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pen & paper :: a little about susan

liz lamoreux

a glimpse into Susan's workshop at the Fall 2010 Be Present Retreat

Today, my friend Jennifer Horsman is sharing a bit about how Susan Wooldridge inspires her. Susan is teaching at Pen & Paper with Kelly and me next month, and I thought you might want to know just a bit more about her. There are a few spots left and we hope you will join us!

Jennifer writes:

I first met Susan Wooldridge at a Be Present Retreat in Lake Bay, Washington in the fall of 2010 where she was a mentor. Her books Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words and Foolsgold: Making Something from Nothing and Freeing Your Creative Process had become favorites of mine; both copies highlighted, underlined, dog-eared and often reread. Susan was alive on the page, fully engaged in the world around her through each of her senses. 

Poemcrazy changed the way I thought about words. Words suddenly moved beyond their dictionary definitions and embodied their lyrical form. Words evoked emotion, memory and timespace. Words became playful and acrobatic. I began to see with fresh eyes and because of this I also began to write more.

To my delight I found that Susan in person was every bit as vivid and enticing as she had appeared on the page. Her excitement for poetry was palpable and infectious. Susan was generous with her time and convinced each of us, regardless of writing experience, of our ability to create poetry. She built an atmosphere filled with warmth, humor, encouragement and acceptance. Each exercise expanded our ideas about poetry and what we were capable of creating. We left the retreat with work we felt proud of and a desire to keep writing.

Susan is an alchemist. She is able to elicit unique magic in every student she encounters. She will return to Lake Bay at the Pen & Paper Retreat in March. I will be there and I'd really love to share this extraordinary experience with you as well. If any part of your heart leaps to recognition at the sound of the word writer you won't want to miss it!

"Poems arrive. They hide in feelings and images, in weeds and delivery vans, daring us to notice and give them form with our words. They take us to an invisible world where light and dark, inside and outside meet." 

- Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge (from Poemcrazy)



Susan's Pen & Paper workshop description:

In a safe, free setting, we will gather and surround ourselves with words that will be gateways to deeper knowing about who we are, where we come from and where we're going.  

In this workshop, we will forage in a field of words, cast nets and gather what we need to joyfully and safely express the depths of our hearts, souls, spirits. Sleepy orange trust, clock's breath, preach nibbles have all emerged from playful "wordpools" like the ones we'll create together. We will tinker!

We will also create small worlds of gatherings in boxes that reflect our connection to the natural world (as well as to the sparkly world of litter) and write odes to our gatherings and odes to our shadows (and odes to our shadow gatherings). From this we will spinoff and spinoff and spinoff!

Find out more about the Pen & Paper Retreat.


Jennifer Horsman lives along the California coast with her husband and greyhound in a small cottage filled with books, records and loose leaf tea.

She can be found at www.lovelyandimperfect.squarespace.com