What's Tony Thinking

“Writing in the Wild” Returns June 11


After two plus years of not doing any of my volunteer work as a naturalist in the parks, programs are starting up again.

I led two beach walks last week, one for kindergartners from Queen Anne Elementary, another for my own grandchildren. Morning low tides gave us a chance to see lots of tide pool life, including these “sea cucumbers.” Such remarkable colors.

One of the programs I developed several years ago is called “Writing in the Wild.” The idea is to get into one of the various habitats of the city’s largest park, Discovery, and to do some writing about what we see, smell, hear, touch and feel there. We’ve been on the beach, by ponds, and in the woods.

A new “Writing in the Wild” is coming up on Saturday, June 11, from 10:00 to 1:oo. Participants will meet at the northwest corner of the “North Parking Lot” in Discovery Park. From there we will move onto the “Wolf Tree Trail,” for the workshop itself.

I usually get us going with a reading from a writer or poet, talking a little about what we notice and enjoy in their work. Then I give a “prompt” and invite people to write for a time. Participants are invited to share what they’ve written, if they wish, and get some feedback. I offer feedback guidelines so that it’s a positive experience. Then one more prompt, time of writing, sharing and that is usually all the time we’ve got. Along the way I call attention to some of the flora of the Wolf Tree area.

The June 11 session will emphasize one of the things that writers are often encouraged to work on, that is, “show don’t tell.” “Show the reader everything,” wrote Hemingway, “tell them nothing.” Chekov provides an example. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on a broken glass.” So we will work on showing our readers what we observe or feel in the wild.

If you are interested, pre-registration is required. You can do that by calling the Parks at 206-386-4236 or by going on-line at www.seattle.gov/parks. There is a $10 registration fee. In addition to paper and pen/ pencil, bring water, a snack or light lunch and lightweight folding camp or beach chair. We’re limited to six, so if you are interested, register sooner rather than later.

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