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Literature, Writing and Personal Growth

The Writer's Journey



Many of us hold a deep dream of wanting to write. We want to write so we can understand ourselves more deeply and so that we can be seen. We sense that there are stories living inside of us that need to be told, but in our busy lives, we have not been able to create the time, space or circumstances in which to do so.

This one-day workshop will give you that time. During our day of writing together and reading aloud, you will tap into your creativity, explore your wild mind, and learn the basic tools you need to develop a rich, vital writing life.

The Writer’s Journey is rooted in writing practice, developed by Natalie Goldberg in her classic book, Writing Down the Bones. The class is appropriate for both beginning and experienced writers.

Students should bring a lunch.

Follow this link to our Class Resources page, which includes important information about this class.

Sat., Feb. 23
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Room: 1522
Register before Jan. 28: $78
Register after Jan. 28: $90

register online

Laura Davis is the author of 7 non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. She teaches weekly writing workshops and has been mentoring and supporting writers for the past 16 years.

So, You Want to Write a Novel?


Have you always wanted to write a novel, but don't know where to start? Has your idea has been running through your head for a while now, but you’re not sure where to start? How do you turn your brilliant idea into a completed manuscript? Maybe you have started, and it’s not quite what you want it to be, or you’re not sure how to finish it. This workshop is designed to give participants the tools they need to plot out and complete the first draft of their novel.

During this workshop we’ll review popular and familiar stories from movies and books, then break down the components of the story into its essential elements, so students can see how the story is put together, piece by piece. We'll cover character development, plot, the three-act structure, point-of-view, scene building, and dialog. We'll discuss the point of view (POV) you choose for your novel, how to write characters readers will fall in love with, the do’s and don’ts of dialog, and the plot, pacing, and structure that will have your readers turning the pages.

2 Sat., Feb. 23 & March 2
9:00 am - 12:00 noon
Room: 429
Register before Mar. 25: $78
Register after Mar. 25: $85

register online

Shelly King - see bio below


Fiction Critique Workshop

Critique is essential to taking your writing to the next level. Giving feedback to another writer is supportive and helpful to that writer, but it’s essential that the critique is honest and constructive. This workshop will help students understand how to read critically, give feedback in a way that is helpful to the writer, and to hear and absorb feedback about their own work. In a supportive and positive environment, students will submit a short story, or part of a longer piece, to the instructor and their classmates for feedback.

Students are expected to have already written work in draft form that they want to improve.

5 Thu., Feb. 28 & March 28
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Room: 429
Register before Jan. 28: $85
Register after Jan. 28: $90

register online

Shelly King left a career in the high tech world to write short stories and novels. After publishing many short stories in literary journals, her novel, The Moment of Everything, was published by Grand Central Publishing (Hachette) and has been translated to 15 languages around the world.

Writing Womanhood for Women of All Ages and Writers at All Stages

writing woman

Women live their lives in cycles—seasonal, biological, interpersonal. Discover how to spin your life into story in this inspirational and experiential writing workshop for women of all ages and writers at all stages. Lisa will encourage you to get started and empower you to keep going. She will show you how to enrich your life by integrating the practice of writing—and the persona of writer—into your daily rhythms.

For this session of Writing Womanhood, we will use the image of the circle as our guide and muse. We will begin with a story circle and end with circle writing. In between, we will write about the overlapping circles in our lives: family circles (in-laws and outlaws), intimate circles (friends and lovers), spiritual circles (faith and worship), concrete circles (the kitchen sink, our bodies, the moon). We will use sketches, objects, and storytelling to warm up for writing, and impromptu “writing starts” to give us a clear set of footprints onto the blank page. As models for our own writing, we will read published essays and poems by such revered women writers as Anne Lamott, Vivian Gornick, and Elizabeth Gilbert. Our focus is not on product but rather on the practice of writing in a Woman’s Notebook every day—two pages or 15 minutes. To that end, we will throw away the rules that bind our imagination, silence the critical inner voices that stifle our creativity, and learn how to carve out the time and space for writing.

By the end of six weeks, you will have in hand the beginnings of stories drawn from different circles in your life. And you will belong to a new circle, a circle of women who write.
Open to new and continuing students.

Materials fee includes supplies for creative, mixed media exercises that will be completed in class and at home to inspire and inform your writing, as well as a class handbook.

Please see Extension’s Class resources web page for additional, important information about this class.

6 Thu., Feb. 21 - March 28
10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Room: 2100B
Register before Jan. 28: $138
Register after Jan. 28: $145
Plus a $25 materials fee payable at registration

register online

Lisa Garrigues, an award-winning writer, teacher, and speaker, is the author of Writing Motherhood (Scribner) and the forthcoming memoir, Skinny-Dipping. She comes to Cabrillo from New York City, where she taught memoir-writing classes at the 92nd Street Y. Lisa is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, and Hedgebrook. She has a bachelor’s in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s in English education from Teachers College at Columbia University.

Memoir Writing: Exploring Memories & Meaning




Everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s inspiring, tragic, funny or sad. Memoir is one of the most popular and compelling kinds of writing today, focusing on times in your life where you bring all that you feel and have learned to your recollection. With innovative exercises for eliciting memories and writing memoirs, you’ll discover stories that intrigue and even surprise you with their power for self-discovery. It all begins with your own rich life, refreshing memories and writing about them using tried and true writing prompts that help bring these stories to life.

Lauren has been offering this workshop to Cabrillo Extension students for over a dozen years and students have come back again and again to kindle new stories and re-visit ones they wish to further develop.

The course is geared to all levels of writing and open to everyone.

Sat., May 18
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Room: Horticulture 5005

Register before March 25: $78
Register after March 25: $85
Register two or more:
$75 each
Plus a $5 materials fee payable in class

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Lauren Mari-Navarro, is a trained facilitator of the Soul Collage® Method encouraging creativity and self-discovery. She has a private practice in the Santa Cruz community.

Ignited Women: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom


In the second half of life there are new frontiers that come with unique and complex challenges. From age fifty onward long held beliefs or ideas about identity, relationships, creativity and satisfaction, are often seen through a whole new lens. This course will help you expand your life skills and provide a framework to enact practice and rites of passage that help with these new chapters. They will prepare you to embody the wisdom of your life experience, and find meaning during the challenges you face.

Inspired by the book The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom by Angeles Arrien, you will be guided through eight metaphorical gates to deepen your wisdom and help shift your perspective about what is available as you move into the third phase of your life. You will develop a deeper knowledge and awareness of what challenges hold you back in each gate, and develop a plan of action to move forward. With tools to help you master your lessons and gifts, you will be more deeply aligned with your purpose, discover your untended creative talents, and feel more fulfilled in midlife and beyond.

Two metaphorical gates will be presented in each of the Saturday sessions, followed with discussion, written reflections, art work, or rituals that explore and reflect the meaning of each gate in our lives. Using the practices covered in this class, you will find the courage to enact your highest values as midlife women, and experience deeper freedom and fulfillment.

Your material fee covers the cost of the book, The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom by Angeles Arrien, your Ignited Women workbook journal, and all of your art supplies for projects we complete in class.

Wed., April 24 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm
4 Sat., April 27 - May 18 from 9:00 - 1:00 pm
Room: 2100B
Register before Jan. 28: $148
Register after Jan. 28: $158
Register two or more: $145

Plus a$25 materials fee payable at registration

register onlineBring a Friend icon


Beth Nelson is a registered yoga instructor who is passionate about inspiring bold-souled midlife women to reclaim their own vitality in order to lead a deeply fulfilling life. She leads yoga classes, workshops and retreats throughout Santa Cruz County, and has worked at Cabrillo in the Academy for College Excellence.

How to Use Your Skill and Talent to Travel Free!


If you are working a 9-5 job and want more time & money to travel or are one of the 75-million baby boomers retiring & pursuing their travel dream, this class will show you how to use your talents & life experience to travel for free! Your instructor, Gina Henry will show you how she has afforded to travel for free for the past 25 years to 93 countries and all 50 states. If you are near retirement, retired, re-tooling or changing careers, a student, or anyone who likes the idea of making additional income to support their travel dream and keep their retirement money in the bank, this class is for you.

You will learn over 200 ways to travel free, earn FREE airline tickets, hotel nights, cruises, tours, car rentals, vacation meals, and more in the USA and worldwide! Maximize your reward miles and points. Mystery shop, teach English, become a tour guide, or organize your own trips for family and friends, write articles, shoot photos, volunteer or get paid to drive. Learn about remote work, fun work vacations, paid travel opportunities, the best travel websites, packing tips, solo travel, safety, health, culture, negotiations, and the 50 most important words in any language that will empower you to travel anywhere.

Your materials fee will cover the 100-page book, Retire Early & Travel Free, which helps you plan a trip, make it free, and achieve your travel goals!

Tue., May 21
6:00 – 9:30 pm
Room: 609
Register before March 25: $58
Register after March 25: $65
Plus a $15 materials fee paid in class

register online

Wed., May 22
6:00 – 9:30 pm
Room: 608
Register before March 25: $58
Register after March 25: $65
Plus a $15 materials fee paid in class

register online

Gina Henry holds master’s in International Management, is a travel expert, writer, and professional speaker, and owner of Go Global, Inc., a company she founded to help people find affordable ways to support their travel habit. She has been traveling for free for over twenty-five years and has traveled to 93 countries & all 50 states.

SoulCollage®: For the Love of Images and the Changes They Bring!

soul c

Give expression to your life story in all its beauty and complexity! SoulCollage® is a flexible and profound expressive arts method through which you make your own unique cards for personal reading. Anyone who has a love of images and is looking for an intuitive process for change and growth will find this process meaningful. Your cards give voice to all of who you are and even offer expression to the qualities you want to bring into your life!

In its 11th year offered at Cabrillo Extension, SoulCollage® originated right here in Santa Cruz County by local author Seena Frost and is now in 39 countries around the world! Come experience for yourself what has inspired thousands: a method deeply personal, incredibly fun, and perfect for the quiet individualist as well as the one who loves community. As simple as the ingredients of cut images, a pair of scissors, and some glue, this process is considered by many to be transformational and vitally expressive, even with zero art experience!

This is a course for beginners as well as those already familiar with SoulCollage® who will enjoy having time to review concepts and create several new cards in a relaxing and lovely environment. Participants will be able to immediately apply what they learn during this creative day together. Anyone can make SoulCollage® cards!

Follow this link to our Class Resources page, which includes materials lists and other important information about classes.

Sat., April 27
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Room: Horticulture 5005

Register before March 25: $82
Register after March 25: $90
Register two or more: $80 each

plus $20 materials fee payable to instructor in class

register online

Lauren Mari-Navarro, LCSW and Mischa Eovaldi, LCSW are trained facilitators of the SoulCollage® Method encouraging creativity and self-discovery. Both Lauren and Mischa have their own private counseling practices in Santa Cruz County.

Writing Motherhood


Every mother has a story to tell. Whether you are a new mother or a grandmother, someone who writes regularly or someone who has long dreamed of writing, discover how to find your stories in everyday moments of motherhood—the extremes, routines, and in-betweens. Learn how to throw away the rules that stifle your creativity as you give yourself the gift of time and space to write. Join a community of other mothers who want to chronicle and clarify their experiences. This supportive writing workshop promises to renew your spirit, awaken your memories, and ignite your pen.

We will begin with “Becoming a Writing Mother” and end with “Holding On and Letting Go.” In between, we will explore such universal topics as “Birth Stories and Other Beginnings,” “Names and Nicknames,” “Mothers Don’t Get Mad and Other Myths,” and “Mothering Our Mothers.” We will use scents, props, and storytelling to warm up for writing, and impromptu “writing starts” to give us a clear set of footprints onto the blank page. For inspiration, we will read published essays and poems by well-loved Writing Mothers including Anne Lamott, Joan Didion, and Anna Quindlen.

By the end of the course, you will have in hand your first Mother's Notebook, written in just 15 minutes a day and filled with stories to preserve, post, or pass down.

10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Room: 435
Register before Sept. 10: $138
Register after Sept. 10: $145
Plus a $10 materials fee payable at registration

register online

Lisa Garrigues - see bio


Travel Writing - Wonder and Wanderlust

writing 1

Much like taking, saving and sharing photos of our journeys, writing about travel is a great way to re-live, share or publish the stories of our travels. Turn your adventures into keepsakes to share with family and friends, or essays, articles, blogs, and even novels. From story idea to final revision, you will transform your journeys-near and forays-far into nifty narratives that celebrate the joys of travel. In an atmosphere of support and camaraderie, we will explore the art and soul of travel, share the fun of new, if not foreign horizons, discover why the journey is often more exciting than the destination, and, by class end, have a finished travel story ready either to pitch for publication or tuck away with your family albums.

Just in time to prepare for your summer travel, come share with others your trips, treks and other adventures, past or planned, and let your wonder and wanderlust find voice. Classes will consist of discussion, readings, and writing "adventures" (not exercises). Lots of laughter, included!

1:00-4:30 pm
Room: 435
Register before May 31: $98
Register after May 31: $110
Plus $5 materials fee paid at registration

register online

Colette, O’Connor, holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is a professional travel writer. Her lifestyle features and travel essays have appeared in publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times to The Best Women’s Travel Writing.





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