Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Writers at Soapstone: Shelley Washburn

Shelley Washburn was a resident at Soapstone for a week in March of 2006. She wrote to us afterwards:

“Instead of polishing the story I brought with me, I tore it apart and stitched it back together again. I am very pleased with it—I would say I had an extremely successful week.

“I was feeling anti-social when I came to Soapstone and didn’t think I would want to interact much with the other writer. I was looking forward only to getting back to my writing and to slowing down and having time to sleep, think, and listen to the stream. But that changed when I met her—she was funny, creative, smart and soulful. We found we had the same work habits and food preferences so we ate dinner together. We did dishes and chores together. We were so compatible that there was no need to discuss a process for living and working together.

“Every evening after dinner we read each other's work (she helped me see where I had extraneous scenes and characters in my story). Then we’d talk late into the night about our lives and writing and politics and how we could make ethical contributions to our community.”

Shelley Washburn’s articles and short stories have appeared in various publications, including DoubleTake magazine and two anthologies by the Crossing Press. In 2005, she won The Journal’s annual short story contest for her piece “When the River Lay Quiet with Snow.” She is the director of Pacific University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program.