If you’ve ever been to a writing workshop — a good one — then you know it’s a lot like summer camp for adults. Lifelong relationships are forged. My best friend of 12 years is someone I met at a writing workshop. We lived together for 10 of those years.
If you aren’t lucky enough to take home your workshop BFF, it can leave you feeling a little lost when you return to your usual routine.
Angela Burton is a veteran of a number of writing workshops, and when she would return home, she always missed her “tribe.”
She’s also been a writing teacher here in Louisville — everywhere from continuing ed programs at Bellarmine, University of Louisville and Indiana University Southeast, to fifth grade at St. Francis Goshen.
One day, Burton was lamenting the fact that she missed her tribe when a friend suggested she use her teaching skills to create a new group at home, thus Feet to the Fire was born.
Feet to the Fire is a series of writers’ workshops that Burton created. The next classes kick off on Saturday, Nov. 1. Each workshop is a series of eight two-and-a-half-hour classes held in Burton’s living room in front of her fireplace at her Highlands home. She offers wine, beer and snacks to attendees. Burton described the atmosphere as “salon-like.” Classes are limited to 10 people (her current roster has 11 students because she just couldn’t say no).
The classes are “very guided,” says Burton, and each week has a theme. There are in-class writing prompts and students are given homework every week.
The class Eventbrite page features this description:
The idea for Feet to the Fire was born out of a deep need for connection and inspiration through writing. In this day and age of texts and Facebook, Feet to the Fire provides writers with good, old-fashioned face-to-face interactions. By committing to this group, we’ll hold one another’s “feet to the fire,” offering support, commitment, inspiration and motivation to each other, week in and week out.
“It’s not therapy,” says Burton, “but it’s therapeutic.” She believes having the classes in her home allows students to let their guard down and be vulnerable. While her current class is 10 women and one man, she stresses that she wants her classes to be as diverse as possible.
Students aren’t allowed to use electronics during the class — they’re writing the old-fashioned way with pen and paper.
The cost for the eight-week workshop is $200. Burton says having structured, paid classes rather than informal groups compels the students to commit and be accountable. One of her students is a newspaper editor who drives all the way from Morgantown, Ky.
Burton grew up in Bardstown, Ky., and attended U of L. She has her MFA in creative writing from Vermont College. In addition to her teaching career, she spent a great deal of time working for various nonprofits.
You can register for the next round of classes, which will be held on Saturday afternoons, here.