I promised you this last year as we sat in our closing community meeting in the Aiken common room, and I intend to keep that promise. Here’s how I will keep it: due to Goddard’s decision to operate its residencies remotely through the fall semester and in light of caution and common sense during a global pandemic, ours will be a remote conference this year.

Virtual conferencing is new for us as Clockhouse Writers. We’re pretty analog in a lot of ways, and we like it. Some of us have been making the trip to Plainfield for over twenty years so that we can read our work to each other in the Manor and the Clockhouse, eat kale together in the dining room at a big round table by the window, walk the woodsy path to the Pratt Library, and play word games in the dormitory at night. We like to see each others’ faces in three dimensions and occasionally exchange hugs as well as words. We like to do our Stations of the Word in the garden and try on the t-shirts in the bookstore. We like the ley lines.

Like many of us who teach for a living, I have been learning quickly and under pressure what it means to create classrooms and community in virtual spaces. I’m not saying I love to Zoom, but I get how it works now, and I can imagine a Zoomed plenary panel on the topic of vision, Zoomed workshops that alums from all over the country could attend, and a zestful Zoom celebration of CLOCKHOUSE Volume 8, which is going  to be a wonderful, lively, beautiful issue thanks to editorial director Brenda Beardsley and the fabulous editorial staff. We can do this! I’m not yet sure how we’ll play virtual croquet, but let’s trust the process. Magic will occur; I’m sure of it.

This might be the actual best part of our virtual CWC&R: it can be accessible to a lot more of us. Those with mobility or health issues that prevented travel can attend from home. Those who haven’t been able to afford room and board costs can attend for a $100 conference fee. West Coasters can join Midwesterners and East Coasters. In an unexpected new way, it could embrace us all. And we’ll figure out the croquet.

Please register now for CWC&R. As President Bull noted today in his town meeting for alumni, Goddard was created to be an experimenting college, and there’s nothing stopping us from experimenting anew. Join us.

2020 Registration Forms Are Available Here

Lucy Turner, Lead Steward

Kathryn Cullen-DuPont, Coordinator

Jeff  Ihlenfeldt, Coordinator

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CWC is the alumni association of Goddard's MFAW Program. It holds the annual summer Clockhouse Writers' Conference & Retreat in Plainfield, Vermont, and the annual winter Lighthouse Conference & Retreat each winter. Its national literary journal CLOCKHOUSE is published in partnership with Goddard College and the MFAW Program. For more information, please visit www.clockhousewriters.com or contact CWC's lead steward, Lucy Turner.
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