A Writing Retreat
with Dennis Patrick Slattery | August 29–31, 2014
Perhaps each of us is an amalgam of several inflections: a life lived, a life remembered, and a life storied. In this trinity, memory mingles with myth in a way that the ancient Greeks called mimesis. By that they meant that imitation is something all human beings love to engage and enact, from an infant’s delight in the repetition of a simple game, to our own imagination being moved to insight by a classic work of literature, art, music or another’s narrative. Might imitation be at the heart of our myth-making impulse so, as literary theorist Louise Cowan, has written, we poetically transform the past into memory. We might think about writing as an intimate and forceful mode of remembering what we had not sufficiently shaped into a coherent form so that our lives in their entirety continue to desire both coherence and meaning.
In this writing retreat we will draw on our own re-membered life events and give them a form, in some instances for the first time, primarily through writing, but also through body movement and painting images, as well as responding to and writing poetry. In addition, we will explore brief passages from the first person narratives of discovery, Dante’s Divine Comedy and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, to test how mimesis offers us an inroad to understanding on a profound level what has not been sculpted into coherence before.
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By offering the soul various venues in which to imagine, we will both discover and create further structures of our narrative identity and its patterned presence within the larger collective myth that surrounds us. We will also explore those moments in our lives that have remained to date unlived and where we have refused the call to adventure, said “no” to life, preferred to be “called later” to its invitations and chosen to forget what may now be insisting on being re-membered.
Please leave your laptop at home and bring your journal and pen to write in cursive. Some of the writing meditations will be used from the book, Riting Myth, Mythic Writing: Plotting Your Personal Story by Dennis Patrick Slattery. Others will emerge from the two classics mentioned above as well as the stories embedded in our bodies that body movement will allow to have full expression. What will emerge in this retreat is a greater awareness of each of our own narrative truths.
Friday, August 29
7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Saturday, August 30
9:00 am-5:00 pm
Sunday, August 31
9:00 am-12:00 pm
Workshop will be held at Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus.
Accommodations are available on campus and at the Best Western Carpinteria Inn.
$380 General Admission
$330 Special Admission
Full-Time Students, Pacifica Alumni, and Seniors
$300 Active Pacifica Students
Meals included Friday dinner; Saturdaybreakfast, lunch, and dinner; and Sundaybreakfast and lunch; extra meals available are Friday breakfast ($13) and lunch ($19).
Attend the Friday, August 29 Pacifica Experience: A One-Day Introduction to Pacifica’s Degree Programs and admission is reduced to $190.
Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D., is core faculty in the Mythological Studies Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where he has taught for 18 years. He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 19 published volumes, including four volumes of poetry. His poems have appeared in newspapers, magazines, journals and online publications in the United States and elsewhere. His most recent book is Riting Myth, Mythic Writing: Plotting Your Personal Story. For more information, visit dennispslattery.com.