Bending Genres Q & A with author Kathryn Silver- Hajo

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Bending Genres, Blog, Interview, Microviews

Kathryn attended our Bending Genres retreat at Synergia Ranch, outside of Santa Fe last August 2023. We asked Kathryn six questions about her experience at the retreat and her writing.

  1. What went into the decision to attend the Bending Genres Synergia Ranch August 2023 Writing Retreat?

KSH: As writers, most of us have quite a bit of solitary time, so it’s a delight to connect in person, to engage in collaborative experiences from time to time. First of all, I loved the idea of doing a workshop with Meg and Robert. Add to that the wondrous setting in the desert outside Santa Fe with road runners, rattlesnakes, and a bazillion stars in the sky—and how could I resist?

  1. What are your favorite things about the Synergia Ranch site?

KSH: My dad and his second wife moved to the mountains north of Taos many years ago, so northern New Mexico is a second home to me. There is a joyfulness I experience whenever I visit the area and Synergia Ranch itself is a peaceful, serene, restorative place that lends itself to contemplation and creativity. The staff is wonderful and during breaks I enjoyed long walks in the area with new friends, complete with gorgeous views of the mountains and plenty of fresh, clean mountain air.

  1. Can you reflect on how the teaching materials helped or perhaps assist you with your writing?

KSH: Meg and Robert brought a large variety of fun, thought-provoking, artistic, sometimes weird, materials to help get the creative juices flowing. You never know what is going to ignite a spark! One day they brought a card deck called “Prosa Scintilla,” the brain child of writer Michael Todd Cohen. The deck inspired my environmentally-themed poem, “What it Means to be Touched,” recently published in The Phare magazine.

  1. Were there any surprises or new awareness you had about your own writing process either during the retreat or after?

KSH: It’s not so much a surprise as a reinforcement, that removing myself from my usual space to a new environment can make me more playful and experimental, as well as eager to try new forms and subject matter—inspired both by the landscape and by connecting/collaborating with new people. It also worked well to brainstorm ideas with the group, then work individually, take a break to get clarity and then return to the work.

5. Can you share what it is like to be among fellow writers for an entire week, and the community aspect?

KSH: The camaraderie at the retreat is something I’ll never forget. I made deep, long-lasting connections with people I’d only known virtually before. It was so much fun to spend an intense, condensed week together, brainstorming, writing like wildfire, sharing our work, but also hanging out, wandering, lingering over glasses of wine and chatting until midnight under the desert stars in that wide, aching New Mexico sky. Spending a week with such a vibrant, creative, brilliant group of writers was an unforgettable experience.

6. Since the workshop, you have had some success with the work you might have started at Synergia Ranch, or revised while there. We know your first collection, Wolfsong, published recently. Congratulations! Can you share the links to any of these pieces and where to order your book?

KSH: Yes! I am thrilled to say that three of the four stories I wrote or began at the retreat have been published in wonderful journals. Here are the links:

Thank you! It is quite thrilling. Also, my YA novel “Roots of the Banyan Tree” just came out January 1st from FlowerSong Press. Here is the link to my website which contains links to all of my stories and poems, as well as ordering links for “Roots of the Banyan Tree” and my flash collection, “Wolfsong” (ELJ Editions):

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