Noepe Center for Literary Arts is hitting the road and heading to Islanders Write on Monday, August 7. Justen Ahren, founder and director of the Edgartown-based retreat for writers, will be leading three workshops on cultivating a daily writing practice. The workshops will take place downstairs at the Grange Hall at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 3 pm. In advance of the workshops, The MV Times had a few questions for Mr. Ahren.
What is Noepe Center for Literary Arts?
Noepe exists to provide writers of all genres and levels of experience with time and space to create. It also helps inspire and educate writers through community readings, talks, and craft workshops.
Can you tell us about the workshops you will be running at Islanders Write?
The workshops are designed to help writers cultivate a daily writing practice. I call it “Devotion to Writing,” and I employ concepts such as gratitude, surrender, and supplication as aids which help us break the silence of the page so we can write what we need to write.
Why do you believe a daily writing practice is important?
Writing is a healing art as well as a creative art. When we engage in a daily practice, we signal to the universe, the divine, the Muses, whatever you prefer to call the creative powers that artists summon, that you are ready, that you are prepared. When we are ready and present every day, the creative begins to move through us. It is difficult to be a vessel for that flow when you show up sporadically, halfheartedly, or only when you feel like it. Writing, true art, requires a commitment.
How long does each workshop run?
Is there anything people need to do to prepare for it?
Just bring something to write with or write on.
How do you sign up for it?
There will be a sign-up sheet at the Noepe table, downstairs in the hall.
What’s the most important piece of advice you have for aspiring writers?
Write. And read. But, mostly, write. Writing is a practice, like martial arts or yoga. It seems to me, to write deeply and creatively, you must practice.
Can you tell us more about the workshops offered at Noepe over the summer?
During the summer, Noepe offers weeklong workshops in every genre — children’s book writing, memoir, fiction, poetry, general creative writing — with a faculty of acclaimed published writers.
If someone wants to apply for a residency at Noepe, how should they do that?
You can apply online at noepecenter.org. All of our workshops are listed there, as well as a weeklong workshop I will be leading in Orvieto, Italy, in November on “Devotion: Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice.“
For a complete schedule of Islanders Write events, visit islanderswrite.com.