The Attic Experience

The Attic Experience: Inspiration & motivation.

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Former students: Click here to send us something about your Attic experience

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"I took the flash-fiction class -- the first I'd ever taken -- and had a lot of fun. With shorter pieces you can take more risks without feeling you've wasted anything if a piece didn't work or you don't think it is worth revising. I met some other writers during this class who I continue to write with, and I'm still writing short pieces long after the class is over -- the sign of a really good class."  --  Lynn Bey

"I found the Attic fiction workshop allowed me to see the value and potential in every piece of writing submitted to the group. The atmosphere of the workshop was warm and respectful, but that level of professional courtesy never interfered with honest, well-constructed feedback. After their first round of Attic scrutiny, one of my own stories, "Address Book," underwent drastic changes as a result of feedback from the group, and it was accepted for publication soon after. I couldn't ask for better results."  --  Deborah Cravey

"The Attic's poetry workshop puts people at ease, and that's the most important thing a poetry workshop can offer. From there, poems flow, comments are readily exchanged and ears are open to constructive criticism (which the instructor, in the workshop I took, gave with sensitivity and affection). The workshop was able to get at the place where a writer was, and not without challenging the person to stretch, to move forward--and to venture into sometimes uncomfortable territory, the place where some of the best poems are born."  --  Claire Sykes

"Thanks to the Attic for a lively, useful and inspiring fiction class. I found the Attic when I was a newcomer to Portland and it was invaluable to me. I am still (eighteen months later as I write) in a critique group with three writers (and good friends) whom I met in classes there." --  Rebecca Koffman

"I attended a mini-workshop on publishing, & it was great. I walked away with reassuring statistics on how many rejections to expect as opposed to acceptances, models for cover letters, an online source for literary journals, & lots of good, practical advice. The Attic is an amazing resource and I'm grateful it exists." -- Cindy Steward-Riner

"Being new to the world of poetry as community and craft, I appreciate what I have found here at the Attic, because among the many experiences I have sought out in the past year to encourage my writing, my class here has been the highlight. I learned what to be ambitious about in my writing, and ways to challenge myself to write more." -- Robin Yim

"I wanted to let you know how valuable I found the Attic's workshop. The assignments and the way in which they were critiqued were very useful in helping me to create interesting characters and shape narrative text to complement my story. I plan to continue enrolling in Attic workshops and have already referred a couple of writer friends as well."  --  Philip Benz

"The Attic has abundantly wonderful teachers of the writing craft in a space that makes you feel like a real writer!"  --  Jenny Forrester

"The Attic's poetry workshops aren't the kind where poems get fixed like cars taken to the mechanic. They're valuable because the right questions get asked--about the particular poems, about technique, and about poetry in general. Questions you can take away and use when you're on your own."  -- David Filer

"I feel like I have turned a corner. While I used to write for myself only, now I'm finding there is an end-use for all this work, and an audience! The interesting thing with The Attic workshops I have attended is that we rarely talk about the mechanics of getting published. The workshops are totally focused on improving writing. The instructors' wealth of experience, and the examples that draw on literature from around the world, make for lively and productive work sessions. Most of all, the Attic is a fun and safe place to push your boundaries and improve your writing. Publication seems to be an unintended consequence."  -- Scot Siegel

"One of the first things my instructor at the Attic said to my class--something I had never heard before--is that courage is the most important/needful possession of a writer. I absolutely recognized the truth of that. But then, throughout the course, the instructor also opened up the craft of writing to us, demystifying it. My instructor was about as hard-working as any I have ever run into. The classes were meticulously crafted. And, yes, they were fun & engaging. I plan to continue traveling this road as a writer (and perhaps may even publish!). But in any case it is no small satisfaction just to write. And thanks to the Attic for that."  --  Susan Koshy

"After each class, I left feeling so stimulated that I could barely get to sleep. Lots of ideas jumping around in my brain, all I wanted to do was sit down at the computer and write. I'm glad I've found this intentional community of talented writers."  --  Rob Freedman

"I just completed Novel Writing class and want to say how much I enjoyed the workshop. It was everything I needed to find the voice, structure, and direction of my novel. I plan to take more workshops in the future."  --  LeeAnn McLennan

"I have just finished taking the Generating Genre class, and have signed up for the same class next term. I cannot speak highly enough of it. The teacher is supportive, friendly, and non-judgmental, and makes excellent suggestions for how to work and what might be improved in a piece, without being directive or dictatorial--I was impressed with the ability to find genuine strengths in student work. Both of these skills are rare and must be prized. I would like to add that I find the whole Attic experience to be convivial and open (this was my first class). I moved to Portland a year ago from Minneapolis, where I had taken a couple of courses at The Loft. It is amusing to "contrast and compare" the differences between the two organizations with similar names, and very different identities. The Loft, as you probably know, is made of a very large group, has its own building; houses a press, a thriving book arts community and gift store, and a gallery. It is modern and airy, humming with activity. The Attic, of course, is very different, quiet and much more approachable. So I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate at The Attic."  --  Amy Briggs

"Praise for the 6-month class:  I finished the draft and came up with the ending of my novel during this class. I believe participating in the class accelerated the writing process and enabled me to commit totally to the writing in this period. Merridawn Duckler's deep insight into the art of writing and her amazing ability to quickly grasp a text and the accompanying psychological processes made it easy for me to trust and follow her advice and guidance. "  --  Lisbeth P. Asay

"Martha Gies's class in writing creative non-fiction made me write like an energizer bunny every day. At first I was very nervous at the thought of being critiqued. After critique the work of the first group, I realized that the class was all about fostering the manuscript 'on the table.' Martha creates an amazingly nurturing and honest climate in which the focus is on the manuscript and the author is in the background. I think this allows writers to hear the "criticism" without feeling "criticized." I felt energized to revise. The others taking the class offered so many incisive, thoughtful, and supportive comments. I've produced two viable chapters. I can't say enough good things about my experience at the Attic."  --  Helen Sinoradzki

"I just finished Merridawn Duckler's short story class, and I want to tell you something you probably know--she's a fantastic instructor. I teach homeless and transitional youth and know how difficult it can be to keep everyone on the same page (so to speak) and engaged and feeling inspired about their own work. Merridawn achieved this seemingly effortlessly. The structure of the class allowed everyone to grow as a writer no matter where they started from. I would definitely take this class again and recommend it to other."  --  Joy Cartier


More to come. 

Former students: Click here to send us something about your Attic experience