From Memory to Memoir: A Weekend Retreat


Friday, November 8th–Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Land of the Medicine Buddha
Soquel, California

“Laura Davis is an expert in navigating the waters of the spirit, creating safety and structure without compromising creativity.Writing with her gives me a chance to reflect on my past, appreciate my present and cultivate my dreams for the future.”

–Lisa Buell

Dear Writers,

I’d like to invite you to a repeat of the very successful and popular annual Writer’s Journey weekend retreat, From Memory to Memoir, to be held in Soquel, California during the weekend of November 8th-10th with a one-day follow up on Saturday, December 7th, 2013.

The focus of this retreat will be on learning how to take life stories and craft them into memoir.

We will be examining what transforms a personal story into something that has value and meaning for readers, and in the process, we will be addressing the following questions:

  • What makes a memoir a memoir?
  • What is it about my life experience that makes it worth telling?
  • How can I move beyond the “simply personal” into writing that has more universal significance?
  • What is the best framework for me to use in telling my story?
  • Which stories should I include and which should I leave out?
  • How can I write about the past with fresh immediacy?
  • How can I write about things I don’t fully remember?
  • What about my concerns that I can’t tell these stories because I’d be betraying the people I’m writing about?

“The Memory to Memoir retreat was an intensely creative and inspiring time spent among a congregation of remarkable writers.Laura Davis created a safe, confidential setting while simultaneously covering an amazing breadth of material about memoir writing.”

–Gail Burk

“I have written more than a handful of books, but memoir presents brand new challenges for me. Laura Davis’ weekend seminar provided just what I needed: instruction, examples, writing practice, encouragement, insights and inspiration. Now if I only could get her to write my memoir for me.”

–Martha E. Kendall

“Under Laura’s wise and expert tutelage, what was once a solitary endeavor became a group activity where the synergy of like-minded others and a safe space allowed me to hone my voice and markedly improve my skill as a writer. The writing exercises, camaraderie, and feedback energized my writing process and enhanced my self-confidence. I would wholeheartedly recommend a writing retreat with Laura Davis.”

–Jill Syme

To benefit from this retreat, you can be already deeply engaged in writing a memoir, interested in beginning the process, or simply looking for a concentrated period of time to explore new entry points for writing about your life experience.

Most of our time together will be in spent in actual work sessions in which I will provide guided exercises that gradually lead you into the memoir writing process.

Although you won’t be able to complete a memoir in one weekend, you will walk away from this workshop with a substantial body of writing, as well as many essential skills and exercises that will keep your writing focused and directed for months to come.

I will also give you clear assignments for continued progress after our weekend together. Our follow-up session on December 8th will give you the opportunity to share your work-in-progress and get help with obstacles you encountered. (The follow up session is highly recommended but not required. Cost of the follow up is included in the weekend price.)


“Laura Davis is an inspired, natural teacher who brings tremendous heart to her work. Laura has taught me to write lucidly from a depth I never imagined. I am deeply grateful for the gifts she has given me.”

–Doug Sawin, Ph.D, Guide-Trainer-Coach, The Life Skills Training Institute

Location: Land of the Medicine Buddha, a beautiful, peaceful retreat center located in Soquel, CA, 15 minutes from Santa Cruz’s famous beaches and 2 hours south of San Francisco.

Dates: Friday, November 8th (dinner time) through Sunday, November 10th (3 PM departure) with a one-day follow up session to be held in Santa Cruz, California on Saturday, December 7th.

The follow-up session (highly recommended, but not required) will be held in Santa Cruz from 10:00 to 5:00 PM.

Arrival and Departure Times: Arrival will be between 4:00 and 5:30 in the afternoon on Friday, November 8th. Departure will be late afternoon on Sunday.

The Flow of the Weekend: The retreat will begin with dinner Friday evening. We will have an evening orientation session together to lay the groundwork for the remainder of the weekend. Over the course of the weekend there will be formal teaching sessions on the basics of memoir, times to write and read together, and free time to write, nap, hike, or wander. The retreat will conclude at 3 PM on Sunday. Massages and a sauna will be available.

Accommodations: You can choose to stay in a single room, a double occupancy room or a dorm room (3-4 per room). There are a limited number of commuter slots.

Meals: Three fresh, organic vegetarian meals will be provided daily.

Cost (includes all costs for the weekend as well as the follow-up day):

Single Room: $750.00. Early bird price (before September 1st) is $700.00. Price goes up to $800.00 after October 15th.

Double Room: $550.00. Price goes up to $600.00 after October 15th. Early bird price (before September 1st) is $500.00

Dorm Room: $450. Price goes up to $500 after October 15th. Early bird price (before September 1st) is $400.00

Commuter: $400. Commuters eat all their meals with the group and only go home to sleep at night. These slots are closed until we fill the minimum number of residential spaces.

A $100 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot.

“From Memory to Memoir with Laura Davis was the best investment of my time and money. I came in a memoir writing virgin and flew out with a flight plan for my project.”

–Tammy Rust

To reserve a space at the retreat, download a registration form, print it out and mail it in with your full payment or a $100.00 non-refundable deposit. You can pay by check or credit card. The balance is due when you register or by October 15th, whichever comes first.

In these times of economic stress, payment plans are available. If you are interested, contact Laura for details.

There will be no refunds after October 15th.

Carpooling: If you are interested in carpooling or need information about transportation, please indicate so on your application form.

“Laura creates a safe and sacred environment that gave me permission to move beyond my edges, jump-starting my process and nudging me forward into the next level of my writing.”

–Susan Dorf

In the spirit of healing,

Laura Davis
Contact me online or call at 831-464-9517.


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