Writing and Yoga Coming to Fairhaven

Stephanie Renée dos Santos is a Red Wheelbarrow Writer from a distance. She’s been following us for years from her home in Brazil. This summer she’ll be coming back to visit Bellingham and to lead a writing and yoga workshop in Fairhaven. 


Writing & Yoga Workshops

By Stephanie Renée dos Santos

Writing and Yoga are soul mates. Yoga reveals insights; Writing is the recorder. Yoga balances rhythms of breath; writing surfs breath through oceans of language. Yoga taps the unconscious mind; writing transcribes the wisdom of the heart. Writing requires work; yoga is the assistant. Writing is an offering to the world; yoga eases the offering’s challenges. Writing is a solo act; yoga provides community.

Yoga supports our writing.

Why not join me for a workshop that combines these two generative activities?

yoga & writing

What are the benefits one gains and obtains from attending this type of writing workshop?  Writing and yoga workshops aim to kindle your creative fire and liberate your authentic voice and deepest truths. Writers need dedicated time to connect with the Muse, or to bring concentrated effort to begin or complete a project—time that can be hard to come by in everyday life. Everyone’s standards are raised in a community of writers. And getting outside of one’s everyday writing atmosphere can trigger new ideas and imagination. A writing workshop combined with yoga offers an ideal space in which to concentrate on writing without interruptions and to help you relax into your work. Yoga assists in opening space within you for your writing to: flow, burst, seep.

Writers often suffer from physical pain in the shoulders, neck, head, eyes, lower back and hips. Stress in the body can inhibit or block creativity. Yoga helps reverse and relieve bodily tension; when the body is eased, so are the tensions of the mind.

Yoga Benefits for the Writer:

§  Open your chest, bring your shoulders back, loosen up your neck, and increase circulation to your head. Improve your posture after long days at the computer and reading

§  Learn eye exercise to prevent or relieve eye strain

§  Stretch and awaken your mind

§  Open your hips, where creativity and emotions often get trapped

§  Learn to create and access the state that creativity likes to manifest into: A state of empowerment, focus, grounded intuition, strength, compassion

§  Learn to set intentions/goals for your writing and visualize/meditate on them

§  Create balance and develop concentration, which will increase your ability to focus clearly and develop the staying power to write through difficulties

§  Experience community

§  Release your mind and body and open the space for ideas to flow

Participating in a writing workshop is a public declaration of being a writer and demonstrates your courage and willingness to test your ideas—honing, sharing, and readying them for the world.  Yoga aides and eases the writing endeavor.

Stephanie Renée dos Santos is a fiction (with a passion for historical fiction) and freelance writer and certified yoga instructor. She leads “Saraswati Writing & Yoga Workshops/Retreats” in the United States, Brazil and abroad.


Next workshop: “Magic and Verve in Your Writing & Yoga” June 20-22, 2015 in Fairhaven, WA USA. *Early Bird Registration open until March 31st 2015…take advantage! For more information about this upcoming workshop: www.stephaniereneedossantos.com.  Email Stephanie with questions: stephaniereneedossantos@gmail.com




Book Review by Laura Kalpakian

On West of Sunset

west of sunset

Every time I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished last novel, The Last Tycoon, I want to slap him. I want to say: why, why, why couldn’t you keep it together long enough to finish the book? At  least to leave more than these fragmented scenes draped gauzily around an enigmatic central character, Monroe Stahr. Stewart O’Nan’s new novel, West of Sunset, [Viking, 2015] provides an answer to that frustrating question.

Taking as its core, the last few years of Fitzgerald’s life in Hollywood before his death in December, 1940, West of Sunset paints a sad, unforgettable portrait of the artist as a self-destroying, raging alcoholic. It portrays his working life, and the women who loved him: his mistress, Sheilah Graham, his daughter, Scottie,  his mad, estranged wife, Zelda,  his accommodating young secretary, Frances Kroll, as well as friends like Dorothy Parker. (Parker, naturally, has all the good lines in the book.) The novel makes scenic Fitzgerald’s letters which have been published and republished in collections and in biographies. There, these episodes might merit a paragraph or a page; here they come to life.

Chief among these episodes is the Dartmouth Winter Carnival in 1938 where FSF went with young Budd Schulberg, a Dartmouth alum, son of one of Hollywood’s most powerful men. Ostensibly the two went to collect “atmosphere” for a frothy movie they were writing about collegiate antics. FSF’s collegiate antic days were long behind him. O’Nan makes scenically vivid this pivotal moment: the bitter New England cold (FSF having left his coat on the train) the colossal intake of alcohol, the freezing sleeping arrangements (their reservation had been lost, and the two were stuck in an unheated attic), the whole mad, crash-and-burn which left FSF in a New York hospital. Schulberg was a young man whose happy mantra, “Just one more,”[drink] made no inroads on either his health or his future, but “Just one more” was disastrous for FSF.  His reputation following this incident made him more or less un-hireable. Only then did he set to serious work on The Last Tycoon.

Within the steadily encroaching limits of alcoholism and ill health, the FSF in West of Sunset wanted to work, did work, even diligently, at various studios,  slaved away on dialogue and story lines, all of which were snatched from him, and either trashed, or handed on to other writers.  FSF and his ilk (and there were many) swung like monkeys from tree to tree, from one brief contract to another, hoping for a screen credit, hoping to eke out a living, if not a life.  For FSF the money paid for these contracts diminished steadily; the contracts themselves dried up.

O’Nan’s spotlight on FSF’s money troubles makes plain, and pathetic the author’s constant scrabbling and borrowing that soured many of his closest relationships. Rendering these woes as they actually affected FSF’s life and work, again, makes scenically vivid what a biography can only allude to if there is a footnote.  Though West of Sunset is not exactly A Day in the Life, the novel has that feel of everyday life, the grit and dander, the woes and meager wages, the uncertainties. FSF’s stories were declined by magazines that had once supported him on a great buoyant tide of money and acclaim. His books were out of print. The repeated blows to his pride in his work (and the blows administered by the studios as well) must surely have exacerbated the drinking, his diet of chocolate bars and Cokes, burning the candle at both ends.

For this reader, FSF’s lover, Sheilah Graham,  never achieved narrative girth; she seemed  a swooping, and (understandably) irritated angel to FSF. His strained relationships with Zelda and her family were given dynamic portrayal, and his affection for his daughter made plain and poignant.

More vivid than these women, however was the ghost of Monroe Stahr. In this novel with FSF himself as a character, the unrealized  Stahr beckons FSF, entreats him to write. One wishes the character had been more firm with the author.

Happy Hour/Open Mic Social This Saturday!


A Red Wheelbarrow in the Rain?

It’s true! Rain or shine, you’re invited to our monthly happy hour/open mic social, this Saturday, December 6, 4:15, at Uisce, the Irish Pub, 1319 Commercial St., Bellingham. Sign up to share 5 minutes of your writing, or just come, listen and be warmed by the glow of word lovers around you,

Bring some munchies, if you’ve got ‘em.

See you there!

Placebo at Village Books!


Bravo Red Wheelbarrow Writers! Placebo lives! 

Please join us for selected readings from the novel

on Monday, December 8, 6:30-8:30, at Village Books.

We Did It!