Twin Compass Partnership was born in Woodstock, New York, the night I introduced my partner, Brent Bruser, to my dear friend and writing mentor, Abby Thomas. We were sitting in her living room talking about how much we liked teaching and writing together, when I offered to organize a workshop for her. She’d been my teacher for over three years and I knew how much her students loved working with her. She said ‘yes’ without missing a beat. Then Brent suggested that we think about hosting our workshop at his house in Westcliffe, Colorado – a house that was once a ski lodge, which is to say that it’s a big house with lots of room for people to meet.
Our conversation that night led to a writing retreat taught by Abby and our friend, Dorothy Allison, in the summer of 2011. By that time, I was living in Westcliffe with Brent in the building he lovingly calls Coyote Moon. That first workshop was a huge success on many levels. 25 writers from all over the country converged here and experienced a life-changing week. Emboldened by our success and wanting to offer more events for writers and other artists, we developed two more workshops for 2012, including one that I taught with Abby. She worked with experienced and published writers; my class was devoted to writers with less experience but similar passion. 2011 had been so wonderful for our students, Abby and Dorothy, that we didn’t think we could top it in 2012. But we did. I was back in the saddle as a teacher, Brent and I were more relaxed as hosts and with each other, and 15 extraordinary women writers arrived to take part. The chemistry was so strong, that we are still in touch with one another via the internet several times a week. As we prepare for 2013, we’re excited to offer two more workshops for returning writers and for people new to us. Both workshops will be for women only this year. Abby and I will be teaching at her home in Woodstock January 16 – 20. As with last summer, I’ll be working with writers who have not workshopped their writing before or for those who are wanting to transition from journaling to writing for others; Abby will be leading a master class for more experienced writers who are already working on a book. Mornings will be spent with the teacher you’ve chosen; afternoons we’ll gather for lectures and writing assignments for both groups.
Thank you for visiting with us. We feel incredibly lucky to be working with Abby and Dorothy. They are special women, extraordinary writers and gifted teachers.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Bar Scott, Brent Bruser, Wally (aka Ralph Waldo Emerson) and Tasha (Natasha Miyax)
Home of Coyote Moon
and Twin Compass Partnership
Testimonials following our first workshop
“My life forever changed…and the food was unbelievable.” - Nikki
“Your hospitality blessed this event and changed my life. I’m a writer now.” – Michelle
“Magical things happened at Coyote Moon this week and I’m sure it is in part because of the love
and care you both put into setting this up and keeping us while we were here. I’ll never forget it.” – Lynne
“Coyote Moon is the safe sanctuary where marvelous, creative people bond, energy soars and new works emerge.” – Marsha
How we met…
I met Abigail Thomas through her book A Three Dog Life. We were both living in Woodstock, NY at the time. I was writing songs and lyrics, teaching and performing full time, but had just begun to write my first memoir; she was dealing with the death of her husband, Rich, whom she’d written about so beautifully in that book. Just after I’d taken a month-long retreat to start The Present Giver, I heard about an opening in Abby’s weekly writing group so I called her right away. We’d met once before when we were both teaching at Omega Institute. She called me back later that afternoon and asked if I could meet her for coffee the following morning.
I joined Abby’s class the next day and spent the next four years going to her house every Thursday night along with six or seven others. All were seasoned writers or editors who were working on novels, memoir, essays, or children’s books, and I can tell you that it was the best education I’ve ever had. Her wisdom, generosity, brilliance, and commitment to the art of writing bring out the best of everyone she works with. I published my book, The Present Giver, and began work on my second book, Live a Life, Write a Song, during that time.
Several years later, I met my partner, Brent Bruser, and decided to move to Colorado with him. My only hesitation about leaving Woodstock was losing my seat in Abby’s living room. The two of us had become close friends by then. We’d also been invited to read and lecture together at various events over the years including the annual Woodstock Writers’ Festival, which we’ve done together since 2009. When Brent suggested that we offer writing workshops at Coyote Moon Lodge, a building he’d renovated a few years earlier, Abby and I were thrilled, and Twin Compass Partnership was born. During that conversation, I asked Abby who a second teacher might be. I had Dorothy Allison in mind but I was shy about saying so. Abby was not. She said “How ’bout Dorothy Allison?” We emailed her the next day, and she said, “Sure.”
Abby’s workshops in 2013 will be what Abby’s workshops always are: fun, insightful, demanding and supportive. Like her, I offer a dynamic environment where the group as a whole helps each writer stretch and grow. Both of us believe that honest writing is the best writing, and quite often the hardest to do. Neither of us is concerned so much with grammar, spelling or punctuation. All of that can be helped with a good editor in time. What we’re looking for is the voice of the person who’s writing, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Dorothy’s workshops are off the charts. She’s demanding, serious, powerful, exacting, and full of passion. Her lectures are not to be missed. She expects a lot from her students; they in turn will get a lot from her. All three of us are committed teachers who love to help other writers in a true and meaningful way. We ask a lot, we give a lot, we all get a lot from being here.
Twin Compass’s workshops in 2011 and 2012 were perfect in so many ways that it’s hard to know how to write about them. Intense. Provocative. Demanding. Generous. Exhausting, but worth every bit of energy we all put into it. Our hearts were expanded, our minds were blown, and in several cases, lives were changed in real and tangible ways. So far, 48 writers have joined us and bonded in a lasting and meaningful way. I can pretty much guarantee that if you’re able to join us in 2013 you will leave with very good friends and writing support for life from the people who you meet here. If you have any questions, please call us for whatever information you need. Our number is: 719 783 9740.
For more information on any of us, here are links to our websites: