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Alice Orr to Lead Workshop in June, near Saratoga

The following WomanWords E-Newsletter went out via e-mail just minutes ago, announcing details about a workshop by Alice Orr, hosted by WomanWords:

Members of the International Women’s Writing Guild, former members,
and women who have attended the IWWG “Remember the Magic” conference(s) in past years

Dear WriterSisters,

As most of you probably know, WomanWords exists today – 15 years after its first meeting in 1997 – because of the International Women’s Writing Guild. If I hadn’t attended my first two Remember the Magic conferences and wanted to create the same sort of safe, supportive, inspiring space in the Capital District/Saratoga area beyond one week each summer, it is unlikely that the countless number of WomanWords events planned and carried out over these many years would have happened at all. There is no question in my mind that the Magic carries on, here and all over the country and planet, in myriad ways.

If you’re on this WomanWords E-News distribution list (rather than having this e forwarded to you), then you also know that I’ve initiated a new blog, Legacy: Women’s Voices – Remembering the Magic, and its first post covers the Ritual of Love and Healing for IWWG held at Still Point on February 19, 2012. When I first mentioned that the blog was being designed, noting that the cancellation of this year’s summer conference would “leave a hole in our summer,” I promised to provide additional information about upcoming WomanWords events very soon. In particular, and earliest on the list of such events (thus first to get detailed, beginning with registrations), is a daylong workshop specifically for IWWG members, former members and those women who’ve attended prior Guild conferences – in other words, for the women who are grieving the loss of our annual SisterWriters-fix, our weeklong-writing-prompt, the largest support group for women writers one could ever imagine. And this event will feature longtime IWWG workshop leader, Alice Orr.

When Alice read about our February 19th Ritual of Love and Healing for IWWG, she wrote, “I wish I could be with you but in spirit will have to do. This sisterhood is so much a part of us… I would like to suggest something… a day-long workshop… for Guild sisters… The result would be a powerful outpouring of the glorious positive energy of our common experience… an intense and cathartic day for all of us… [to] focus the frenetic unease I feel coming from so many of us now into a force that might be harnessed to keep us connected at the heart whatever might happen in the future.”

In order to keep the price as low as possible for Guild Sisters (especially since some may desire to travel some distance to attend), Alice has donated her time and energy for this workshop so that costs might be kept to a minimum for participants. It is possible that some partial scholarships will be available to decrease the cost for IWWGers who otherwise could not attend, especially if distance traveled will require them to pay for an overnight. (Number of scholarships will depend upon attracting enough registrations to cover basic costs for producing the workshop, such as space rental, travel costs for Alice to Albany from NYC and return, etc.)

Alice is tailoring one of her popular workshops to our IWWG experiences. She says, “I would guide us all toward telling our Guild stories as a crucial component of our own real life stories. Our purpose would be to write down and share the specific gifts the Guild has given us.” In so doing, we can open ourselves to the whole of our lives. Even members who have not yet managed to get to a summer conference can experience the Magic at this event, because we are the Magic and we are willing to share it with our SisterWriters.

Below find the details and a short blurb about the WomanWords’ June 2nd workshop: Mazes, Mentors and Miracles: We Tell Our Healing Stories with Alice Orr. Also included is a registration form. Space is limited, so you’ll want to register early!

If you’re coming from out of town and you wish to stay on site at Still Point (, please be aware that bedspace at Still Point is extremely limited. Also, you will need to reserve your space directly with Still Point (518-587-4967). It would be wise to register early if you want to stay on-site – you can reserve via telephone but must follow up with a non-refundable deposit within one week (most likely half of the cost of your stay). If all SP spaces are filled (you can call them to find out), here’s info about local sleepover possibilities:

  • A site that has lots of info re lodging for Saratoga Springs area:
  • The site for the nearby Fairfield Inn (I believe management is Marriott/Fairfield Inns) – Looking at a map, it’s right after you exit the Northway (I-87) & it’s about 5-10 min from Still Point- taking Dunning down to Saratoga Lake, right at the lake, drive to 423, take another right, follow it until you see sign for Still Point’s road. I can give you more detailed directions if you decide to attend.
  • Also, Still Point has no problem with campers on the property. One year, for the WW Retreat, someone spent their nights in the back of her covered truck! Welcoming House has a small kitchen, as well as a bathroom with shower (towels provided) if you choose that option.

E-mail me or call if you have any questions: 518-869-1705 or Sign up early—you don’t want to miss this empowering event for IWWG women!



(for members of the International Women’s Writing Guild, former members
& those who’ve attended IWWG events, especially Remember the Magic)
with Alice Orr – IWWG workshop leader, writer, former book editor & agent
(hosted by WomanWords founder/facilitaor, Marilyn Zembo Day)
Saturday, June 2, 2012; 10am to 4:30pm
Still Point Interfaith Retreat Center, Mechanicville, NY
(2.2 miles from Saratoga Lake)

Alice Orr tailors her popular Mazes, Mentors & Miracles: How to Bring Your Memoir to Life on the Page workshop to the current needs of IWWG members, as we seek to turn our grief at the loss of this year’s summer conference into positive energy through the telling of our stories. She will guide us as we:

  • Write our personal stories,
  • Re-Member their pieces,
  • Dis-Cover whole chapters at the center of our hearts, and
  • Ex-Cavate our truths from that deep place – giving them voice.

We will celebrate our lives, honor our experiences, tell our best real-life stories as they deserve to be told. In addition, an extended lunch period will allow participants time to enjoy the beautiful grounds of Still Point. Bring a journal (or paper) and favorite writing instrument (pen, pencil, laptop).

Cost: $45 for current/former IWWG members; $55 if not a current or previous member (but attended an IWWG event). Bring a lunch (unless staying at Still Point). REGISTER BY: May 26, 2012. Contact Marilyn Zembo Day at 518-869-1706 or (e-mail contact preferred) with questions or for additional information. A limited number of partial scholarships available dependent upon registration levels.

ALICE ORR has a wide range of experience in teaching, writing and publishing – as seminar and workshop presenter, published author, book editor and literary agent. Her professional journey has been devoted to Stories and Storytelling; she knows that stories have the power to help us make sense of our lives, past, present and yet to come. She conducts writing workshops nationwide through Alice Orr Seminars and regularly posts to her writer-helpful blog, Publishing Sense from Alice Orr . Reach her via e-mail at



SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2012 – 10 AM TO 4:30 PM

I am enclosing a check/money order for the following amount (check one):
__ $45.00 (I am a current IWWG member or a former member.).
__ $55.00 (I am not & have never been an IWWG member, but I’ve attended one or more IWWG events).
__Other- scholarship amount of $_________ (agreed upon with Marilyn prior to registration).

I understand that pre-registration monies are 50% reimbursable through 5/5/12 and non-refundable beyond 5/5/12,
unless the event is cancelled (in which case monies are fully refundable).
Mail check or money order (made payable to Marilyn Day), along with completed Registration Form, to:
Marilyn Day, P.O. Box 14315, Albany, NY 12212

Name of Registrant __________________________________________________________

Street Address ______________________________________________________________

City/State __________________________________________________________________

Phone Number(s)- Day:__________________________ Eve:__________________________

E-Mail Address _______________________________________________________________

P.O. Box 14315
Albany, NY 12212
“We are Women Who Write!”


IWWG RETURN TO SKIDMORE UNLIKELY & Revised Posting re 6/2/12 workshop

Please read further to understand why the deletion
and, if you read the original, what you must know:

I received an e-mail from Alice Orr last night (6/12/12) asking that the post relating to her workshop be deleted. She said, “I should have been in touch with you about this right after the Still Point workshop but I did not know you would act so soon on the suggestion that the “model” for my presentation should be “shared” with other groups. My workshops are a product of my own creativity with a long history of development and trial. That makes them my intellectual property by any measure of that term.”

Further, she stated, “I will need you to post a proviso … that replication of my workshop is not acceptable either to me personally or legally in general except with my written permission which might entail a fee if I should in fact grant that permission. Since I intend to adapt this workshop format to other venues and situations I do not expect that such permissions for re-use will be forthcoming from me.” Alice also asked that I make note of this in all places in which I notified people of the post’s existence, which I will be doing as soon as I re-post this revised version, preserving the IWWG information.

I apologize to Alice for the miscommunication/misunderstanding. I simply wanted to attempt to describe the day in such a way that those IWWG women who wanted to be there, but couldn’t, might feel some of the healing that was the focal point of the workshop. Alice puts together a wonderful workshop, as was evidenced on 6/2; those who’ve attended her sessions before already know that. I would certainly recommend that any groups desiring to enlist her as a presenter (not just women’s groups either), contact her at


This week, just after returning from Still Point and the WomanWords June 2nd workshop with Alice Orr, I received an e-mail from IWWG Executive Director Cynthia Stillwell, in which she let me know about her recent inquiry to Skidmore concerning a possible return of the Guild to the campus for our summer conference. She’d promised that she would ask, and she did. Unfortunately, the response was not positive. Cynthia requested that I let all the women who’d been inquiring about the possibility know what she’d been told, and this blog is the best way I can do so (along with WomanWords E-News and my Facebook page). So here it goes.

Cynthia wrote to Sharon Arpey, who handles summer programs at the college, introducing herself as the new Executive Director and telling her, “Almost every day since I have been with the Guild, I receive reminders and hopes and wishes that the Guild return to the campus of Skidmore. It has been a magical and unifying place for women to join together in friendship and creativity with hopes for the future. During this transition time, the memories of Skidmore have become even more precious to our past and present members.” She asked if they might have a conversation about a possible return for next year’s conference.

Ms. Arpey replied that she has been “observing the leadership transition from afar through the various emails describing the activities of the Guild” and that she has been “wishing you well the whole time! I know these kinds of changes for seasoned organizations are not easy, but they are necessary for long-term health and overall longevity.” She further indicated that she would be happy “to chat” with her sometime via phone to explain Skidmore’s position more fully. She said Cynthia’s request was discussed by the leadership in the Office of Special Programs and it was decided that “it is not in [their] best interest to reinitiate the summer IWWG conference relationship. There were many reasons (early summer availability, mobility issues, programming fit with other campus groups, bad behavior by a handful of members, registration and billing complications—to mention a few) that led [them] and the IWWG to the conclusion that a new home should be found for the summer conference. It is safe to say that our position has remained unchanged.”

Cynthia’s conclusion: “It appears the doors have been closed to us because of the past.” I have to agree with her, given the tone of Skidmore’s response and their list of issues related to IWWG. It would seem like adding salt to our wounds to pursue a further conversation since the letter merely stated its purpose would be “to explain Skidmore’s position more fully.”

Cynthia is at least a little upbeat about it, saying, “Now we just need to find that ‘perfect’ place for the next story to unfold.” I guess the search is on. Everything changes.

Writing this post has brought me back to one of the most recent books I’ve read, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams (Sarah Crichton Books, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012). In variation XXIV, Williams speaks of Changing Woman of the Navajo. She writes, “Earth, Mother. Goddess. In every culture the voice of the Feminine emerges from the land itself. We clothe her as Eve or Isis or Demeter. In the desert, she appears as Changing Woman. She can shift shapes like the wind and cut through stone with her voice like water. And when she approaches us with her open hands carrying offerings of white shells in arid country, she reminds us that there was a time before drought when ancient seas covered the desert… I wish someone had told me when I was young that it was not happiness I could count on, but change.”

Coincidentally – and in tune with this latest news from Cynthia – Williams confesses in the same section, “The question What stories do we tell that evoke a sense of place? became my obsession. Through the generosity of the Diné, I heard how voice finds its greatest amplification through story.” PLACE. It was Skidmore where so many transformations took place, where creativity took root, friendships blossomed. It was at Still Point, with Alice, that we affirmed that there was another important PLACE, and that place is in the Heart. In the Sisterhood of Women Writers.

During one of the writing exercises at the workshop, I scribbled on my page, The Magic is the Membership. I rediscovered that, at the end of the day, every day:

We are the Magic.

Marilyn at IWWG conference, Skidmore, 2008

A little more on the WW Alice Orr workshop…

In the e-mail sent out to women registered for the WomanWords workshop with Alice Orr this weekend, I wrote the following, which might entice some of you to join us (it’s already convinced one woman she has to be there!). If not, it’s certainly a writing prompt for those so inclined:

At this point, there are a few slots left for Saturday’s workshop with Alice Orr (see the original e-notice below). In addition, should you really be “on the fence” about how your weekend schedule looks – you might consider journeying to Still Point as a “walk-in” (although it’s always best to let me know ahead of time if you’re coming, if possible; I can get a copy of the “pre-workshop” e-mail to you, with a few bits of useful info, for one thing!). Alice will bring a few extra handouts, just in case , but foreknowledge will definitely ensure there will be enough!

Today, I just sent out the “pre-workshop” e-mail to those already registered and those women who’ve said they expected to mail their registrations so I’d receive them this week (I’ll be heading to the P.O. Box later today or tomorrow for sure). I want to share with you a part of that “Who, What, When, Where, How & Why” formatted info. It evokes how I envision this workshop unfolding, based on conversations and e-mails between Alice and me:

WHAT – Alice has an awesome program planned for MAZES, MENTORS AND MIRACLES: WE TELL OUR HEALING STORIES, taking her successful memoir workshop and transforming it to focus on our creative, empowering experiences through IWWG. Many of us are grieving, or at least saddened by, the Guild’s recent troubles and worried about its future. But this will not be Saturday’s focal point. My expectation, based on what Alice has told me thus far, is that we will be Remembering the Magic, getting to the heart of just what personal magic happened for us. Maybe it’s a bit like this (my own imagination at play here):

Imagine a magic wand in the hands of an IWWG woman, perhaps a favorite IWWG workshop leader, or someone who’s become one of your best friends regardless of how far away she lives. She holds the wand high, swirling it in spirals, conjuring up stars that hover around the two of you. Each one shines as a special moment connected to women’s IWWG experiences – perhaps you: learned a key element about writing that transformed your novel or other work; met a woman who would become your best writing partner; found the courage to read your words aloud for the very first time; shared with a SisterWriter, for the first time ever, a dark moment in your life; felt empowered, finally, to say out loud, “I am a writer!” – and you believed it!

The woman smiles and lowers her wand to feather-touch the top of your head, barely grazing your hair. Several stars settle, like a shimmering tiara. These are your most cherished memories. What you’ve taken away from any IWWG event you ever attended. Gifts for the creative soul.

I expect Alice comes bearing her own magic, and that’s her unique ability to help writers look inward and find their own magic. It just happens to be that our little group, meeting next Saturday, share a special sisterhood. One that we need to honor at this time, for healing and joy and – yes! even for exultation!

Still Time to Sign Up for Alice Orr’s Workshop!

If you haven’t yet heard that IWWG’s Alice Orr will be leading a workshop in the Saratoga/Albany area on June 2nd, then let this be your prompt to sign up! Or maybe this is simply your reminder. Check out the earlier post on Legacy re the workshop, dated March 13th, or contact Marilyn Zembo Day at and ask her to send you the about it.

There’s still time to join us! And what a wonderful day it will be, as we share our IWWG experiences and how the Guild has transformed us. Perhaps your writing will take you elsewhere at this workshop — as usual at a WomanWords event, it’s your choice. Share your day with awesome, creative women:

with Alice Orr
Still Point Interfaith Retreat Center, Mechanicville, NY
(2.2 miles from Saratoga Lake)
Saturday, June 2, 2012; 10 am to 4:30 pm