Writing in Key West: A Seminar Named Desire

Sun, sea, sand.

Three words that bring me joy in January.

Add to this trio communing with kindred spirits and the joyful picture is complete.

I recently spent a week in Florida at the Key West Literary Seminar exploring the craft of creative nonfiction under the guide of esteemed author David Treuer. 

This year’s Seminar theme was Desire.

For three hours each morning I, along with 10 other writers, grappled with how to tell true stories in engaging and meaningful ways. We considered subject, form, voice, detail, conflict, momentum, and dramatic arc.

We read and critiqued each other’s works-in-progress and learned strategies for creating compelling nonfiction. We discussed the writing life and shared our life stories. 

Doing this among strangers takes courage, but it wasn’t long until we bonded over our shared passion.

Being in the physical presence of fellow writers for the first time in over two years, was at times overwhelming. In a good way. Sometimes you don’t realize what you are missing until it arrives. 

Workshop friends
Workshop leader and author, David Treuer
Writers on Writing talk and book signing.

Many literary luminaries wrote in Key West including Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Bishop, Shel Silverstein, Robert Frost, Tennessee Williams, Wallace Stevens, Anne Beattie, and Judy Blume.

Writers continue to draw inspiration from this unique place. If you visit, make sure to take the Literary Walking Tour. 

View from Hemingway House
Old Man and the Sea Exhibit
Hemingway’s writing studio
One of the 56 Hemingway cat descendants. This one six-toed.

The arts abound in the Key West. The island is only 5 square miles, easily walkable and bike rentals readily available. The place is full of color and character. I found the locals quite friendly.

The stars truly aligned for all this to happen amidst the Omicron threat. I am grateful to the Seminar committee for granting me a fellowship, along with the lovely accommodations at Eden House.

This break in routine, change of scenery, socializing, and inspiration all served to jump-start my creativity and motivation. 

I gained the direction and focus needed to complete the essay I’d struggled with for many months.  “The Bridge That Fell Down” is now ready to send out into the world. 

I hope you, too, can find ways to experience this much-needed rejuvenation, big or small, in anyway possible. 

Author: EvelynKrieger

I'm a people watcher and word crafter, author of fiction and essays. I also blog on living the creative life during hard times. When not writing, I work as a private educational consultant. Special interests: dance, the moon, astronauts, beaches, poetry, staying alive.

12 thoughts on “Writing in Key West: A Seminar Named Desire”

  1. wow – sounds like a wonderful experience and I know what you mean about appreciating being back together with people after the pause of the pandemic – and what better place than the awesome Key West
    I knew Hemingway wrote there and have visited his little estate – but cool to know that Elizabeth Bishop, Shel Silverstein, Robert Frost, Tennessee Williams, Wallace Stevens, Anne Beattie, and Judy Blume also had Key West infusions.

    I once lived in Los Gatos – in an expensive historic house (we called it the spider house) and it was a few blocks from where Steinbeck lived – and I thought I was going to write a masterpiece – but my writing nook ending up having roof rats at night and I never went up to the second floor and then we moved to a condo a few months later (good call too)
    anyhow, best wishes with your writing projects and enjoyed this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, for stopping by. The original Elizabeth Bishop House is in restoration to become the permanent home of the Key West Literary Seminar. Your adventure in the Los Gatos house sounds like it would make an interesting story. I enjoy photography, too, so your blog photos interested me. Enjoy the sunshine!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for checking out my blog – and I am glad for it because it gives me a place to share my photos. I might have one of the Los Gatos home (it was 145 Johnson and has since been torn down and a new home sits there – same owner I think)
        and wishing you a great day

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So jealous. I have been to Key West and it would be such a wonderful place to go to this type of seminar to get creative juices going. I’m going to be on the lookout for something like this in the coming months. 🙂


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