This was not an easy decision. I love working with students face-to-face. My usual Hyatt House location in Morristown, NJ was convenient for students in both Morris County and Bergen County. We worked from a tiny conference suite, with a fridge stocked with cold drinks; we could spread out writing supplies and Trader Joe's snacks on a conference table for six. We had great brick-oven pizza delivered for lunch. Sometimes i brought my dog with me. But as I thought about the day, it seemed way too risky. A May New York Times story, "Is it safer to visit a coffee shop or a gym?" made the point that as we begin to re-open, the two elements that make a location dangerous are the amount of time people spend there, and how close they are to each other. Gyms, for example, have fewer visitors per square foot, but because visitors linger longer, the chance that they'll interact and spread the virus is greater. In the CEBC workshop, students work together for a whole day, sitting three or four feet apart. There is lots of conversation, and during individual writing conferences, I sit right next to students, looking at their screens and having long conversations. The contagion risk is just too high. For the last three or four years, about a third of my workshops have been online. We use Go-to-Meeting software, which allows all of us to see and hear each other, and share screens, and Google Docs, which allows me to co-edit a document live with a student. The content is the same. The activities are the same. The results are the same. The amount of one-to-one time is often greater, because I am willing to do a virtual workshop for only one person if no one else signs up for that date. We may miss a bit of humor, and the cool snacks, of course. But it will absolutely be a satisfying and productive day.
JULY, AUGUST, AND SEPTEMBER DATES AVAILABLE BY REQUEST.
GOOD NEWS! When I'm not spending $250 a night for a hotel room, plus kennel fees, plus a fridge full of drinks, snacks and fresh fruit, plus takeout pizza, I can afford to run a workshop for just one or two students. I'm here in the beautiful Berkshires with my garden, my two dachshunds, and my bike. Let me know when you want to do this, and unless I am out of town ( I HOPE to get out of town from time to time) it's a go.
NOTE: Virtual workshops are taught from my home, in WIlliamstown, Massachusetts. If you live in or near Berkshire County, Massachusetts, you can make any of these dates a LIVE workshop by contacting me. There's a $100.00 hometown discount!