like a fun workshop you've got in the works. :)

  9. How awesome! A few years ago we lived close enough I could have trekked down for the workshop, and gladly.

    I love artists who really create their own niche (writing or visual arts).

  10. Sounds awesome! Love that picture for Rosemont. So pretty.

  11. Suze, so writing dispels your terror? I think that's what he meant. Christine, yes, I'm looking forward to my week there-it is a very peaceful and pretty campus.