As some of you know, for many years, I organized the annual Power of Words conference at Goddard College. While I loved (and lost sleep over) the joys and challenges involved, this year the TLA Network — in the capable hands of Scott Youmans and a wonderful council — is in charge of the conference. This year’s line-up for the conference, Sept. 3-7 at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT., includes:
- John Fox, author of Poetic Medicine
- Kayhan Irani, Theatre of the Oppressed and playback theater organizer, writer, and founder of a group that brings together art and activism, Artivista
- Lewis Mehl-Medrona, Native American author, physician, neo-shaman and author of Narrative Medicine and Coyote Medicine
- Dovie Thomason, Native American storyteller and author
- Terry Hauptman, writer and artist
- Sherry Reiter, poetry therapy pioneer, and founder of the Creative “Righting” Center
- Taina Asili, singer-songwriter, musician and writer
- Callid and Kristina Keefe-Perry, facilitators, writers and community leaders in the Quaker tradition
- Me! Doing the first launch for my memoir, The Sky Begins at Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community and Coming Home to the Body
There are also several dozen other artists, activists, writers, storytellers, community leaders, healers, educators and others presenting workshops and performances. Moreover, it’s a very different kind of animal than your usual conference — there are ways to integrate what you’re experiencing and share your own voice throughout the conference, including small talking circles of 7 people that meet each morning, an open mic, and lots of hands-on events. This conference isn’t just designed to share information, but to help participants co-create a sacred and transformative space together.
The conference features many expressive arts workshops — focusing on the role of the arts in changing the world — plus three tracks: Narrative Medicine (how the stories we tell about health and illness can affect us and our communities), Right Livelihood (making a living through what you love), and Social Change in TLA (using the language arts for community building and transformation).
In addition, I’m co-facilitating an all-day workshop with Patricia Fontaine on Thurs., Sept. 3 called “Writing Beauty Roadtrip: Reclaiming Our Truth and Beauty.” Our workshop starts at the college, then we drive to Stowe, Vt., where we visit Bingham Falls, a magnificent waterfall, and then we go to Smuggler’s Notch at the top of the mountain to explore before visiting the alpine slide for some outdoor tobaggoning down the mountain. We then retire to a beautiful outdoor and indoor space in Stowe for lunch, writing, yoga and celebration. At every place we visit, we write, share, and delight in the beauty all around us. When planning this, Patricia, an amazing writer and facilitator, and I looked toward various experiences that would immerse us in the creative spirit and be outrageous fun too.
Check it all out at the TLA Network site. Top two pictures of Goddard College; bottom two are Bingham Falls and alpine slide.