Better Know an Educator: Brooke Williams

Brooke Williams believes that each of us has one story that we tell over and over again in many different forms, and, during a writing workshop on Comb Ridge in Bluff, Utah, Williams told us his. Drawing on the work of Carl Jung and others, Williams helped us understand the concept of the “collective unconscious,” the idea that humans share an ancestral memory, accessible within each of us. There are many ways to tap into our collective unconscious, but for Williams this is best done through being outside in wild places. By wandering, following anything that catches the eye, and paying attention to moments of awe, we are able to find our true, wild, inner selves. Williams believes that what is most personal to each of us is also most universal, and an understanding of the collective unconscious can enable us to write a story that is “so personal it is universal”. Furthermore, within these stories are the tools we need solve the problems of today and save our species. We are wasting our time if we do not tell them.

By: Abby Popenoe

Better Know an Educator: Ann Walka

According to Anne Walka, a writer and naturalist, there are three sins in writing: using empty words, using too many words, and trying to sound “cool.” Sitting in the sun on Comb Ridge, just west of the small town of Bluff, UT, she challenges Semester in the West students to call out their favorite verbs. A wilderness guide-turned-poet, Anne is the author of books including Waterlines: Journeys on a Desert River and Walking the Unknown River (And Other Travels in Escalante Country). Her comfort in the desert landscape around Comb Ridge is plain to see as she guides us in noticing the place we are in; what it sounds like, what it tastes like, what it feels like. “Can you think of anything as quiet as a lizard’s shadow?” she asks.

By Kenzie Spoone