Write Your Own Story

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Write Your Own Story with Janisse Ray

February 18 – 23, 2024

Tuition & Meals: $1,595

Three works by Janisse Ray: Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Wild Spectacle, and The Woods of Fannin County

Want to immerse yourself in southern literature for a week and create some literature of your own? Join Janisse Ray, author of the classic Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, in a memoir writing course to get your family and personal stories down on paper and have a lot of fun in the process. You are living an interesting and colorful life. You were given a treasure of stories from your ancestors, childhood, places you lived, people you knew, your children. You’re full of stories. When you’re gone, will the stories be gone too? Your stories are your legacy. Would you like to leave a lasting legacy—wealth of a different kind—to your children and grandchildren? Do you worry about being unable to pass along your wisdom, your cares, your love? In this week-long course on writing, writer Janisse Ray will guide you into putting pencil to paper in order to say what needs to be said. Topics to be covered include how to decide which stories to choose, how to write in scene, how to structure a writing practice, how to keep going, what to do when you’re stuck, and how to publish or collect the stories.

Janisse Ray
Source: www.facebook.com/ReadJanisseRay/

Janisse Ray holds honorary doctorates from LaGrange College and Unity College and is a 2015 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. She received the Southern Environmental Law Center Award in journalism for her piece on coal ash.

Her debut book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, explores her upbringing in the Southeast's pine ecosystem and earned several awards, including the American Book Award. Ray's writing addresses nature, community, sustainability, and the politics of wholeness, resonating deeply with readers. She leads writing courses and workshops for writers of all backgrounds and skill levels, focusing on craft and finding inspiration from your own life and stories.

Learn more about Janisse Ray here.

Tuition Includes:

  • 6 hours of class instruction M-T; ½ day Friday
  • 12 meals (5 breakfasts, 4 lunches; 3 dinners)
  • Welcome dinner in private Serenbe home (Sunday)
  • Access to the classroom after dinner
  • Restorative Yoga Class
  • Guided Labyrinth Meditation
  • Nature Walk/Sound Bath


Inn at Serenbe or within the Serenbe community: $225 - $400 per room per night includes  special 25% discount for workshop attendees. Rooms can be double or single occupancy. 

Contact: If you wish to stay at the Inn or book a home in the community, contact: guestservices@serenbeinn.com or call 770-463-2610. We have negotiated a special workshop discount so be sure to mention that you’ll be attending the workshop. The negotiated rate ranges from $225 - $400 per room. Also advise them if you wish to rent a golf cart during your stay.

If traveling with friends, sharing a home in the community provides access to a full kitchen and other amenities. Golf carts are available to rent by day or week. A car is not essential when staying in the community. You can walk to the classroom and restaurants, or golf cart. 

Additionally, you may wish to book your own accommodations outside the Serenbe community in Chattahoochee Hills through AIRBnB or VRBO. You will need a car with this option.

Information and FAQs

About Serenbe

Serenbe is a wellness and arts focused community about 25 minutes south of the Atlanta Airport. Within this walkable community you will find 4 restaurants, The General Store, an art co-op gallery, and other retail and wellness focused shops. To learn more about the community, visit serenbe.com.

About Art Farm at Serenbe

Art Farm at Serenbe is the arts and environmental nonprofit that serves Serenbe and surrounding communities. Funded in part by every property owner in Serenbe, Art Farm's vision is "to be a global destination that inspires creativity, stewards environmental resources, and respects collaboration, diversity, and sustainability." We fulfil these goals by programming unique, engaging, and thought-provoking events and arts experiences across several arts disciplines for community members and visitors to enjoy.

Where are the workshops held?

Workshops are held in Guild 1; breakfast and lunch are served in Guild 2 within the community.

Guild 1 and 2 are located in the Grange Community next to The General Store. The address is:

10642 Serenbe Lane, Chattahoochee Hills, GA 30268.

Do I need a car?

We do not provide transportation to/from the airport so if flying in you’ll need to rent a car or arrange for Uber/Taxi to get to Serenbe. If you are staying within the community (either at the Inn at Serenbe or in a rental property), it is possible to walk to the classroom. Most locations are less than a mile from the classroom. You can also reserve a golf cart if booking through the Inn at Serenbe – which is the way most residents get around the community. If you are booking your own accommodations outside the community, you will need a car.

Are meals included?

Most meals are included in your tuition. Breakfast and lunch will be served in Guild 2 Monday – Thursday. Three dinners are also included in your tuition: Sunday, Monday, and Thursday. A special welcome reception and dinner is planned for Sunday evening in a private home in Serenbe; your final breakfast is served in Guild 2 on Friday morning. Tuesday and Wednesday evening dinner is on your own and a perfect opportunity to explore The Hill or Farmhouse restaurants.

What about accommodations?

The inn at serenbe
The Inn at Serenbe

You have several options for accommodations: The Inn at Serenbe, a private home in Serenbe, or other rental properties in Chattahoochee Hills.

The Inn at Serenbe: If you wish to stay at the Inn or book a home in the community, contact: guestservices@serenbeinn.com or call 770-463-2610. We have negotiated a special workshop discount so be sure to mention that you’ll be attending the workshop. The negotiated rate ranges from $225 - $400 per room. Also advise them if you wish to rent a golf cart during your stay.

Check-in is any time after 3PM.

AIRBnB or VRBO: you will find some homes available through these sites. Just be sure to check that the home is actually in Serenbe. There are also homes available in Chattahoochee Hills that are close to Serenbe but not within walking distance of the community or classroom. You must have a car if you stay outside the community as Uber service is not readily available in Chattahoochee Hills.

What if I need groceries?

The General Store, located within the community, is probably all you’ll need since most meals are provided. The closest grocery store (Publix/Kroger) are approximately 12-15 miles away.

What supplies do I need?

Once you are registered, we’ll contact you directly to advise re supply list and other details.

What’s our daily schedule:

8:00 am – Breakfast Guild 2

9:00 am – Class begins in Guild 1

Noon – Lunch in Guild 2

1:00 pm – 4 pm – Afternoon class and activities

Above schedule is Monday through Thursday. We begin Friday with breakfast and conclude at noon. No lunch is provided Friday. On Sunday, we host dinner in a private residence at Serenbe. Address will be provided when you register. On Monday evening, all students will enjoy dinner in the community’s Blue-Eyed Daisy Café, in the heart of the Selborne Hamlet. This casual café is the perfect spot to meet neighbors and residents of the community. The menu features burgers (vegan options) and salads on Mondays. Tuesday and Wednesday dinner is on your own and Thursday evening is our final meal together.

What about the “Serenbe Experiences”?

We’ve planned three exceptional experiences for you to enjoy while visiting Serenbe. The cost is included in your tuition. We’ll work these into our class days and announce the schedule when you arrive. Please bring comfortable walking shoes, warm clothing for outside activities, and an adventurous spirit.

Guided Meditation Walk: Serenbe has a magical labyrinth based on the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. It was built by the Nygren family and friends. Walking a labyrinth is a right brain activity (creative, intuitive, imaginative), and can induce or enhance a contemplative or meditative state of mind. It is a tool which can clear the mind, calm our anxieties during periods of transition and stress, guide healing, deepen self-knowledge, enhance creativity, allow for reconciliation, restore feelings of belonging to a community, and lead to personal and spiritual growth.

Restorative Yoga Class: Complete with essential oils, light touch Thai massage, relaxing music, and, of course, candlelight. This class will relax the mind, body, and soul. Yin Yoga focuses on the connective tissues of the body through postures that are held in stillness and mindful awareness for several minutes at a time. A perfect complement to more yang styles of exercise (such as flow yoga, running, skiing or biking), Yin Yoga addresses tightness and toxin buildup in the joints and connective tissue through poses that are equally challenging for the mind and body. The result is not only more lubricated and flexible joints, but also a greater sense of balance, peace, and calm. Props make the practice accessible to people of all abilities This is an all levels class, appropriate for beginners and advanced alike.

Guided Hike and Forest Bathing: You will be guided through a portion of the trails in Serenbe. Various types of plants and trees that are edible or can be used for Medicinal purposes will be identified, as well as a little history of the land. As we make our way down to a beautiful stream that runs through the woods of Serenbe, we will enjoy a guided forest bathing meditation. Forest Bathing is a guided meditation walk through nature. It originated in Japan in the early 1980's, and has been proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase energy, and improve sleep. The goal is to slow down and become immersed in the natural environment by engaging all senses: smell, touch, taste, and sight.

I live in Atlanta, or within driving distance of Serenbe. Do I have to stay in Serenbe to participate in the workshop?

It is not required to stay in Serenbe to participate in the workshop. As long as you feel comfortable being able to arrive in time for 8 AM classes and activities, you are welcome to commute from outside Serenbe!

Are beginners welcome, or do I need to have a background in writing to participate?

All skill and experience levels are welcome! We believe everyone has a unique story to tell and can benefit from this workshop. Janisse Ray is an experienced writing coach and teacher who has worked with students of varying backgrounds and experience levels, from complete beginners to those with MFAs. This will be a very welcoming environment for all, and the courses will be valuable for writers of all skill levels.

Additional questions? 

Please contact info@artfarmatserenbe.org.

Register for Write Your Own Story 2024

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