Chance, Synchronicity &

An Online Writing Workshop, led by Bill Scheffel



Through this online workshop be a part of a creative and supportive writing community. Receive bi-weekly writing experiments to jump-start your writing process. Look at the work of known and unknown writers in order to see the art and craft of writing at work. Share your work with other writers and experience the intimate connections that happen in creative writing workshops. This class is open to anyone who wants to write and to all forms of writing. No previous creative writing experience is required.

This is an ongoing community and new members may enter at the beginning of each month. Cost is $100/month, payable through PayPal or by check. See the evolving Table of Contents for the class.

This online course will create community. We will post and read each other's writing bi-weekly and comment online, giving each person a chance to receive response to their work, both from myself and the other members of the class. Our comments are not to conventionally "workshop" the writing, but rather to encourage each other's creative potential, and to to learn the nature of the path each writer is on. In this way we will become informed allies, a community of people who write. Twice a month we will have an ninety-minute live video chat (using a program called Zoom) where we can share work and talk about our creative journey.

Workshop Format:






Writing as a Path

Writing is a path with spiritual dimensions in that it is an engagement with consciousness itself and a tool for becoming genuine. We follow a path of becoming more authentic, both in terms of discovering our true subject matter and our own voice - our "voice" is the expression of our own consciousness, the innate grammar and diction that is inside us, like a weather pattern. It is this two-fold sensitivity that makes us part of the modern tradition, a tradition of discovery. As the poet Octavio Paz put it about his own search:

"I found no grail. But I did discover the modern tradition. Because aOctavioPazmodernity is not a poetic school but a lineage, a family dispersed over several continents and which for two centuries has survived many sudden changes and misfortunes: public indifference, isolation, and tribunals in the name of religious, political, academic and sexual orthodoxy. Being a tradition and not a doctrine, it has been able to persist and to change at the same time. This is also why it is so diverse. Each poetic adventure is distinct, and each poet has sown a different plant in the miraculous forest of speaking trees. Yet if the poems are different and each path distinct, what is it that unites these poets? Not an aesthetic but a search." - Octavio Paz

Examples of Writing Experiments

An always great experiment is to write about an environment, in particular one's own house or room. This gets one out of ones head, out of abstractions, theories and opinions and into something tangible and unique. Ones own environment might seem dull, but once you let the process unfold the "real story" might surprise you. Plus, the writing is invariably interesting to read. Check this out for yourself in these examples. See examples...

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A work should include its environment, is always experimental (unknown in advance). - John Cage


What does Chance, Synchronicity and Mind-writing mean?

Chance is the courage to enter the unknown. Writing, as Gertrude Stein said, is not a result but a discovery. Whenever we write we put our sincerity on the line and face the unknown.

Synchronicity refers to the uncanny ways that meaning occurs in writing. School seldom if ever helps us bring synchronicity into our writing, and yet it is one of the easiest qualities to become evident. One way of doing this is to find an accidental trigger-point or cliff to drop from. This workshop offers weekly methods for doing this.

Mind-writing is a phrase Allen Ginsberg used in talking about the ground of writing. "Consciousness itself is shapely" or aesthetically pleasing. Mind, like nature, is fundamentally elegant and vivid writing is always the unique expression of our own particular spot of consciousness.

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Writing and Vertical Time?

Writing is akin to forms of meditation and other overtly spiritual practices in that through writing we inhabit the intersection of horizontal and vertical time. When our writing is merely horizontal, it is predictable, discursive and without the prongs that invite new discoveries. Vertical time happens under the perennial advice of just keep the hand moving and be specific. Then the luminosity flashes. As Jack Kerouac so instructively advised, "Don't think of words when you stop but to see picture better."

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Bill Scheffel is a graduate of Naropa University, where he received an MFA in Creative Writing in 1994. He taught his class Chance, Synchronicity and Mind-writing for ten years in the Boulder, Colorado community and throughout the U.S. Between 1997 and 2004, Bill also taught classes in creative non-fiction and poetry at Naropa University. Bill's own writing teachers have included Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and Diane di Prima, among many others.

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One does not find solitude, one creates it. Solitude is created alone. I have created it. Because I decided that here was where I should be alone, that I would be alone to write books. It happened this way. I was alone in this house. I shut myself in—of course, I was afraid. And then I began to love it. This house became the house of writing. My books come from this house. From this light as well, and from the garden. From the light reflecting off the pond. It has taken me twenty years to write what I just said. - Marguerite Duras



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