Kellee Weinhold, author of 'The Tongue Untied,' is holding local writing workshops. - Jim Craven

Writing is 'good for the soul'

TALENT — Snow drifts down from gray skies only to disappear on empty green pastures outside the windows of Trillium Creek Studios retreat early Sunday afternoon. Inside, a small gathering of Rogue Valley writers sit on overstuffed furniture, sip red wine and discuss their craft with owner Kellee Weinhold.

"Everyone has a story to tell," says Weinhold.

"Some people just need the motivation of an external force to get them over the hump and into their creative endeavor."

Weinhold, 47, a former newspaper and magazine editor, publisher and journalism professor at the University of Oregon and at the University of Illinois, holds small-group workshops at her hilltop home.

She offers her expertise, amid a nearby place of peace and beauty, in the hopes that writers can grow, build a connection to creativity, and embrace their unlimited potential, she said.

"Having lived in the Midwest for five years, I can attest to how inspiring mountains and water can be," Weinhold said.

Eileen Bobek, 38, a retired emergency room doctor, is taking Weinhold's personal essay workshops.

"When I left the ER, I found I had a lot to write about," said the former physician. (Clarification: See below.)

Bobek has a number of stories that are in process. The busy mother has taken writing classes at Rogue Community College and elsewhere. But Weinhold's hilltop retreat is "a great place to come out of your life for a couple hours and concentrate on what you're there for," Bobek said.

"It's a great environment for a hopeful writer," she says.

Writing is not only good for the soul in times of turmoil, it can be good for business in a sluggish economy, says Weinhold. Blogging is a great way for small business to build connections, she says.

"It's the perfect free and powerful outreach tool in this economy," Weinhold says. "Almost every business lends itself to creating a writing connection with the client or customer."

The workshops range in topic and price. For example, a one-day course on blogging runs $100. While four two-hour weekly sessions on writing personal essays is $150. Weinhold also works with clients individually.

Bobek hopes Weinhold will be just the person to move her forward.

"It's really wonderful to have a professional editor and a professor of journalism review my work," Bobek says. "I want to take a hard look at my own writing and make it better."

Weinhold takes time with each of the three members in her workshop who are in varying stages of their writing journey, she says.

"Some haven't written anything," says Bobek.

"I've written quite a bit. They're just not completely polished yet. (Weinhold) was able to address the different needs in each of us. That's kind of unusual."

Everyone suffers attacks of insecurity. Nerves can jump at the notion of sharing ones intimate stories before judgmental eyes. Some feel they are not "real" writers because they've never been published. Others feel their last work will indeed be their last. But everyone who has a desire to write, should feel free to follow their muse, Weinhold says.

"If you want to create, you're good enough to do it," she says.

Nina Peiper Wood, 46, describes herself as a full-time parent and an aspiring writer.

"I'm hoping Kellee will help me," says Wood. "I've gone to a couple workshops and they've galvanized me and inspired me."

Excited to explore her inner Hemingway, the Ashland resident is interested in writing a personal narrative or possibly some fiction, she says.

"Something about families and raising children," says Wood. "I'm just really open to see where it will take me."

To learn more about the Trillium Creek Studio writers workshops, visit Weinhold's Web site at or call 535-3605.

Clarification: A word was inadvertently left out of an early version of this story. This version has been corrected.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

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