One day workshop in Lafayette, CA



“When Joyce teaches it is like watching a work of art under construction. As I watched her take us through writing a story, I kept thinking that the whole scene could have been set to a Mozart piece.”

This workshop is for anyone who has always wanted to do in-depth work with Joyce but can’t get to her weeklong Guatemala retreat, or doesn’t have a whole week to spend on a workshop.  For the first time, this summer, Joyce will be offering a 3-day workshop on memoir and personal storytelling.

The workshop will be held at Joyce’s lakefront home in Greenfield, New Hampshire—an easy 1 hour drive from the Manchester, NH airport; a 2 hour drive from Boston; or 5 hours from New York.  We’ve arranged for the rental of two cabins within walking distance of Joyce’s home on the lake for those who’d like to stay very close. (For those looking for somewhat more luxurious accommodations, we recommend the Hancock Inn, or the Greenfield Inn, about six miles down the road.)

As with all of Joyce’s workshops, she asks that each writer submit a manuscript of a first person, true story (a self-contained essay or an excerpt from a longer piece of work), no more than 2,500 words. These essays will be shared with the group, in advance of the workshop, so by the time the group gathers, everyone is familiar with each others’ story. In some cases, a participant may opt, instead, to send a letter describing the story he or she wants to tell—but hasn’t yet written.

We’ll gather on Thursday night, July 11th, for drinks and appetizers on the dock of Joyce’s house on the lake.  This will be a time for the group to meet and get to know each other. The serious work begins the next morning.  


Friday morning, the group meets for coffee, tea, fruit and cinnamon toast at 8 a.m. on Joyce’s porch.  At 8:30 a.m., we get to work. Each manuscript will be studied closely by Joyce, with participation by the group.  

The group will break for a simple lunch of sandwiches, with time for a quick swim or writing, then get back to work until around 5:00 pm.  Joyce will make the shift from workshopping to giving her one-hour craft talk on the construction of the short, personal, Modern Love-style essay (what Joyce calls “a container essay”, because it allows a writer to explore a large theme in her life within the framework or container of a single dramatic story.)    

Everyone is on their own for dinner.  (We’ll suggest a number of nice nearby options.  Or you can bring your own food to heat up at your cabin.  Writers may wish to dine together in the lovely little town of Peterborough, ten miles down the road, or the lovely Hancock Inn, even closer.)

Saturday morning, the schedule remains the same, with a second pre-sunset craft talk, from 5 to 6. The group will share a catered dinner together that night.  Those who choose may take a sauna and a swim, or explore the lake on a paddle board. Or write, of course.

Sunday, we’ll meet for a final time after a breakfast quiche from 8:30 to noon.  The workshop finishes at noon—leaving plenty of time for those who need to get to the airport to catch a flight home.  Though your lakeside accommodations end on Sunday morning, some may want to stay on in New Hampshire for another day or two.  It’s a beautiful time of year in New Hampshire (and Joyce will be happy to provide some suggestions for great places to visit, nearby.)  

Joyce’s workshop coordinator, Peggy Cook, is always available to answer questions. If you wish to extend your stay in New Hampshire, Peggy or Joyce  are happy to provide some suggestions for great places to visit.