Volume 14
An Online Literary Magazine
January 30, 2020


The Transformative Power of Story


Nick O’Connell


Nick O'Connell.


ver the years, I’ve taught many outstanding students. I often wonder what brings them to my classes at The Writer’s Workshop. For some, writing is a passion that was left behind for another career or starting a family. For others, writing serves as kind of therapy, helping make sense of a wound, a humiliation, or an incandescent joy. While writing can serve as a form of therapy, it ultimately must do more than that. It should clarify your experience and make it comprehensible to others.


Art objectifies emotion. Storytelling allows you to order your experience to share it with others. The original experience provides the fuel while the writing and rewriting objectifies the experience, burning away the mundane and transforming it into something hard, refined, and beautiful, dross alchemized into a gleaming golden nugget.


The stories in the new 14th issue of The Writer’s Workshop Review demonstrate this transformation: Shelley Blanton-Stroud’s “Burnt Offering” explores the tragedy of the California wildfires and the strange blooms resulting from them; Paul Hostovsky’s “Only One Ona” stars Ona Kim Stewart, who navigates the streets of Boston sans sight or hearing, but with gumption aplenty; Beth Escott Newcomer’s “The Hawks are in Love” uncovers the surprising epiphanies that take place in the most unexpected circumstances; Susan Pope’s “The Thin Crust” unveils the awe, wonder, and danger of encountering Pele, a volcano goddess of Kilauea; an excerpt from Brock Clarke’s picaresque novel, Who Are You Calvin Bledsoe?, tells the story of a blogger for the pellet stove industry trying to turn his life around; and, finally, an excerpt from my book, Crush: An Apprenticeship in the Crazy, Wild World of the Wine Trade, reveals the powerful influence of place on the signature wines of Napa’s Opus One.


I'd like to thank the following people for their help with this issue: all the writers who contributed, Managing Editor Kathleen Glassburn for keeping things on track, and Irene Wanner for careful reading and editing of manuscripts. We’re looking for an additional reader, so please let us know if you’re interested. It’s a great opportunity to learn about contemporary literature.


We hope you enjoy the 14th issue of The Writer's Workshop Review. Please let us know what you think, and if you have a story that might work for us, please send it. We read all year and welcome submissions at any time. We look forward to hearing from you!



All best,

Nicholas O’Connell

Publisher/ Editor

The Writer’s Workshop Review




Nicholas O’Connell, M.F.A, Ph.D., is the author of The Storms of Denali (University of Alaska Press, 2012), On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature (U.W. Press, 2003), At the Field’s End: Interviews with 22 Pacific Northwest Writers (U.W. Press, 1998), Contemporary Ecofiction (Charles Scribner’s, 1996) and Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers (Mountaineers, 1993). He contributes to Newsweek, Gourmet, Saveur, Outside, GO, National Geographic Adventure, Condé Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sierra, The Wine Spectator, Commonweal, Image, Rock + Ice and many other places. He is the publisher/editor of The Writer’s Workshop Review and the founder of the online and Seattle-based writing program,( http://www.thewritersworkshop.net)


The Travel Writing Class takes places in beautiful La Rioja, Spain.


RAVEL WRITING CLASS IN LA RIOJA (May 17-23) – Travel writing, Food writing and Wine writing are some of the most appealing genres of nonfiction, calling on all of an author’s skills—dramatic scenes, character sketches, concrete detail, point of view, scene by scene construction—to compose compelling, engaging travel narratives. This six-day intensive class will introduce you to essential techniques of travel, food and wine writing and give you expert, insider advice about how to submit and publish finished travel stories.


In addition to learning these skills, you’ll dine at outstanding restaurants, visit some of the world’s best wineries, and explore fascinating historic sights during the travel writing classes. You’ll enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes tours unavailable to the general public. Best of all, you’ll receive up-to-date story ideas from local industry experts that you can turn into finished travel, food and wine stories by the end of the class and submit to newspapers and magazines for publication. And now, I will personally edit and recommend your stories to a well-known food and beverage magazine for likely publication.


The one week travel writing class will take place in La Rioja, Spain’s premier wine region, a land of astonishing beauty and rich geographic diversity, producing some of the finest wines in the world. Mountains to the north and south protect it from cold and wind, creating an ideal micro climate for growing grapes, figs, pears, highly-prized white asparagus as well as pasturing cattle and sheep that make for delicious carne asada and succulent roast lamb.


The cost will be $2600 per person, including accommodations and most meals. (Single supplement, $500 per person) Plane fare, transit to and from La Rioja and some meals extra.


The one week travel writing class will take place in Haro, a lovely wine town in the Rioja region of northern Spain and a center of the region’s cultural and epicurean life since before Roman times. , and a center of the region's cultural and epicurean life since Roman times. The cost will be $2,600 per person, including accommodations and most meals. (single supplement, $500 per person). Plane fare, transit to and from Vaison la Romaine and some meals extra (see itinerary below).


To enroll, please send me a non-refundable deposit of $800 to 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or you can pay with a credit card via the Paypal link of my website. The balance for the class will be due April 1st. After that date, there will be no refunds except in the case of medical emergency. Enrollment is limited to 10.


For more information, contact me at nick@thewritersworkshop.net, 206-284-7121, or take a look at my website: http://www.thewritersworkshop.net/travel.htm.







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