Melanie Bishop

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Back by popular demand: Playa Summer Lake opens a Second Modern Love Retreat in October


October 21 @ 4:00 pm – October 24 @ 10:00 am


Over the last fifteen years, the reader-submitted essays in the The New York Times Modern Love column have elevated many writers’ careers, leading some to agents, book deals, and even film adaptations. The column has led to a Modern Love Podcast (2015) and, most recently, a web-based anthology series on Amazon (2019), evidence of its continued popularity. With all that it has spawned, the column has become something of a cultural phenomenon. With 2.6 million readers, there is no greater exposure for a writer than The New York Times. This three-day retreat will provide plenty of time for immersion in the Modern Love column, while also giving participants unstructured time to work on their ideas and drafts. In our first class, we will study essays published in the column, analyzing them to discover their range of topics, writing styles, and narrative strategies. Each of us has within us the material for an essay appropriate to the column. (More likely, we all have several.) Once we’ve become more knowledgeable about essays that found their way into print, we’ll devote our second class to generating ideas through in-class exercises to discover our own Modern Love material. The love we explore can be romantic, platonic, unrequited, or familial. With feedback from peers and guidance from instructor, we will get started on a first draft. On our last evening together, before and after a shared dinner, we will have read-aloud workshops of essays-in-progress.

Open to writers of all levels. Some familiarity with the Modern Love column is assumed.

$575 includes instruction, lodging, welcoming Meet&Greet, one dinner, one lunch. (All cabins have kitchens and participants bring provisions for other meals.)

Playa Sept 4th 015

Rest, Write and Reboot in Your Private Cabin

Playa Sept 4th 011

Shed Worries from Home on These Walking Paths


Find Your Muse by the Pond

Learn more and register here.

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Three Upcoming Retreats at Playa Summer Lake in Oregon


Modern Love Weekend Retreat: October 11th through 13th. [SOLD OUT!]

“What We Write About When We Write About Love”

5-Day Memoir Retreat: October 14th through 19th.

“Finding and Shaping Your Original Material”

3-Day Modern Love Retreat: October 21st through 24th.  Because the first Modern Love retreat had a waiting list, Playa opened a second one.  Details here.

Click above for details and registration links.  

Find my Modern Love essay, from November of 2018 here: “I Would Have Driven Her Anywhere.” 

And an interview from 2014, by Vela Magazine editor Amanda Giracca:Crafting Memoir and Doing Grief.” Amanda studied memoir with me at Prescott College.


Find Your Muse by the Pond.


Playa Sept 4th 015

Rest, Write, and Reboot in your Private Cabin.


Playa Sept 4th 011

Shed your Worries from Home on These Walking Paths.





Melanie Photo for FB Page for Stanford class