WRITING WITH NATURE
FEBRUARY 16 - 23, 2020
Join Sarah for a week of deep writing in a master class for writers of all genres.
Learn how wilderness, deep ecology, permaculture, and exploring the natural world can inspire and bring courage to your writing process. You will learn how to connect to a vast source of wonder and inspiration, and feel supported by the sophisticated natural systems that surround you every day.
During this week of writing, we will be diving deep into our work as writers as we reconnect to the wordless, natural world, and practice new ways to creatively participate in the intelligence of nature.
Bring whatever you are working on to this retreat. If you’re stalling or circling around writing something new, this is the perfect time and place to start it. You can also bring a craft question or a writing problem that feels unsolvable, and we will look at it together.
*Note: you will be writing with nature, not necessarily about nature — though nature writers are welcome.
ABOUT THE RETREAT
In the morning, you step out of your room with a view of the gardens, and walk the tree lined path up to the yoga barn to invigorate your body in a morning movement class. After breakfast you'll have a few hours to write before we meet in the studio for our late morning workshop session.
The afternoon is free for you to write, go for a long walk, or read and research before we gather for one of the optional workshops, lessons, and events designed to take you deeper into nature.
You take time to rest and reflect on what you’ve learned before it’s time to gather again — for a delicious organic plant based feast that includes items you’ve foraged from the garden yourself. At dinner, you and your fellow writers celebrate another day of deep writing .
Then we all settle into the Hall for our evening salon, to share some of our work and discuss the insights of the day.
Springfield Farm is situated on the traditional lands of the Dharawal people, and is only five minutes drive from Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park. The energy here makes it excellent for writers who want to get out of their own way, and feel the ease of creative flow and wonder.
Writing can create connection — to ourselves, to the earth, and to each other. Good writing does not alienate or isolate; good stories never make us feel silenced. In our writing, we may question the status quo, offer meaningful reflection, create cultural change, and feel less alone.
PRAISE FOR SARAH SELECKY
AND RADIANT SHIMMERING LIGHT
‘In Radiant Shimmering Light, @SarahSeleckyWS nails the Perfect-Yourself 35-43 gen in all of its hopeful internet-brand-conscious pyramid-scheming empowering goddessiness. Social satire + cultural insight whipped into a yummy froth! You’ll laugh + shed a tiny precious tear, my petals!’
‘Our online world provides endless humorous possibility and here is a book that’s witty, timely, and smart with regard to social media. But then, quite wonderfully, Selecky’s story turns more complicated than it first appeared. Bursting with energy and color, every page delights and provokes. This book is a dazzler.’
Karen Joy Fowler
‘Sarah Selecky could easily be the next Alice Munro.’
‘The human desire to belong is at the heart of Sarah Selecky’s radiant, shimmering novel. In the person of Lilian Quick, Selecky has created an irresistible heroine. She has once again proven that she is a writer perfectly attuned to the music of the present moment.’
Barbara Gowdy, author of Little Sister
‘Radiant Shimmering Light is inventive and modern. Sarah Selecky delivers a cast of characters who are both recognizable and utterly unique inthis novel that is as luminous as its title.’
Marissa Stapley, author of Things To Do When It's Raining
‘Fresh and original, Sarah Selecky’s novel cleverly satirizes our insta-world but also takes its characters seriously enough to give them an ending that’s moving and transcendent.’
Kerry Clare, author of Mitzi Bytes
‘Selecky has written a satirical and contemporary novel about the enlightenment and life-branding industries…An intriguing novel which will elicit a wide range of responses from readers. I can’t think of a more perfect novel for a book club.’
‘This meditative, funny, groovy, and absolutely beautiful book kept me entranced beginning to end. The intrigue and mystery of self-help movements shimmers throughout the narrative, and our narrator, so full of life, hearkens back to the plucky heroines of Jane Austen, but with a modern wit and vivacity all her own. I loved the rich, meaningful hours I spent with this book.’
Rebecca Lee, author of Bobcat and Other Stories
‘Selecky’s great strength is her tone…she sits quietly and observes, letting all that commodified spirituality satirise itself.’
‘A polished and crisp satire…a journey depicted with both humour and sharp reflection.’
Otago Daily Times
‘Selecky’s biting, tragicomic first novel is an insider look at the intersection between the sincerity of belief and the commodification of aspiration… [Her] deadpan tone, punchy writing, and vivid characters transport readers to a specific, highly diverting world that hits close to the bone and sparks the self-reflection it’s spoofing.’
‘Selecky’s sharp parody explores female friendship and questions the role of consumerism in women’s empowerment and self-improvement trends.’
Real Simple, Best Books of 2018
‘If you’ve ever fallen asleep during savasana in yoga class or gotten a headache from your essential-oil mix, Sarah Selecky’s hilarious debut novel about self-help gurus and the people who follow them is for you…There’s plenty of laughs—but lots of truth, too.’
‘Selecky bucks expectations in her satirical portrait of estranged cousins Lilian, an artist obsessed with social media and finding enlightenment, and Eleven, a guru behind the cultish organization called the Ascendancy…A radically gentle takedown of capitalist spiritualism…[Selecky] still finds plenty to make fun of in this ridiculous – yet frighteningly familiar – world.’
‘This sharp, smart read is a timely warning to put your devices down now.’
North and South
MEET THE AUTHOR
WHAT TO EXPECT
“Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?”
— Mary Oliver
On this retreat, we will write what we wish we could read, even if we’ve never seen it written before. Our writing will support us by bringing us closer to our true nature — alone and together.
Our retreat includes optional morning movement sessions, a nature hike with a local guide, workshops on the philosophies of Inner Landscaping and deep ecology, lessons in foraging and gardening, and artmaking with objects found in nature.
Connecting to the natural world will bring insight to our work in surprising ways.
Prepare to feel open and spacious as you tune into a different state of mind.
We’ll also take a break mid-week to refresh our systems. You can use your free time to enjoy the pool (weather permitting), treat yourself to a massage, visit one of the local villages, galleries or wineries, or simply sip a cappuccino, write postcards, and enjoy the gardens and views.
Writing is a solitary activity, but when we can truly connect to nature, we realize that we aren’t separate from it — therefore, we are never really alone. This is one of the many paradoxes of being a writer. While this may never be resolved, one of the best things we can do to support our writing is to give ourselves time and space to honour this mystery.
That’s why writing on retreat is so special. It initiates the altered state of mind that we’re in when we’re writing, and protects it for a prolonged period of time. That’s when the real magic happens.
6:00–11:00am: Personal writing time/free time
9:00–10:00am: Movement in the Yoga Barn
11:00am–12:30pm Writing craft sessions with Sarah, and
Workshops with Stuart Hill & Kinchem
2:00–6:00pm: Personal writing time/free time
4:00 - 5:30pm : Optional excursions ‘Deeper into Nature’
Bush walk with Naturalist
Gardening with Farmer Pete
Foraging with Jill
‘Making’ with objects found in nature with Penny
7:00–8:00pm: Salon and togetherness
$3,000 shared room, shared bathroom
$3,500 private room, shared bathroom
$3,900 private room with ensuite
Your retreat package includes:
° Writing instruction with author Sarah Selecky
° Gentle yoga and guided meditations
° 7 nights lodging
° Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
° Vegan and vegetarian options
° Transfer to and from the Bowral train station
° Excursion to Morton National Park
° Tour of Springfield grounds
° Beautiful classroom studio
° Concierge office staff
° On-site laundry
***Airfare & transport not included***
*Accommodation includes either a private or shared bedroom within the Hall, or Grass House, or a private room in the Farm House, and is allocated according to availability and your first preference at the time of booking. If you choose to share we’ll pair you with a like-minded roommate, or bring a friend!
*We have two private bedrooms with ensuite bath, if this is your preference please book early.