Writing a Small-Scale Memoir long weekend intensive writing retreat

Savor the Catskill Mountains’ seasonal glories as you embark on a journey of deep remembering and artful transcription of your personal history.


Using guided memory exercises, your retreat leader, prolific and passionate teacher Helena Clare Pittman, will help you identify themes in your memory narratives to structure both brief and longer written narratives and midwife them into being.

With Q&A discussions, feedback on your work, and an optional private consultation with Helena, you’ll learn to build on your natural strengths, returning home with a sound understanding of how to optimize your talent and develop your skills.  All levels welcome, including beginners.

The concentrated focus of this learning experience is offset by the lush and rustic setting of the Lazy Pond Bed & Breakfast (see Directions and Lodging to learn more). Workshops are held in the peaceful, woodsy setting of Helena’s cabin and painting studio, which is crammed with artwork and surrounded by the thick hemlock and beech woods so characteristic of Sullivan County. In such a creative, artistic space, you can’t help but be inspired.

Registration for this long weekend includes:

  • Rigorous instructional workshops;
  • Ample private time to complete writing assignments;
  • Q&A discussions plus feedback on your writing;
  • A personal consultation with your instructor (optional);
  • Transportation to and from the B & B if you don’t have a car;
  • A deluxe bedroom with queen bed, private bath, and country views
  • Breakfasts and lunches; enjoy breakfast at the B & B on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and Helena will provide lunch Friday and Saturday (dinners are on your own, with several great dining options within walking distance)

*NOTE: To ensure personal attention tailored to your needs, as well as a private room for all attendees, enrollment is limited to five participants.*

An amazing experience! The weekend delivered on its promise as I left with an outline for my memoir.  Helena is one of the best teachers I have ever had.  She has an organized approach, very positive and encouraging, listens intently, makes learning fun and engaging, and provides specific feedback. – Katherine Mayer, fall ’18 

Helena brought out the best in each of us.  Her comments were insightful and positive, giving us new perspectives on our writing, new directions, new angles.  Her revision suggestions always reflected much thought and great experience. – Dorothy Kohrherr

Want to know more about course policies and procedures before you register? Read our FAQ