“A shapeless memory lingers in us still
And sometimes, when our sight is turned within,
Earth’s ignorant veil is lifted from our eyes;
There is a short miraculous escape.”
General information on e-retreats for spiritual writing is available here. Specific information on this particular programme is given below.
Do you want to tell a story of –
- Someone you love / loved?
- An unforgettable experience (s)?
- Opinions on inanimates like stones, rivers, air, etc.?
- About plants, trees, grass, nature etc.?
- An animal – pet or in wild?
- A journey or travel?
- Lasting memories?
- Series of incidents / occurrences?
- Any object?
- Any idea?
- Someone’s life?
- Your life?
Well, we will help you organise your thoughts and write them as a coherent story that can be told.
At times, participants have several vague topics or none at all in their minds. During this retreat we make a systematic map of heart — feelings and emotions — and help discover topics for each participant to write.
NON SPIRITUAL / NOT MEMOIR
If you want to write something other than a memoir, then also approaching that through the route of a memoir is helpful. We help you discover and develop your own ideas of what is being spiritual.
Spiritual: The primary focus is on providing spiritual heft to writing. A secondary focus is on writing creatively. Emphasis is not placed on grammar, spellings, and such efforts which can be easily handled after the retreat is over.
Dates: The programme is conducted on a rolling basis. One can apply to join for any continuous block of 14 days. Preferred days to start are 1st, 8th, 15th, and 29th of each month.
500 words/day for 10 days: The programme creates a focus for each participant to write 500 words every day for 10 continuous days. By the end of the programme, each participant completes writing of 5000 words.
Although it is a writing residency, most of the participants come from a diverse background and have seldom published before.
- Any other creative person
- Those interested in spoken words
9 participants only: There are no more than nine primary participants at any given point in time who are supported in each session. Each participant receives individual attention and care.
(Image above: Ganesha writing Mahabharata (containing Bhagvat-Gita) narrated by Ved Vyasa. Credits – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA. Banner image credits – Gita Press, Gorakhpur)
- Each week is a complete module in itself.
- Each session has no more than 9 participants.
- Each day there are 2 sessions, each of 1 hour duration.
- One hour for learning and practicing a specific guided meditation technique.
- One hour is for tutorial on spiritual writing.
- First 5 days (Monday to Friday) there are unique lessons and practice each day
- Saturday is for self-review and consolidation and learning
- Sunday is for closing of the week and sharing and discussing individual writings
- Avail of unique opportunity to boost creativity powered by meditation
- Avail of unique opportunity to boost meditation supported with writing
- Participation with online publication at AZIMVTH website at the end of the term
If there is sufficient intertest and writings available, then we may go for privately publishing a book containing memoirs of several persons.
WRITE A NOVEL / BOOK
A goal of the first week is to complete writing a ‘flash-fiction’ — something that is as long as up to 1000 words. For the second week, a goal is to complete writing a short story of 5000 words. We will help you, even after the residency is over, till 28th September, in progressing further with expanding your writing to the scale of a novella, novelette, and finally a novel or book of 60,000 words.
A participant can invite up to 2 guests, entirely complimentary, to the Sunday Sharing sessions of abridged meditation and sharing of writings.
Examples of a Sunday Sharing session of participants of the virtual spiritual memoir writing retreat can be seen below.
More examples can be seen here.
WISUALS & VORDS
This is an independent module of 5 hours. It explores the inter-relationships of words and texts with visual art forms. This module is exclusively available to participants of the virtual writing retreat at no extra cost.
Text and words are important to all kinds of creative work, not just to creative writing but also to painters, musicians and others. This module dwells on various aspects, examples given below.
- Composing titles of paintings, visual arts and other art forms
- Using text as part of visual arts
- Innovative use of devices that are meant for text, eg, manual type-writer
- Digital visual art made using iPhone
Painter Carol Zukosky, a participant at one of our recent virtual residencies, wrote a poem ‘The Call of Gaia 2020’ during the programme.
Participants of our previous virtual residencies who are visual artists or performing artists have written poems and songs respectively.
Written texts and words are important for visual artists not just for writing titles and illustrated stories. Some artists weave words in to the process of making their visual arts.
Pennsylvania based symbolic modernist figure painter Rachel Romano was a guest at one of AZIMVTH’s recently concluded month-long virtual artist residencies. She says, “My painting wall is covered in paper. White paper. Mostly so that I do not have to repaint the wall every time. As I am working I write on that paper. And I have had people wanting to buy my wall, paper because its almost like graffiti like experience. People come in and think — can I take that and frame that. And I say, no I need my wall.
Words are a big part of me. I am a story teller.”
More information on this module is available here.
NOTE ON SCHEDULE
It would appear that the retreat being a virtual one requires only 2 hours of online live contact each day. This is true but the programme is quite intense and the participants get voluntarily engrossed in writing and creating for significant number of offline hours every day.
Guided Meditation – Resolve and Make It Happen
9:00 am – 10:00 am – Live learning & practice
Q & A before 10:00 am
Spiritual Memoirs – Tutorials & Workbooks
10:15 am – 11:15 am – Live writing & editing
Q & A before 11:15 am
11:15 am – 5:30 pm – Participants continue with their own daily schedules. They find time to go over the learnings made during the morning 2 hours and do their writings.
6:00 pm – Post their progress online through a password protected page accessible only to the participants. Participants can also post their queries accessible only to the course-leaders. These will be answered offline via text.
All time mentioned here is as in Alabama, USA. To find your corresponding time, please use the converter here.
Spiritual name: A participant is provided a set of spiritual (pen) names based upon Indian astrology system of Jyotish. And she may choose her own from the set. Astrology services are provided with a contribution of USD 100 but a participant of this retreat doesn’t have to pay anything for receiving a selection of astrology based names.
Encouragement & Support: A plan is made in advance and cues provided. Writing work of each participant is reviewed each day and encouragement and support provided regularly on a pro-active basis for 14 days.
Post retreat support: A participant can seek feedback and one-off support on this body of writing even after the retreat ends — till 28th September 2020, irrespective of the date of joining.
Privacy / copyright: A unique area on AZIMVTH website is specially created for each participant access to which is granted only to 2 persons – the participant and AZIMVTH coach. Edited versions are shareable with other participants. The copyright of the writing work vests solely with the participant.
Path to a book: Each of the 10 pages of 500 words each can be cues or seeds for 10 chapters with each chapter of 5000 words each. A participant may write these chapters on her own after the retreat or participate with other writing programmes for this. A prologue and an epilogue of similar length are also written. These writings accumulate to sixty thousand words — good enough to make a book/novel. Or, shorter version could lead to a novella or novelette.
Publishing: Each participant has opportunity to get this writing published at AZIMVTH website.
Spiritual print publishing: AZIMVTH may print the collected works on hand-made paper, made in Haridwar using Ganga water. This printing may be manual-screen printing that requires considerable artisan-work. A participant will have opportunity to join that project with additional fee. This will be a limited edition print for private circulation and collection.
Memento: Each participant gets a certificate of participation which is more like a souvenir and memento.
Resources for participants of this retreat are available here.
- WI-FI connection
- What’s App
- Zoom App
- Writing pen
- Pencil, eraser, sharpener
- Letter (A4) sized ruled note-book
- Pocket diary (2 x 3 inch)
- PC/laptop computer/iPad or a similar device