We’re Never Far from a Book

Jane Underwood

Founder

Jane Underwood passed away in February 2016. She was the founder and former director of The Writing Salon, as well as a writer, editor, photographer, and teacher. She created and facilitated the immensely popular and still-thriving Daily Write Round Robin class. Her poetry, erotica, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including The San Francisco Chronicle, The Sun, Salon.com, Western Humanities Review, Ripe Fruit, and Best Women’s Erotica. Her posthumous collection of poems, When My Heart Goes Dark, I Turn the Porch Light On, was published in April 2017.

Ben Jackson

Executive Director

Ben Jackson has been the director since March 2016. Over the past fifteen years, he has taught composition, literature, and creative writing at a wide range of colleges, schools, and retreat centers, including the University of San Francisco, The Writing Salon, and the Esalen Institute. His writing has appeared in New England Review, Southern Review, Hudson Review, FIELD, Prairie Schooner, The Collagist, and elsewhere. He has won awards and fellowships from the Tor House Foundation, Warren Wilson College, Vermont Studio Center, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, and Jentel Artist Residency Program.

Meet Our Teachers

Our teachers have spent years as committed writers learning the ins and outs of the craft. With passion, humor, insight, and sensitivity, they bring their wide-ranging knowledge into the classroom. They know how to spark creativity, lead a range of discussions (from the literary to the personal), and offer constructive and compassionate feedback.

Caption describing the photo

Writing is a very solitary occupation. My students inspire me to keep going. There is a wonderful range: beginners, people who have written in an academic setting but lost their creativity, older adults who never found their creative voices. I love seeing them give themselves permission to play. It gives me permission to do it myself.

Elaine Beale, Writing Salon Teacher

Hear from Our Students

Lawyers, entrepreneurs, photographers, taxi drivers, psychologists, journalists, retired folks, folks in between jobs or just out of college—people from all walks of life have taken classes at The Writing Salon. You don’t need to worry about fitting in. Anybody can be a writer, for any reason.

  • Marilyn J. Curry
    Marilyn J. Curry Clinical Social Worker

    What are your most valuable lessons from your Writing Salon experience?

    There are many valuable lessons I’ve learned from the WS, depending on where I was in my own development as a writer. In the beginning, with memoir writing, I learned the importance of “voice” in my writing. How to tell a good story, and also how to trust the process of “free writing”, to let the story come out and shape it later. Years later with novel writing, I had to learn technical skills, including the impact of choosing what POV to write my characters in, as well as the challenge of managing the scope of making a leap to something as large as a novel.

    How has The Writing Salon community impacted your personal and creative life?

    The WS classes have provided a social place to bring the writing and meet other writers. Writing can be isolating and the WS classes provide some informal social support to give and receive encouragement, as well as an opportunity to learn from each other.

    If applicable, how have you felt about the peer and instructor critiques that you have received at The Writing Salon? Please explain.

    In the several novel writing classes I’ve taken at WS over the past couple of years, the critique of my instructor was critical to my writing learning curve. There are many ways to get lost in the process of writing a novel. I felt that the expert knowledge of the craft and the practice of novel writing I received, helped me to avoid several of the pitfalls. I also found the practice of positive, helpful weekly feedback, from an assigned writing partner in class, encouraging and sustaining.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Inspiring.

  • Emma Buls
    Emma Buls HR & Administration for a renewables company

    How many classes have you taken at The Writing Salon? And which ones, as far as you remember?

    Many! I started with Jenny Pritchett's You Should Write That Down! and then Kathleen McClung's Intro to Memoir class and have followed up with five or six sessions of Memoir Continuation. I've also taken several day classes: Jenny Pritchett's submissions class (can't remember the actual title), Dianne Jacob's Will Write For Food, Lisa Alpine's Travel Writing class. I'm currently in the Daily Write Round Robin with Kathy Garlick.

    What are your most valuable lessons from your Writing Salon experience?

    I've learned to trust myself more and take more risks in my writing. This thinking has seeped into other areas of my life.

    How has The Writing Salon community impacted your personal and creative life?

    I write every day now. Every day! I submitted to and won first place in memoir at the Soul Making Keats Writing Competition in 2015 and took third place and honorable mention in 2016. I have several pieces, both memoir and short story, that I plan to submit to several publications. The goal is to be published.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Inspiring.

  • Sam Jacobs
    Sam Jacobs Lawyer/Yoga Teacher

    What are your most valuable lessons from your Writing Salon experience?

    The classes I took at the Salon were my first exposure to workshop critique and participating in the creative process with other students. I felt as the sessions progressed, I read work (mine and others) more critically, saw areas for growth and clarity, and identified how to better help my peers by asking questions.

    How has The Writing Salon community impacted your personal and creative life?

    The community at the Salon during both workshops was inspiring and wonderfully supportive. I felt encouraged to find so many people who did not define themselves as writers per se being writers.

    Are there classes and events that you’d like to see us run at The Writing Salon?

    I love the reading series. Please keep them up! The offerings so far have been very exciting and I look forward to taking another class soon.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Inspiring.

  • Chris Ernest Hall
    Chris Ernest Hall Writer

    What steps did you take to become a committed writer?

    I go to the cafe every day without my phone.

    How has The Writing Salon community impacted your personal and creative life?

    A great deal. I have made new friends, rebooted and re-invigorated my writing career.

    If applicable, how have you felt about the peer and instructor critiques that you have received at The Writing Salon? Please explain.

    Mostly quite positively! I had no idea what to expect, but I've found the quality of instruction and feedback to be quite high.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Inspiring.

  • Lillian Schroth
    Lillian Schroth Journalist/Communications Director

    What steps did you take to become a committed writer?

    I established my own strict structure and deadlines.

    What are your most valuable lessons from your Writing Salon experience?

    Let go of perfection and play. Keep writing and the screenplay will slowly take shape.

    If applicable, how have you felt about the peer and instructor critiques that you have received at The Writing Salon? Please explain.

    They were great and provided very constructive criticism and a tremendous amount of encouragement and support.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Rare.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

0

Start typing and press Enter to search