When this scribe was doing his journalist-in-training duties by spending some college days typing out obituaries for an afternoon newspaper near Boston, an editor provided a piece of career advice: “You’ll be fine if you can write.” The nugget always struck me as prescient, given the newspaper industry’s immediate shift upon my graduation. (Witness: This was only 2005 or so, and things like afternoon newspapers and green reporters writing obits already seem like relics). But I think the real reason it stuck with me is the wider idea embedded within: that writing is more of a life skill that can be applied across disciplines that just so happens to be a career path for some people. Having seen many talented writers who have no formal training, I would also add that it’s a skill that’s within all of us that can be used to learn unexpected things. Bringing the writer out of everyone is an idea that’s embodied by a new writers’ workshop that formed in Baltimore earlier this year.
With the help of winnings from a pitch competition at the University of Baltimore, four writers founded Sounding Sea Writers Workshop in June. The founding team of Tracy Gold, Mia White, Justin Sanders and Jessica Welch are all connected by UB, where they are working on their MFA. In a recent interview, White told us that it was modeled off the Gotham City Writers’ Workshop, which offers creative writing classes for adults in New York. Sounding Sea is appealing to people who want to learn more about writing, but don’t necessarily want to go to grad school.
Named after the last line of Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee, Sounding Sea organizes 2.5 hour workshops that meet once a week for six weeks. Class sizes are capped on purpose.
“Our hope is our classes are going to be small enough that it doesn’t matter what level you’re at,” White said. “You’ll get something out of it regardless.”
The idea is to offer classes across genres, and connect with people interested in exploring writers from all walks of life. Sounding Sea held two classes over the summer. One was a memoir writing class with Two Baltimores chronicler D. Watkins. In a separate fiction course with former Simon and Schuster editor Kate Angelella, students workshopped two stories.
In the fall, Sounding Sea is offering a poetry course with Tracy Dimond, who won City Paper’s Best Chapbook in 2013. In the course, titled Poetry in the Modern World, students will write a poem each week.
“She’s really connected and she writes poetry that’s very accessible,” White said. “A lot of it has to do with pop culture. We thought she would appeal to people of different ages.”
Blooming poets can find more information about registering here.
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