I have attended Colleen’s Story Cottage for three inspiring groups. Colleen brings her students into their creative space with magical prompts, leading words, and encouragement. I look forward to the sessions as they take me to a place apart and I find my muse arrives to help me to do some of the best writing I have done during a long writing career.
—Anne McCarthy Strauss
Author: A Medical Affair, The Passion Thief
Writing requires a safe haven to bring a writer’s best work to the page. Following Colleen’s gentle and knowledgeable guidance, my stories flowed easily, because as Colleen states, “All of us have stories to tell.” Colleen found the best of all the writers in The Story Cottage, which fueled the camaraderie and commentary so that my own words became stories. The Story Cottage is where word magic happens. I cannot wait to be part of it again.
—Carol Ann Marash
Colleen’s gentle facilitation primes the pump; words flow onto the page. I’ve long believed that I don’t know what I think until I put it into words. I end each Story Cottage having explored new ideas, expanded upon old ones and in awe of how my words combine almost without thinking. I look forward to every session, a writing adventure.
I signed up for Colleen’s track and that proved to be the perfect choice for me. Her clear guidelines, safe space management and varied prompts combined to spur writing from a deep place. I came away with eleven pieces toward my writing goal of a memoir. It far exceeded my expectations and gave me confidence that there’s a story to be told.
It seemed like some kind of magic and I found it amazing.
What a gift it has been to spend a few days with Colleen Geraghty and my fellow writers in the story cottage! As a writer, Colleen is wizard of words who shares her craft and her wisdom freely and generously. As a teacher, she is equally gifted, providing an array of provocative writing prompts, followed by opportunities to reflect and respond in a safe and supportive space. A visit to the story cottage is guaranteed to be inspiring and transformative for novice and seasoned writers alike!
— Susan Hynds, Professor Emerita of English education, Syracuse University
I arrived to the Story Cottage eager to serve my own intentions. It took one short inhale to realize I was in the presence of a powerful muse who would safely guide me to explore a level of creativity I didn’t even know I had. Colleen cultivated a container of inspiration, expertise, soulful support and solid method. We became a fellowship under her professional and warm hearted guidance. I am filled with gratitude for the skills, humor, humility and connection she fostered as a master teacher of her craft.
Best experience a writer could ask for…
—Veronica L Schauder, LCSW
Though I am a published writer who has facilitated many writing workshops, I have always felt uncomfortable writing to prompts and usually just scribble until the time is up. However, in a recent session with Colleen Geraghty at a Women at Woodstock memoir workshop when she gave a prompt about families—instead of faking it, I fully gave myself over to opening up—a life-changing experience.
Colleen is one of those very special teachers who knows how to create a safe and sacred space for writers at all levels. Her writing prompts are some of the most creative that I’ve seen in many years of writing classes. She will draw out stories you didn’t know you had!
— Nancy Murphy
It was a complete pleasure to meet you and take your writing workshops. Your teaching and leading style was such a gentle, safe and inviting way to dip into writing again-outside of work and journaling. You opened a door that was closed for a long time. It was also a pleasure to hear your stories–the beauty of the writing, the imagery, the vulnerability and rawness were stunning. Your writing also gave me permission to go new places. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.
An Apple in her Hand
If you think you might enjoy reading a collection of stories and poems that could reinvigorate your sense of literary adventure, you will not be disappointed in An Apple In Her Hand. There is a range of creativity and ingenuity successfully exhibited here. Like a table set for a smorgasbord, you may want to sample several stories or poems and then search out more examples from one author or another. There is plenty to choose from: seven authors and 77 selections. A feast.
For example, Colleen Geraghty takes you on a roller coaster of emotions as she recounts “Becoming a Ghost, a breathtaking mesmerizing one-page, one long sentence story that perfectly frames the inner thoughts of a child trying to understand which of a number of violent events might have caused her to choose to become a ghost at summer’s end.
— Sydna Altschuler Byrne, author of Haiku: Two Butterflies Dance
The first of the collection’s nine chapters, An Apple in Her Hand, opens with Ciotog, a poem by Colleen Geraghty. The note explains that ciotog is the Irish word for left-handed; one who does not sit at the right hand of God. In seventy-three short lines, the word girl echoes thirty-seven times, often as a line unto itself, giving the poem the rhythm of a rap lyric or an incantation. The lines cycle through birth, rejection, degradation, and finally re-emergence and rebirth: “Born again in light/ girl/ Born again in night/ girl.”
When I asked Colleen Geraghty to be a guest speaker for our MFA in writing program, I crossed my fingers that she’d say “yes.” She did, and I assured our students that we were all in for a treat. On presentation night, we got more—so much more–than a treat. In addition to her meticulous preparation and take-home handouts, Colleen brought her education, her pedagogical training and decades’ long experience and certification in teaching expressive writing. She also brought her clinical experience, her warmth, her humor and her deep commitment to empowering workshop participants to write or re-write or re-tell their own story. From her deep knowledge of the field to her engaging facilitation style, Colleen Geraghty is the real deal.
—Aine Greaney, Novelist