Keep it Clean.  I.E., Puns Welcome

Archives: Writing Retreats

The Kimbilio Interview

The Kimbilio Interview

Here’s a nice interview I did with Hope Wabuke for the Kimbilio website.  While you’re there, also check out the bios of our 2014 Fellows.  I can’t wait to meet them in person.

KCAAF: Where did you grow up?

David Haynes: I grew up outside of St. Louis, in a small community of working class black folks surrounded on all sides by working class white folks.

KCAAF: What was that like? How did it influence you?

David Haynes: Our little “pocket” community was stable and wonderfully nurturing. Same families in the same houses for half a century or more. It’s also true that that kind of insularity can also be stifling at times. This community will be the subject of the novella and stories I’m working on now.

KCAAF: Please tell us some of the books/writers you love.

David Haynes: I read widely and learn from everything I read. This past year, like much of the rest of the literary world, I’ve been celebrating Alice Munro. I’m a writer who thinks structurally, and Munro’s work continues to teach me to think rigorously about the importance of narrative design in storytelling.

Read the rest of the interview here:

Wild Fennel

Wild Fennel

So yesterday, as they were delivering a (not really) brand new couch (from the Habitat resale shop in Port Townsend)) to my studio, the delivery crew and I had a low-key debate about the monster plant growing in front of the cabin. We had two votes for dill, one for wild asparagus, another for random weeds.

Okay, I’ll confess: Wild asparagus was my guess. I actually have no idea what vegetables look like when they’re not in the produce aisle, and for most of those it’s a good thing they wear signs. Furthermore, I have been waiting for years for someone—anyone—to answer this question: Do Brussel Sprouts exist in the wild?

So I’m lounging on my “new” couch last night and reading away the long Pacific Northwest evening and I find myself choking on the scent of musky licorice and—Eureka!—I have an answer. Not to the sprouts thing; to the weeds outside the door.

Wild Fennel. A big giant overgrown bush of it. The picture above is archival. We trampled the bush down pretty bad yesterday as we dragged the couch through it—but no worries. It’ll spring back to life faster than you can say California Cuisine.

Working My Way Through This List

Screen Shot 2013-07-27 at 6.35.54 PM

Just attended the best literary event of my life, and, guess what?  It was my f@&%!^& event!  An evaluation from the world’s toughest critic reports that the inaugural Kimbilio retreat was a massive success.  Which is to say that no one is harder on himself than me, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.


The Centrum Offices

The Centrum Offices

I discovered retreat centers as a solution to the problem of how to get my writing done. I was teaching middle school, and while I sometimes had the energy to revise, I found it nearly impossible to generate new work after the long school day. So I got in the habit of disappearing to an art colony during breaks from teaching. I got a lot of work done this way, and continue to do so.

My first visit here to Centrum was in March of 1996. As a colony, it fits the “no program” mode, meaning that you’re given a place to live, but there’s no one around to make your meals or clean up after you. My little bungalow has a decently equipped kitchen, and there’s a Safeway over in town. You might meet your fellow artists—if they happen to emerge at the same time you do. Otherwise you’re on your own.

Fort Worden State Park, home of Centrum (and also of the wonderful Copper Canyon Press) is a decommissioned military base. If you’ve seen “An Officer and a Gentleman,” this is where it was filmed.

Below is the little bungalow where I am working this month. They’re called S.U.D.S cabins—because when the base was active, this is where the laundry workers lived. Yep, they can use a coat of paint, but they are quite comfortable inside.


Back, On Retreat

English: A black-tailed prairie dog at the Nat...

Keep the comma, lose the comma, move the comma: It works every way.

Swallowed by a tsunami of people and paper, sometime mid-March, something had to give, and that something, sadly, was this blog.  Sadly, I say, because I quite enjoy the daily discipline of writing, often enough the only attention my own process gets from one week to the next.  I retreated to my hole and dug in for the duration.

But I have emerged, dug myself out, and the good news: I’ve got a backlog of wonderful stories to tell.  Coming soon to a blog near you:

  • The Best Class Ever
  • How Not to Get Shot by the Secret Service
  • Kimbilio
  • Don’t Use the Pineapple Flavor Packet
  • The Quimper Peninsula Exposed

And Much, Much More

So, yes, I’m back, back on, and back on retreat.  Stay tuned.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: