Message in a Bottle: Ocean to Ojai –Whales, Wines, Words Writing Workshop 3/25

Arouse your senses & awaken your imagination!

Join writing teachers
Gwendolyn Alley & Danika Dinsmore
on a creative journey from the ocean to Ojai

Weds. March 23, 2011

:: 5:30-7pm Meet & greet; wines by Ventura County Winemakers (free for workshop attendees)

Thurs. March 24, 2011

:: 8:30am-12:30pm Pastries & coffee at Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center then whale watching  & writing workshop on the Santa Barbara Channel ($129)

:: 1-5pm Vino V and Old Creek Ranch Winery wine tasting and food pairings with winemaker Michael Meagher and Writing Workshop at Old Creek Ranch Winery, Ojai ($129)

:: 6-8pm Winemaker Dinner with Adam Tolmach of The Ojai Vineyard at Knead Baking Co, Ojai ($75)

:: 8-10pm Living room Style Open mic at Knead in Ojai (free for all to attend; food & drinks for sale)

Workshops limited to 20–Register today! Early Bird Special! Register by 3/19 & save over $50 on both workshops!
:: For more information: For help with accommodations, email 


Writing instructors Gwendolyn Alley of Ventura, California and Danika Dinsmore of Vancouver, British Columbia join forces Thursday, March 24 to offer a unique writing workshop that engages the senses and ignites the imagination. Message in a Bottle: Ocean to Ojai – Whales, Wines, Words, an event during Ojai’s WordFest, will take its participants on a journey that begins with a whale watching cruise, continues at a working ranch winery, and ends with a winemaker’s dinner in the majestic Ojai Valley.

Using their 40+ years of combined teaching experience, Alley and Dinsmore will draw on the exterior world of the senses to connect writers to the page. The scenery, the company, the spirit of adventure, the food, and the wine will be interwoven with thought-provoking writing prompts and conversation.

Known for her innovative exercises and muse-inspiring techniques, poet, screenwriter and children’s novelist Danika Dinsmore focuses on spontaneous writing and experiments in form. Always pushing the boundaries of what’s comfortable, she helps writers find the multitude of voices within to tell visual stories that connect us.

While in California, Dinsmore is also teaching Master Classes during WordFest, a workshop at Vita Arts Center March 27, and visiting various area school to promote her recent release, Brigitta of the White Forest (en theos press 2011).

Equal parts experimental poet and prolific eclectic blogger (Wine Predator, Art Predator, bikergogal,) Ventura College writing teacher Gwendolyn Alley offers out-of-the-box thinking and an exploration of writing as a tool for the discovery of the deeper self.

“I want to facilitate people’s discovery of the physical landscape, but also the sensual one,” says Alley. “Exploring together a few of my favorite places in Ventura County, we’ll share the wines, food, and scenery that inspire me to write and live life deeply and fully. To do that we need to get out of the house, the routine, to ride and write outside.”

The workshop coincides with the release of Alley’s poetry collection, Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son (en theos press 2011).

Message in a Bottle begins Weds. March 23 at 5:30pm with a “meet and greet” social with wines by Ventura County winemakers.

On Thurs. March 24 participants will start with pastries and coffee at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center then embark on the whale watching portion of the day.

Following the oceanic outing, they will partake in a Vino V and Old Creek Ranch Winery wine tasting and food pairing with winemaker Michael Meagher at Old Creek Ranch Winery.

The final portion of the day takes place in Ojai with a Winemaker Dinner at Knead Baking Co with Adam Tolmach of The Ojai Vineyard and ending in a free living room style open mic for workshop attendees and the general public.

Tickets for the complete adventure are on sale now; a la carte options are available for each activity. Tickets may be purchased at where early bird specials are on until midnight, March 19.

Tickets can also be purchased from Alley at her March 15 reading at the Artists Union Gallery, 330 So California St, at her art opening and book launch party March 17 from 5-7pm in the El Jardin Courtyard, Main St, and at the en theos press booth at Ojai’s WordFest BookFair March 19 from 10-4pm.


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