Few Words From Nightwriter's Founder Phyllis Theroux
Everyone has a story about how they came
to writing. I backed into it, after my more ambitious dreams - to be
a saint or at least a wonderful wife and mother - didn't pan out. One
sleepless night I got out of bed and tried to figure out, on paper,
why someone who had followed all the rules for having a good life
had wound up having a bad life. The next morning, I re-read what
I had written and decided that perhaps it was publishable and sent
it into a magazine. They not only accepted
it but paid me $500. I used the $500 to pay for a babysitter and began
to write every day.
Once my writing' career was somewhat established. I started teaching others
what I knew. Nearly everyone had day jobs and had to write at night. The name, "Nightwriters" stuck.
But what began 30 years ago as a small group of people trying to breathe life
into words around my dining room table has grown into a large network of friends
and writers here and abroad. Writers must devote the greater part of their
time to being alone. But they wither without a community to share their
lives and work. Nightwriters tend to stay connected to each other because
the connection they make - on and off the page - at a Nightwriters seminar
Not long ago I received an e-mail from a writer in California who asked if
I thought a Nightwriters seminar would be appropriate for her. I wrote back
to say that a typical table of Nightwriters consists of about half-published
writers who are looking for new direction or inspiration and half novices,
who have a strong desire to write but have never given it the attention it
There are other ways, beyond attending
an intensive writing seminar, to skin the creative cat, but I
have found that the most long-lasting results come from setting
aside a chunk of time and having everything but the writing taken
care of by someone else. This is what Nightwriters attempts to
Creating the proper atmosphere is
like picking the right restaurant. Most writers need a combination
of quiet, stimulation, privacy and community. They don't want
to feel trapped on a mountain, or caught in a crowd. I'm always
looking for new sites, but I have rejected many beautiful places
because they lacked one or more essential ingredients.
In 2013 we are meeting once in Italy at Villa Spannocchia. In 2014, we will convene again at the Bishop's Ranch in Healdsburg, California. The rest of the time, I will be trying to follow the words of Henry Miller.
"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." That is what I will be doing, except when I am sitting around the table, paying
attention to you.