Esalen 2016 – Whales & Writers Abound!

Posted by on Sep 2, 2016 in Catherine's Blog

Esalen Institute hosts The Way of Story with Catherine Ann Jones

Esalen Way 2016 For fifteen years now, I have returned every August to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA to teach writing workshops. They come from Cuba, CA, NY, S. Africa, Paris, France, Philadelphia, and Texas, too. The common link is writing – both professionals and beginners. We share the passion to write, to express and discover who we are. It is fun, tough work, demanding courage to mine the memories both good and bad, and to spew forth from what lies deepest – sometimes hidden – the truth of our lives and imaginations. The students range in age from age 20 to early 80’s and somehow in the five workshop days and sharing meals and hot tubs, the class becomes one glorious bonded experience. I shall always return to Esalen every August left to me this time round because the stories as the individuals who pen them are unique. Yes, it takes courage to write but once the ghosts are exorcised and the mountain climbed, something quite amazing occurs. Laughter, self-discovery, open hearts, muses flocking, and above all, self-discovery.

I write in order to discover myself.

– Maya Angelou

Esalen Way blurbs 2016

 The Way of Story workshop was the perfect blend of solid craft and writing assignments that evoked new writing. This is my eighth Way of Story workshop and I plan to keep coming back!

– Bill H., Big Sur, CA

This workshop was so great I’m going to travel back in time and do it all over again!

Thank you for sharing your gifts and your heart. I’m so grateful for this transformative experience.

– Lori L., CA

I loved The Way of Story. Never taken a writing class before now so everything was new. At first, scared to share but eventually did three times! Very exhilarating!

Loved the exercises as they brought up parts of myself I hadn’t thought writing about. Added a richness to whatever I write now.

Jenny, Los Angeles, CA

Thank you, Catherine! This workshop presented a perfect balance between formal structure and opportunities for inner reflection. Immensely enriching both the writing and my life, especially because of your emphasis on the use of metaphor.

Summer M., Berkeley, CA


I thought you would like to know that I finished the book you inspired me to write at the workshop in Esalen based on my experience as an athlete and the challenges of aging.  It’s called Take on Aging as a Sport: The Athletic Approach to Aging.

I wrote a page or so about you and your work with writing and healing in the chapter, Time Out.

I learned a lot at your workshop and put a lot of stories and emotion into the book along with motivation, research, and practical advice.

Thanks so much for everything and I hope to get to another Way of Story workshop sometime soon.

– Sharkie Z., Los Angeles, CA

Smoky sulfur mist

A cold plunge, magic delight

Deep writing pirates.

  • Lori L., San Francisco, CA

I am surprised at the growth felt at the of this week, and very grateful to Catherine for her wonderful exercises and knowingness of what a writer might need.

– Carol Steele, Havanna, Cuba

Thank you, Catherine! The Way of Story workshop was a wild ride. Thrilled by the dynamics in class, your erudition, depth, and sense of humor. Great help. If I don’t make use of the inspiration that is you, the fault will be entirely mine.

Dana, Fullerton, CA

In The Way of Story workshop, Catherine Ann Jones, introduced me to many new ideas and possibilities for deeper creativity.

Geraldine F., Topanga Canyon, CA

I was most impressed with how Ms. Jones connected ideas of how to access my story with my subconscious mind. Great to have someone with mature writing skills reveal how story telling is associated with both soul and heart.

David N., M.D., Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

A wonderful workshop that taught me a lot and left me more committed to cultivating and integrating my artist within.

Ipek, Mill Valley, CA

The Way of Story workshop helped me listen to my gut, to write the words before the sentence was fully formed, and to be courageous in diving deep as well as being playful. I came here to write a play and ended the week having realized I have a knack for writing children’s books. Who knew!

  • Nicole D., Chico, CA

The Way of Story workshop impressed upon me that what happens in the story pales in comparison as to how it affects the main character. Also to make my writing more specific using metaphors as a tool to bring to life the story and to assist the reader to visualize what’s happening. “Show, don’t tell” says Catherine.

Steve, C., Bedford, Texas

Amazingly inspiring!

Jadon O., Bryn Athyn, PA

I thoroughly enjoyed The Way of Story workshop and was particularly happy to use and learn the writing exercises which helped to open my voice. There were also many aspects to the class which I hope to incorporate into my daily writing time.

Mia G., Sag Harbor, NY

I found the workshop creatively stimulating.

Celine, Los Angeles, CA

The Way of Story beautifully guided the integrations of my unique voice with all genres of writing. I left with greater skill, confidence, and clarity for the writing journey ahead.

Renee, Sacramento, CA

Summer teaching & musing

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