Alley to Teach at Ojai Poetry Bootcamp June 30

Is your writing on the flabby side? Do you need a good workout to get your poetry in shape or revitalize your writing practice?

Next Saturday, I will be teaching at the Ojai Writer’s Conference Poetry Bootcamp which runs Saturday, June 30 and  Sunday, July 1.This is the last weekend of a month long series of writing activities, workshops, and events.

You can  attend one or both days–it’s $50 for either Saturday or Sunday or $99 for the whole weekend which is a great deal for 6 hours of workshops from 4 teachers!

Saturday, June 30:

1-3 pm: “Hello, Nature, What Do You Have to Tell Me Today?” with Gwendolyn Alley {Read Bio Here} – Take the lessons learned from Haiku (expressing emotion through observations of nature) and apply them to other forms of writing. Also learn to transform writing (prose) into poetry.

3-5 pm: “Speak Your Heart – Unravel Your Life’s Purpose Through The Mysterious Language Of Your Soul” with akka b. {Read Bio Here} – As part of her Poetry With Purpose series, akka b. introduces poetic tools to help decode and access the specific gift/s we are all born with and ways to implement them in daily life. Akka challenges her students to dive deep into the poetry of the heart, where fragments of personal story and experience are illuminated  profoundly, and practically applied. At the end of the two hour class, participants will have not only a more meaningful understanding of poetry, they will have an original poem – evidence of their renewed relationship to the unique expression of their soul.

Sunday, July 1:

1-3 pm: “If Your Poem Had Footnotes…” with Perie Longo {Read Bio Here} – It has been said in every poem we write is the seed for the next poem. It is also true in each poem there is a place it can deepen by filling in the emotional tension left out in the editing process. Bring one poem (and some copies to share) to examine and discover invisible poems struggling to come from the dark, along with honoring what is already there, making more of it. We will also write a poem/s inspired by your own.

3-5 pm:“Chocolate, Wine and Poetry Tasting Workshop” with Sandra Hunter {Read Bio Here} – Afternoon of eating chocolate, sipping wine and writing sensory-inspired poetry … Organic chocolate from local Chocolatiers (chili chocolate fudge and citrus-infused chocolates) and local Casa Barranca Vineyard wines. Given that this is the last segment of Poetry Bootcamp, enjoy finishing or polishing up poems to share during the Pink Moment Sunset finale gathering.

More positive press for my wine blogging: Jo Diaz listed me recently (and again) as an influential and important wine blogger and Michael Wangbickler included me in his list of 6 wine bloggers he reads!

wine predator

Following Vintank’s blog post last week listing the 9 most influential wine bloggers, several commenters observed the list was limited to one gender–male. The comments section has quite a ruckus going on–some of it insightful and provocative.

Last year, following the publication of a similar list and various online discussions about it and the fact that it too was a list of male wine bloggers, Jo Diaz posted her list of women bloggers. (If you need a refresher about this, you can do so here.)

This year, two bloggers responded with their own lists–and I made both of them!

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The Write Alley: 2011 in review

Happy New Year!

The Write Alley Highlights from 2011 included:
–travel to Egypt where I taught a writing workshop on the Nile in January
the release of my 3:15 Experiment Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son from en theos press in March followed by several featured readings and positive reviews
–co-leading a “Message in a Bottle” writing workshop with Danika Dinsmore in March
–creating and officiating a wedding in May
–writing about wine and travel in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California
–researching my book on family and sustainability in the wine industry in July
–returning to school for a PhD in psychology in October
–serving on a panel about wine and food at the International Food Bloggers Conference in November
–participating all year in many online twitter tastings to review wine samples
–being featured in several articles online and in print during the year

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for my blog, The Write Alley.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,200 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I am so busy right now that I am not taking on any new projects or clients until May. However, I would be happy to meet at our earliest mutual convenience to discuss working together during May through August on your writing project whether it be a manuscript, book, blogging, family history or for business!

I hope to continue posting valuable content on a weekly basis here; for more regular updates and links about writing and social media, subscribe to my Twitter feed and “like” my page on Facebook. And of course, if you are not already, please subscribe to this blog!

I also plan to post weekly on my other blogs: Compassionate Rebel, Bikergogal, Wine Predator, and Art Predator. With my teaching load, my PhD classes, my family, and my writing projects, 2012 looks to be an exciting and busy year!

How was 2011 for you? What are looking forward to in 2012?

Alley to Speak at Bloggers Conference

This afternoon I am speaking at the International Food Blogger’s Conference in Santa Monica; I’m on a panel about integrating wine into a food blog and my specific topic is to share some ideas on how to create compelling content about wine and food. I was invited because I am considered an influential wine blogger who frequently includes food in my wine reviews and because I am a writing teacher and coach.

As I reflected on what I wanted to share, I realized that creating compelling content is the same no matter what the topic. This seems obvious now and it took me down a much more productive path in terms of my preparing to contribute to what I think will be a valuable session.

The key points I will be offering are:

1) Go for the jugular.
2) Tell stories.
3) Be specific.
4) Experiment.

You can read more about it over at my Wine Predator blog. I’ll be posting notes from my presentation there as well as here.

PS Today is my son’s birthday! He is 8 years old today.

Alley Profile In VC Reporter

Last Thursday Michel Cicero of the VC Reporter contacted me to ask for an interview. I’d dropped off a copy of my book Middle of the Night Poems for her to review but she said she wanted to do more than just write about the book, she wanted to do a feature on me, my wine blogging, the ArtRides I lead and more.

Of course I said yes. We had a great time conversing on the phone and before we knew it, we had talked for almost two hours and she had more than enough material for her interview.

All she needed was a photo. Hmmn. I knew I needed professional photos but I still hadn’t made the time to get some.

What was I going to do?

The next night, on my friend Lucy Williams suggestion, Brooks photo student Gabriel Romero ( called wondering if I’d be willing to sit for a portrait assignment. Sure, I said–but could we do it right away so I’d have something for Michel?

He came over that night and I showed him the house my grandfather built in 1961 complete with a wine cellar that everyone thought was a bomb shelter.

I wanted to take some portraits for my wine blog Wine Predator in his wine cellar and I thought they’d be fun for Michel’s article too. It would be cramped but he figured he could do it so we made plans for the next night to shoot.

It took about an hour to set up the lights in the cellar and then we shot for another two hours trying different poses, wardrobe and lighting. It was strange but fun too.

In the end, he submitted the photo at top and middle to his teacher for the assignment and the bottom one to show his lighting set-up; I submitted both to Michel and the one on top she used–which was one of the last ones we took!

Here’s a link to the article: Gwendolyn Alley: creative types by Michel Cicero VC Reporter Aug. 25, 2011.

So here’s the take-away–if you haven’t yet, get professional photos done! You never know when you’re going to need one! My only regret is I didn’t make time to have someone do my hair and make-up!

PS The golden liquid in my glass is a sherry from the silver bottle to my left. It was a gift to my grandfather from the year I was born…and I am drinking it while I write this.

Also, I will be reading and signing books Th. Sept. 15 at 7:15pm at Bank of Books on Main just east of downtown Ventura. You can also buy a print of ebook from Amazon or the publisher en theos press.

Reading & Workshop Ventura College Monday June 27

On Monday June 27 I will be reading my poetry and discussing my writing process, writing practice and The 3:15 Experiment with two classes of Ventura College writing students. I will be speaking with the first class at 10:50am in Trailer 5 for about an hour; I will meet with the second class at 1:50pm in J-1. I’ll also be selling and signing my new book, Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son (en theos press 2011).

You are welcome to join us! Ventura College is located at 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA 93003. It costs $1 to park and there are maps around campus to guide you to the classroom.

If you can’t make the reading but want to buy a copy of Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son, it’s available in print and ebook editions at and in Ojai at Barts Books, in Camarillo at Mrs Figgs Bookworm and in Ventura at Kama Sutra Closet.

TLVC Online Mag Features Gwendolyn Alley & ArtRides

This month’s Totally Local VC online magazine features an article about the ArtRides! Written by James Scolari, it’s based on an interview with me the other day.

Here I am, the leader of the pack, during last month’s ArtRide. Our theme was “Greaser Bicycle Ball.” Photo by Daniel Boggs.

As a writing coach who desires to work with artists and other creative folk, doing the ArtRides gets me out into the community every month to meet people and see what’s going on in our community. Yes, you could see it as networking but instead of attending an event with networkers for the sake of networking, I am participating and creating an event in my community that draws the community together to make various connections. And it’s fun! You should join us sometime–if not this month for the Seersucker Social, maybe next month for “Flower Power”! If you’re interested in learning more about the ArtRides and other fun cycling events, check out and subscribe to my blog “Bikergo Gal”.

Summer Solstice SantaCon & Seersucker Social ArtRide Tonight! Have you figured out what to wear to tonight’s Summer Solstice Seersucker Social & SantaCon ArtRide? Here are some of the seersucker separates I found: from our closets–a Betsey Johnson dress I got at a thrift store many years ago (now too small and up for borrowing!), three pairs of shorts (one pair from Patagonia–they have lots of seersucker this season!), a coat I bought on sale for my son a few years ago for a summer wedding and other d … Read More

via Bikergo Gal