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Fri, Dec. 13

Author Laraine Herring bridges writing and the body

Courtesy photo<br>
Prescott author Laraine Herring, director for the Yavapai College creative writing program, plans to explore the connection between writing and the body during a two-day writing retreat in Chino Valley June 21 and June 22.

Courtesy photo<br> Prescott author Laraine Herring, director for the Yavapai College creative writing program, plans to explore the connection between writing and the body during a two-day writing retreat in Chino Valley June 21 and June 22.

When it comes to her knowledge of writing and its physical connection with the body, author Laraine Herring is something of a connoisseur.

Herring is the author of seven books and director of the creative writing program at Yavapai College. She also teaches psychology - thanks to her two masters degrees in creative writing and psychology.

While each of her books, she says, takes about a decade to produce, she's always working on more than one at a time. Two of her books focus on the craft of writing, such as "Writing Begins with a Breath," which was published in 2007.

"It takes 10 years to sell a book. It takes less time to write it," Herring said.

But besides writing herself, she has passion for stimulating that creative quality in others as well.

"Writers tend to be disconnected from their bodies. They're in their heads all the time. The stories are really in the belly, in the womb," Herring said. "Stories aren't about an idea; they're about a feeling. The feelings are deep. The ideas are abstract. I believe that, no matter what you want to do with your writing, if you're called to do it and you feel compelled to do it; it's in some way going to help you in your life."

"Writing Begins with a Breath" and her subsequent book "The Writing Warrior" slide nicely into her upcoming two-day retreat, called Ignite Your Story, which takes a body-based approach to writing.

Herring's upcoming retreat is scheduled for Saturday, June 21, and Sunday, June 22, at Body Language Studios in Chino Valley. Ten seats are still available. Cost for the retreat is $225. Ignite Your Story kicks off Saturday evening from 6-9 p.m. and continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Expect exercises in breathing, movement, some dancing, shaking, as well as Herring's 25 years of experience in writing and teaching.

"I'm very intuitive. I listen to what people are saying and respond to that. I'm able to bring what a group needs in that moment," Herring said. "To me the body and writing is natural."

Herring has taught retreats with Kripalu in the Berkshires, an internationally known yoga and health facility, for the last eight years.

Ignite Your Story is sponsored by Fierce Monkey Tribe - an organization created by Herring to explore the craft of writing and includes online writing classes and more. Herring launched Fierce Monkey Tribe in March. June's retreat, while not the first that Herring has instructed, is the first to be offered through Fierce Monkey Tribe.

For more information on the retreat, visit fiercemonkeytribe.com. More on Herring's books can be found online at laraineherring.com.

Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier

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