who are you when no one is looking?
what would you make?
with your off-line life.
cultivate a private space away from public view.
a timeless practice
contemplative writing will help you find what exists most deeply inside of you & illuminate essential forms of self-knowledge, creativity and thought.
a clearer sense of who you are
& what you care about right now.
your secret life
is a source.
go there to conceive your idea or project
& I’ll provide a path forward.
move away from the crowd
each Wednesday for 4 weeks, I’ll email you a lesson that contains a brief reading (including selections from Audre Lorde, Terry Tempest Williams, Anne Truitt & Kathleen Dean Moore), reflective writing suggestions, personal worksheets, & practical guidance for cultivating a more integrated & artful life.
I’ll encourage you to uncover something hidden but important, & align your lifestyle to give this idea, project or endeavor more space & attention in the following months.
at the end of 4 weeks, you may schedule a private 45 minute creative mentoring session … to nudge your vision into concrete form, because ideas need allies, and what we articulate has a better chance of becoming real in the world.
thoughtful notes will be shared with you following our session.
for one month, make a pact with yourself to clear a quiet space as part of a larger mission to reclaim territories of life & experience that might remain dormant or neglected otherwise. abstaining from social media is a powerful way to achieve more time and space for this, but I will offer other ideas as well, so you can decide what to do to make room for your secret life.
engage with brief readings, worksheets & writing provocations each week, which will arrive in your inbox on Wednesday mornings.
commit to conceiving a small or large project to be manifested within the coming year.
benefit from a private 45-minute dialogue with me at the end of the 4 week session.
“I have taken several of Holly’s classes and workshops over the last ten years and she has helped me to discover not just my authentic and readable writing style, but more importantly, my authentic self. She has taught me, a weathered fifty-something father of five, new ways to read and write and be. Over the years I surrendered to the treacheries of social media and the internet and lost my connection to my library and writing tablets, as well as my habit of morning walks on the beaches of Lake Michigan. Holly magically restored these connections. She possesses a remarkable gift in that she teaches her students not just how to read and write, but how to live.” —Michael Sutherland
q & a
Are there any prerequisites for participation in this course?
A willingness to create space & engage with the material is all that is asked. Participants will be encouraged to set strong boundaries around social media and other online activity as a powerful way to preserve a sense of creative retreat. You will receive the most benefit from this experience by setting aside 2-4 hours each week to read, write, walk, and contemplate your project.
How will the lessons arrive?
I will send you four lessons, early on Wednesday mornings, beginning on the first day of the course. I suggest you print the materials and work with them away from your screen.
What if I have to use social media as part of my job, but still want to take this course with you?
Even a small scale digital detox has a way of freeing us from the public gaze and the myriad distractions and disturbances that arise in online spaces. Mindful use of our technology helps us to gather our thoughts and embark on a process in a safe way. For those who feel they have little or no time in which to do creative work, replacing something of less value, with something of more value, can spark a revolution in one’s relation to time.
If you decide you want to take this course, I will offer a variety of strategies for guarding your attention and emboldening your creative vision. Stepping away from social media is only one way to experiment with this idea.
What if I have questions along the way?
This course is conceived as an independent study, & provides guidance within each lesson so that you can do the work on your own, in your own time. Those wishing to book their mentoring session before the end of the course are welcome to do so. You can arrange this with me via email.
What happens during our mentoring dialogue?
Toward the end of the course I’ll invite you to make an appointment to speak with me via phone following the fourth lesson. You’ll talk about your idea or project & I’ll listen and share feedback and suggestions for how to move the process foreword. Think of me as your very own creative consultant & co-conspirator. I’ve produced many projects, performances & creative experiences over the years, so I’m happy to be a sounding board, & offer my expertise & resources to you. You’ll also receive thoughtful notes from our call.