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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., Sept. 8
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Room: Horticulture 5001
Fee: $78

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.

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.

5 Tue., Sept. 25 - Oct. 23
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 below

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.

We will use the image of the circle as our guide and muse, beginning with a story circle and ending with circle writing. 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. 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.

6 Thu., Oct. 4 - Nov. 8
10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Register before Sept. 10: $155
Register after Sept. 10: $160
Plus a $10 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




In this workshop you will explore some of the poignant memories and stories that have shaped your life.

With innovative exercises for eliciting memories and writing memoirs, you will discover stories that may surprise you with their power for self-discovery. As you reflect upon the events that make up your life, you will notice the continuous thread that weaves through your experiences, deepening an understanding of who you are, and offering a sense of clarity, meaning, and purpose for your life.

Sat., October 6
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Room: Horticulture 5001

Register before Sept. 10: $78
Register after Sept. 10: $85
Plus a $5 materials fee payable in class

register online

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 Weekend Retreat


Awaken your senses and begin to live more fully as a midlife woman! Through movement, meditation, discussion, and writing, students will be guided through a re-awakening into our physical bodies. This workshop is designed to help women reclaim our significance and value in a safe environment.

“Midlife” for women is a deep time of transition. As our bodies change we are challenged to understand what our role may be for this next phase of our lives. We may get a sense that it’s time to let go of old wounds and the notion that we are “not enough.” Instead, this is a great opportunity to step into our wisdom and power. In this workshop you will:

  • Re-awaken the connection between self and body through gentle yoga and meditation.
  • Uncover what's most important to you through inspired and stimulating writing exercises.
  • Discuss the myths and realities of midlife transitions for women.
  • Identify core desired feelings in various areas of your life.

This workshop includes an Ignited Women Workbook Journal. Included in the workbook are recommended meditations, yoga practices and other resources to support you in your midlife transition.

Sat. & Sun., October 27 & 28
9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Room: Horticulture 5005
Register before Sept. 10: $78
Register after Sept. 10: $85
Plus a materials fee of $10 payable at registration


register online


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.

Travel Writing - Wonder and Wanderlust

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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.

Storytelling Basics – How to Write a Story Ready for Publication


Well written stories captivate and transport us in a seemingly effortless way. But under the surface is a well-oiled storytelling machine at work, inviting you into a world of the writer’s design, introducing you to characters they have invented, and guiding you to a well thought out conclusion.

In this class, we will take apart this machine to see how it works, then put it to work for you! Learn to write your own short story over the course of the class, ending with a story ready for submission to literary presses.

Learn the working elements of a story, how to bring characters to life, create story structure, build scenes, and ultimately complete a publishable story that readers will want to read and publishers will want to publish. You will leave class with a 500-1500 word story which will be ready for submission to literary presses.

6:00 - 9:00 pm
Room: 429
Register before Mar. 26: $85
Register after Mar. 26: $90

register online


Shelly King - see bio below

Retire Early and Travel for Free!


If you’re near retirement, retired, re-tooling or changing careers, or if you like the idea of making additional income to support your travel dream, this class is for you. Learn over 200 ways to travel for free, including volunteering, fun work-vacations & paid travel opportunities. These tricks and tools will help you use your skills and hobbies to pay for your travel, create the time & money to travel as much as you want, and keep your retirement money in the bank! We’ll go over how to earn free airline tickets, hotel nights, cruises, tours, car rentals, meals, and more in the USA  and worldwide!
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!

1:00 – 4:30 pm
Room: 1605
Register before Mar. 26: $58
Register after Mar. 26: $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 2

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 13th 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!

10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Room: Horticulture 5005

Register before May 31: $78
Register after May 31: $88
plus $20 materials fee payable to instructor in class

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

register online


Lauren Mari-Navarro is a trained facilitator of the SoulCollage® Method encouraging creativity and self-discovery. Lauren has her own private counseling practice in Santa Cruz County.



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