LJ Booth the road that leads me home
BOOKING INFO : workshops/retreats

Over the past few years I’ve consciously focused on “programming in” more quality time away the biz of music, from the regular routine….and the list of chores at home.  Scheduling in that artist time has made a big difference in how much writing I get done, because often times what I need is a couple days of continuous focus, verses a two hour segment, every other day.

I have my private places I can go to for isolation……but there is also the option of going to where there are a whole group of people who are doing the same thing: paying close attention to their creative energy……and giving it the time and attention it’s been waiting for.  There is something special about sharing that retreat time, especially with those who are doing the same work……(and who, like you, may need someone’s fresh ears to bounce a new idea off of).  In that inspired atmosphere there can be a lot of synergy that comes into play, in both group and individual creative work.

This island in Rainy Lake (on the border of Minnesota and Canada) is as fine a place for a retreat as I can think of.  It has all the isolated beauty that you can imagine…..and an amazing rustic feel.  It is the former home of Ernest Oberholtzer, who’s legacy as an outdoorsman and a protector of wilderness is still very present in the cabins, and library and charm of this quiet corner of the globe (in that portion of the lake, the proportion of humans to eagles is probably close to one to one).

The Oberholtzer Foundation now protects this pristine refuge, and programs the summer weeks for different groups, from poets, to photographers, to painters, to songwriters  This year (2010) I will be organizing the ten folks who comprise the songwriter’s group.  I invite anyone who is interested, to contact me about joining us for the week (which hasn’t been nailed down yet, but will probably be in the second half of August this year).  I can provide more information and websites to go to, for those interested. 

What I can say about this jewel of an island is….I’ve been there for the last three summers and I hope to continue going for as long as I’m able.  Each group is unique……..with different talents and gifts to share.  But it’s the work and the play and the comaraderie that make it an amazing experience. To see more photos.

Another jewel, in a completely different setting, Full Circle retreat is located in the coulee region of southwest Wisconsin…..with long wooded valleys, trout streams, and a smattering of old farmhouses.

Like Mallard, there are different groups who meet to workshop their respective art forms…..but at Full Circle these are primarily weekend retreats (more realistic, for many).  And unlike Mallard Island, this is a weekend that I facilitate as a full workshop. Here’s a description…

How do songs get written? There are about as many ways to write them as there are songs. Songs are an intersection of story and music that has no address, no formula, and no timetable. This workshop is a time to let the playful writer in you put some of your stories to music. Discover ways of writing and of playing music that spawn melodies and images....that have not yet been joined, not yet been sung. The ability to play an instrument isn't required for the workshop (although, if you have one, please bring it along).

All writing experience levels are welcome.

The songwriter’s weekend in 2010 will be the weekend of Sept. 24-26 (Fri.-Sun).  For more details, contact Kathleen Grittner at Kathleen@fullcircleretreat.com…..or call 608-675-3828 (April through October) or 952-920-2384 (November through March).

This is another pristine spot to immerse yourself in a verdant landscape that is unique…and a night sky where the stars have little competition.

I find the workshop/retreat work very gratifying. For those of you who know of other retreats....and workshops….for songwriting, please pass on your connections. There can always be more creative time programmed in…to offset that unending home chores list.








Thanks again for inviting me to participate in the Mallard Island retreat.  It was phenomenal to be around such an outstanding group of people.  It was especially great to hear your ideas and insights.  I can’t remember when I’ve had such a meaningful and enjoyable week, at least from a musical standpoint. Tony Rongstad

I'd be more than glad to add my recommendation conveying both the awesomeness and roll-up-your-sleeves nature of song workshopping with you.

Hmm...seems to me the world will be well-served by you creating more petri dish containers for songwriters to grow both their stuff and them selves into full blossom. You do have a rare combo of abilities, discipline, open mind and walking-your-talk experience to shepard other creatives along as they find their own trail up the mountain. Mallard Island & Full Circle Retreat Participant

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