Daylighting the Invisible: Revealing What Connects Us

Nature shows us an unstoppable renewing creativity. We need to recognize it, love it, and use it. It can empower our creative life as writers, teachers, activists and citizens. Daylighting the Invisible, hosted by David Oates, is the three part hands-on workshop designed to help each of us “daylight” the hidden connections lying beneath the surface, rediscover nature as a creative process of emerging patterns, and find heart and hope in the regenerative force of nature’s constant resurrection. During this workshop participants will learn to better notice detail through the connection to place and to uncover creativity by allowing patterning not planning and process not control — lessons learned in communion with nature. Throughout the workshop, participants will apply their learning to new or existing writing, teaching, or restoration projects. As part of the workshop participants will receive a copy of David’s latest book What We Love Will Save Us (Kelson Books 2009) and a compilation of other provocative reading materials.

SunsetDavid Oates writes about nature and urban life from Portland, Oregon. He is a poet and the author of City Limits: Walking Portland’s Boundary (Oregon State 2006), and Paradise Wild: Reimagining American Nature (Oregon State 2003). He regularly hosts Wild Writers Seminars and teaches writing at Clark College (Washington), Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland) and elsewhere.

As a writer and educator, David is continuously looking for ways to convey the new story of our environmental moment. His current work explores Resurrection Bioliogy — biology+spirituality+practical hopefulness and gittin-to-work! David sees Resurrection Biology as the joyous, determined environmentalism that will respond to the damaged world of the coming century. He has designed this workshop to help others join the movement.

Audience: Writers, Teachers, Activists, General Audiences
Dates Available: Year Round Starting July 2010
Length: 4 hours to 1.5 days
Workshop: $500 – $1000
Options: Book reading and signing available on request.

This workshop is presented in Collaboration with MRCSE Sustainability Education Traveling Programs: Learning as Change.

The Midwest Regional Collaborative for Sustainability Education is a newly emerging collaborative designed for those seeking to discover and experience new ways of learning and collaboration that can catalyze a sustainable future for all.

At MRCSE, we believe that learning is at the heart of change. The following program has been developed by MRCSE Wise Elder David Oates as part of a series to help others learn to see the world differently by breaking from the everyday and venturing on new paths that draw upon our ability to imagine a new future together.

For more information about Midwest Regional Collaborative for Sustainability Education, contact Christine Kelly at or visit the MRCSE web portal at
David at the Beach

Writing Workshops

I teach workshops in writing process for poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction. It is my premise that creativity connects to nature — that there is an inner wildness from which creativity springs.

I use an approach that grounds writing in the whole experience of the writer. We have a “body” of experience to draw from that is vividly physical as well as emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. I’m especially interested in how that physicality reminds us of our membership in a “greater self” that includes other people and the natural world.

My long experience in the classroom has taught me to be a quick reader and on-the-spot responder to workshop participants.

Comments from adult student-participants in workshops and classes:

“David Oates gave me back my voice as a writer.” — Cindy Hosszu, young parent, student, writer

“I was very taken with the clarity and passion.” — Bill Aull, writer, teacher

“Your honesty, humor, kindness, and patience moved me.” — Howard G. Franklin, retired executive, writer

“Regarding my work of fiction, I’m… trying to have faith that the elves will figure this out. Your class continues to provide needles, nails, and shoe leather. Thank you!” — Jane Haeger, student, mother of adult kids, writer

“It is always a pleasure to have an instructor who obviously enjoys what he or she is doing, and I hope you know that your enthusiasm, knowledge, and intellect are recognized and respected by your students.” — Diana L. Davis, student, writer

“In David Oates’ WildWriters I changed from a person who wanted to write, into a person who couldn’t stop writing. As I connected observantly with the wild outside, something inward resonated and awakened. The moon was full and I was like a coyote. I howled out poems and scratched at my notebook all night long.” — Clair Germaine Nail, writer (winner of The Oregonian poetry competition 2000)

Selected events:

Caldera Arts Camp
(August 1999 and August 2000)

Workshop: Speaking for nature
Workshop: Parallel stories

Clark College: Annual Poetry and Fiction Workshop
(April 1999)
Workshop: Metaphoring