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The Women Writers and Artists Matrix, founded by Amejo Amyot and Dorothy Randall Gray in Saratoga a mere couple of years ago, has another awesome weekend of creativity and sisterhood planned; and it includes five -yup, 5! – great workshop leaders of International Women’s Writing Guild fame as its springtime fare! As Dorothy said in her e-mail forwarding all the details, I too am “so excited… I’m about to bust my blossoms!” Added to the super roster of women who will inspire and inform us, there’s also the nostalgia of once again being on the Skidmore campus (for the workshops portion of the event), site of well over 30 of our summer conferences – where it all began for so many women: rebirth, re-discovering our Voice, meeting like-minded, like-spirited women from all over the world!

If at all possible, don’t miss this weekend. I’ve been able to attend all but the first one (leading workshops at a couple) and have never been disappointed. What else can I say? How about: they get better and better…

WWAM WEEKEND: Celebrate the Spring of Yourself!
Friday, May 4 – Sunday May 6, 2012
Saratoga Springs, New York

Marsha Browne – Digital Storytelling: Your Personal Video Project
Heather Cariou – Standing In Your Truth: Finding The Courage To Claim The Story You Need To Tell
Carol Chaput – Art & Creating Your WOW At WWAM
Zita Christian – The Characters In Your Story
Myra Shapiro – The Voice In Your Poems
(See full workshop descriptions & bios below)

$185.00 – All workshops Saturday, May 5 & Sunday May 6, 9:30 – 4:30PM
Conversation & Creativity Dinner Salon, Friday, May 4, 6:00 – 9:00PM
Women Wine & Cheese Reception- Saturday, May 5, 5:00 – 8:00PM
$75.00 Day Rate – Saturday or Sunday: all workshops offered each day
$35.00 Conversation & Creativity Dinner Salon Only

~ Intimate 2.5 hour Workshops on the Skidmore College Campus
~ Author Book Sales
~ Full 2 hour Networking Lunch Periods
~ Special WWAM Hotel Rate – $99 per room per night at the exquisite Inn at Saratoga (sleeps two and includes breakfast!)
~ Free gifts & More!

Spring is upon us. We are surrounded by the signs of life creating itself all over again.
Shouldn’t you be doing the same?
Join us for an unforgettable weekend of intimate small class atmospheres, stimulating
conversation at roundtables, and celebrations of you and your work.
Break bread, read and share your art with fellow artists and writers as you feed your soul
and spirit.
Satiate your creative juices with the precious, priceless company of kindred creative
women. We’ll leave the light on for you.

Register NOW! – space is limited
Please make checks payable to the Heartland Institute and send to:
WWAM, P.O. Box 446, Burnt Hills, NY 12027
For further information contact: 518.557.7307,

Transportation: Amtrak has trains to Saratoga Springs, NY twice a day. MegaBus now offers a new service from NYC to Saratoga Springs at 8:30AM each day in their clean, comfortable, affordable wi-fi enabled busses! Right now their introductory fare is just $1.00! Check this out at before the fare goes up.
Albany airport is about 35 miles away and you can taxi or carpool to Saratoga. Also, Greyhound has busses that can take you from Albany to Saratoga Springs. So now you have no excuse not to join us!

Juicy Details

Conversation & Creativity Dinner Salon – The Inn at Saratoga, Friday May 4, 6:00 – 9:00PM
231 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Art & Writing Workshops – Skidmore College, 815 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Women, Wine & Cheese Reception– Saturday, 5:00 – 8:00 at the Amyot Victorian Estate
(exact address given to weekend registrants)

Workshop Descriptions

Marsha Browne – Digital Storytelling: Your Personal Video Project
     In 2004, Dr. Helen C. Barrett of the Center for Digital Storytelling wrote, “digital storytelling is the act of using today’s technology to tell yesterday’s stories for tomorrow’s generations.” Digital Storytelling is also a way of sharing your life and work through electronic multimedia.
     The digital story can take several forms, from the feature-length, broadcast video documentary or the memorial, tribute or family legacy video, all the way to the 2-3 minute video clip you put on your website or your Facebook page to describe your current work endeavor. In this workshop, you’ll learn:
• basic concepts and processes for creating and completing a personal video project;
• how to assemble and edit the video for best effect using multiple media sources;
• tools and equipment that can make your digital story come to life;
• critical elements of strong digital storytelling, and how they compare/contrast to written storytelling.
     As part of the workshop, you’ll watch, evaluate and critique several short digital videos in the classroom setting, and leave with an action plan for creating a short personal video that best reflects you and your work.

Heather Cariou – Standing In Your Truth: Finding the Courage to Claim the Story You Need to Tell
If you don’t tell the truth about yourself, you can’t tell it about anyone else. ~ Virginia Woolf
     There is no such thing as the absolute truth, though many of us spend our lives either searching for it, or running from what we think it is. Our personal truths, however, are the soul of both poetry and memoir. These truths also lend integrity to fiction writing. Finding and facing them can be frightening. Reflecting on our truths with generosity and compassion is the heart of memoir. This process can be empowering.
     You can’t change the facts of your life, but you can change the way you tell your story – and liberate your truths and your writing in the process. Our own self-realization is the greatest act of healing we can offer ourselves, and the world. Adrienne Rich calls it, “diving into the wreck.”
     Whether or not you are not writing for publication, excavating your truths, writing them down and shaping them into story is a powerful act of healing and liberation. Poet Audre Lorde says, “We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for definition and language…the transformation of that silence into language always seems fraught with danger.”
     In this workshop, Heather will:
• – Share her own story of moving through the fear and sense of danger
• – Offer quotes and excerpts from other writers on the subject of truth
• – Foster a discussion on the nature and meaning of truth
• – Inspire you to dive deep into yourself, explore your truths, and emerge with the strength to claim and stand in them unshakably.
• – Provide a variety of tools, insights, resources, writing prompts and exercises to help you discover your truths, explode your myths, and artfully record your “dive into the wreck” with courage and compassion.
– – Discuss the difference between the narrative voice and the reflective voice, and how to move from self-revelation to confession to craft.

Carol Chaput – Art & Creating Your WOW at WWAM
     We all know the voice of our inner critic … the voice that says “you can’t do that” or “what do you mean, you don’t fill in the blank” and the damage it causes, especially when a creative project is new and fragile.
     In Creating Your WOW we will replace that voice with a new one–one that is fierce and compassionate–by accessing the Wise Old Woman (WOW) archetype that lives in all of us, young and old and in between. We can’t deny our inner critic or monster or else we’ll always be wary of it … waiting for it to appear again and sit down right next to us. Instead of denying it, we take the power away from it by manifesting our WOW, the intuitive part of ourselves, always present, a powerful and instinctual inner guide, ripe with wisdom.
     We will create an image–using art techniques, primarily collage (adhering images, ephemera, materials to a surface)–that portrays our own WOW. We will use writing exercises to ask our WOW for what we need. Her wisdom will reveal that we CAN create, that we have all we need to be a WOW.
     Bring your writing journal along with your curiosity, playfulness, and your commitment to explore. Leave with numerous handouts, inspiration, and an image to hang in your space.

Zita Christian – The Characters In Your Story: Go Beyond the Bio
     Learn to create characters who can grow over the course of a novel. Decipher clues in body language, clothing, and facial gestures. Build the character’s family and unearth the makings of a dynamic backstory. Identify your characters’ hot buttons. Learn how to press them! Add more characters and watch a plot develop.
     You’ll leave with a valuable collection of handouts you can refer to again and again, and a notebook brimming with people for your story.

Myra Shapiro – The Voice In Your Poems
     How are we heard? What can we listen to? We will write each day and read the poems of others to discover our uniqueness and how we may express it.


Marsha Browne is a Boston-based award-winning writer, television producer and freelance videographer. Her short film, United We Stand, won Honorable Mention for National Documentary in the 2002 Communicator Awards. Her three-part documentary, The Soul of Afghanistan, won first prize for International Documentary in the 2003 ACM Hometown Awards. Her seven-minute docudrama, Above All Else, won the silver medal at the 2008 ACM Regional Competition in the Professional Theater & Arts category. Browne’s video yearbooks and special presentations have regularly been featured at the International Women’s Writing Guild annual conferences.

Heather Cariou is author of Sixty-Five Roses: A Sister’s Memoir with a forward by Celine Dion (McArthur & Company.) Born, raised and educated in Ontario, Canada, as a child she dreamed of becoming both a writer and a ballerina. When she learned the fates of the Bronte sisters, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, she chose ballet over writing. Then, after seeing Elaine Stritch as Mame in 1969 she decided to become an actress. Heather made her professional debut with the company at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, where she remained for three seasons. She subsequently enjoyed a career lasting twenty years, acting professionally on stages across Canada and off-Broadway. Daughter of the founders of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, she has been involved in its fund-raising and promotion for over forty years. She is a founding member of the Galaxy Writers Workshop in New Jersey,
Married to stage and screen actor Len Cariou, Heather is her husband’s “roadie.” Known for “shooting from the hip,” she has also cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the entire cast of a Broadway show in a hotel room while on the road. Heather emigrated from Canada to NYC in 1983, and now lives on the Hudson River in NJ with a view of the city she loves. She is working on a novel.

Carol Chaput is an artist and writer. She is the creator of “Image Journaling” and other workshops that investigate the intersection of art and writing. She has taught at the International Women Writer’s Guild and at both art and writing workshops and retreats for many years. Her book of poetry, Life List, was published by Dogwood Press in 2011. She is presently at work on a novel. Carol Chaput’s works include paintings, drawings, egg temperas, and mixed media works. Her award-winning work is exhibited throughout New England, New York, and the Mid-Atlantic states.

Zita Christian is a multipublished author of book-length fiction, magazine articles, and the foreword and several chapters in a book on grieving by the late Liz Aleshire. Zita’s three historical romance novels, originally published by HarperCollins, will be reissued as e-books by Samhain Publishing. Zita is also the host and producer of two national award-winning television shows Page 1 and Full Bloom. They air weekly on public access channels in Connecticut and Massachusetts and on You Tube . In 2010, Zita co-authored the play Warriors Don’t Cry, adapted from the Little Rock Nine memoir by Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals. The one-woman show was produced by the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, performed in New York and throughout New England. It will tour nationwide in 2012-2013. See a video clip here . As an ordained interfaith celebrant, Zita officiates at weddings, funerals, and seasonal celebrations creating unique, personal ceremonies for the moments and milestones in life. See

Myra Shapiro, born in the Bronx, returned to live in New York after forty- five years in Georgia and Tennessee where she married, raised two daughters and worked as a librarian and teacher of English. Her poems have appeared in Harvard Review, The Ohio Review, River Styx, Pearl, Ploughshares, The Poetry Miscellany, Southern Indiana Review, and other journals, and in many anthologies. She was awarded the New School’s Dylan Thomas Poetry Award and is the recipient of two fellowships from The MacDowell Colony. She serves on the Board of Directors of Poets House in New York City, a library and meeting place for poets. She is author of I’ll See You Thursday (Blue Sofa Press) and a memoir Four Sublets: Becoming A Poet in New York (Chicory Blue Press.) She has read her work widely, appearing at various venues throughout the country.

Women Writers & Artists Matrix (WWAM) is an activist association of kindred creative women dedicated to shifting the paradigm through words and images. We embrace the vision of gathering together to build and share women’s wisdom through the arts. We believe in creating opportunities to connect in intimate atmospheres, to inspire ourselves and others, to discover the intersections between art and writing, and to use our skills to serve our communities.