The Triskelion

We recognize three voices in the writer's psyche: "Editor," "Writer," and "Crazy Child" -- or creative unconscious. The Editor is the "should " voice, as in you should write everything perfectly the first time, you should make money with your writing, you should make no spelling errors. The Writer organizes your writing life, finds blank paper and pens that work, makes time to sit at the computer or go to a coffeehouse with your notebook. The Crazy Child is the urge to write, that itch in your psyche or body that wants to get out into the world. We'll tell the Editor and Writer to take a walk and let your Crazy Child write whatever it wants.

Our Writers and Editors may be fine at their jobs, but they often get involved too early in our writing. By letting the Crazy Child write whatever it wants, we'll produce energetic and enlightening rough drafts. These drafts will display our strengths, our passion and our most deeply held beliefs, and they are usually strongly stated. When we repeat your most vivid lines back to you, you'll discover that you are doing at least one or two things very well. You'll find your Crazy Child is smarter and far better organized than the Editor and Writer might think.

This workshop will help you get started on creative writing of any sort -- poems, stories, personal essays, plays, novels. The history and underpinnings of what we do is spelled out in Let the Crazy Child Write! (New World Library, 1998) or, briefly, in "Preface" and "Chapter One" at the website The blog at the website contains entries for the sequel, Embrace Your Inspiration.

For beginners, for developing writers and for professionals who want to expand their horizons. Friday night will be for getting acquainted and starting to write. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be time for more writing, reading, compassionate criticism, and summary.

This event is supported by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation.

Fee: $325 (Harbin residents $225), which includes:
• dormitory lodging on Friday and Saturday night,
• five catered meals on Saturday and Sunday, and
• use of all Harbin facilities from Fri. 12:00 - Sun. 10:00 p.m.
• Register by the 1st of May for $50 off.


6:00 - 8:00 - Workshop

8:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast
9:00 - 12:00 - Workshop
12:00 - 1:00 - Lunch
1:00 - 5:00 - Workshop
5:00 - 6:00 - Dinner
6:30 - 8:00 - Reading on Harbin Mainside

8:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast
9:00 - 12:00 - Workshop
12:00 - 1:00 - Lunch
1:00 - 4:00 - Workshop


Clive Matson arrived on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1960, a fresh-faced adolescent with a blank notebook under his arm. He quickly fell in with the Beat Generation – his first event was a reading at the Tenth Street Coffeehouse, where he met Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Diane di Prima.

The proto-Beat Herbert Huncke became his second father, and Matson was captivated by John Wieners’ poetry and subsequently by Alden Van Buskirk’s. Diane di Prima published Matson’s first poems, Mainline to the Heart. Matson and his first wife Erin Black immersed themselves in sex, hard drugs, and psychedelics of 1960s Bohemian life. Eventually Matson became overwhelmed and returned to the West Coast. Psychotherapy, Vipassana meditation, and twelve-step programs became fixtures in his life.

Space Age (1969) displays his psychedelic years, Heroin (1972) outlines his struggle with addiction, On the Inside (1981) continues the political sight of his communist grandparents, and Equal in Desire (1982) shows feminism instructing his own sexuality.

In 1978, he got involved in workshops and found he could make a living teaching creative writing. He returned to school in the 1980s and earned his MFA in poetry at Columbia University. He has taught more than 3,000 workshops nationwide.

Matson co-edited, with the late Allen Cohen, the anthology An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind - Poets on 9/11 (Regent Press, Oakland, 2002), which won the 2003 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award.

Chalcedony's First Ten Songs (2007) obsess on sexual passion. The poems are an extension of Matson’s Beat training, as Chalcedony makes a vibrant call to body and spirit and earth through the sensory world. The poems continue in Chalcedony's Second Ten Songs (2009).

Mostly Matson writes from the itch in his body, and says he always has. He likes playing basketball, table tennis, and collecting minerals in the field. He lives in Oakland, California, where he helps parent his teen-age son, Ezra.


Just a little appreciation for the power of the weekend. And the safety. And all the extraordinary writing, so inspiring to me. What an amazing first writing workshop, my God! I am SO spoiled now. I'm going to compare any future workshop to this one, and it will be as doomed! – Tony E.

For more detailed information about Harbin Hot Springs visit

For questions about the Writing Workshop contact Clive:
Phone: 510-654-6495

For questions about Harbin Hot Springs contact Elaine:
Phone: 707-987-2339x72

To register: Send a check made out to Elaine Watt to:

Elaine Watt
Harbin Hot Springs
P.O. Box 782
Middletown, CA 95461

Workshop Fees
Vineyard House
valley view

May 17 - 19, 2013
July 19 - 21, 2013
November 22 - 24, 2013