I’ve led many different writing camps or worked at an author-in-residence at several different schools, but this experience was unique for a number of reasons.
First of all, the retreat was limited to just a few students, so we could really work with them closely. Also, each of the students was a dedicated writer, with plenty of experience gained from past CWC workshops and programs. Finally, the location was a secluded hilltop residence, surrounded by lush forests and an abundance of nature. This gave us plenty of opportunity to explore the world around us.
For the theme of the camp, we decided to get each of the students to research traditional Korean folktales and then retell them in their own voices.
Personally, I really loved the abundance of nature we found at the camp. The forest trails were teeming with all sorts of creatures.
One afternoon, I was walking with two of the students through the misty and dewy landscape, when a golden deer bounded out in front of us! That felt like particularly good fortune because one of my students, Yujin, was writing a tale that involved a deer who delivers a message to a woodsman. We didn’t get a picture of that deer, but that moment certainly stuck with Yujin.
I did get many pictures of the rest of that walk:
On a subsequent walk, I found a giant hammerhead worm wriggling across my path. I had never seen one in real life before! Apparently, it’s a predatory worm, subsisting off of other worms. This particular specimen looked well-fed, if you ask me.
Finally, here are a few photos from yet another walk. On this path, we found many tiny bronze-colored frogs leaping out of our way!
Here are some of the snapshots of the students’ work in progress . . . in addition to retelling the folktales, the students also produced accompanying illustrations.
It was a very successful retreat! In a future post, I’ll post some of the photos from our day trip!