Larksong Origin Stories #1

Karen Shoemaker

Monday, September 14, 2020

Let’s start with who we are, no, let’s start with who I am (Oh lordy, this blog is already an unwieldy existential beast and I’m not even through the first paragraph of the first entry!).

Okay, I’ll start by introducing myself: I’m Karen Gettert Shoemaker – a writer, teacher, and chaser of dreams according to my most recent website label. I write novels and short stories mostly, though I’ve some poetry and nonfiction out in the world (See bio for specifics). I’ve been a teacher since back in the late 1900s. It’s so jarring to see it written that way, isn’t it? But it’s true so I’ll leave it.

Enough of that background, what I really want to talk to you about is the “chaser of dreams” part of my bio. I’ve been chasing a dream that, if you’re a writer or want to be a writer – may be of interest to you. In the last paragraph of this blog you’ll find a way to connect with this dream.  The dream – its evolution, development, and manifestations – will be the enduring focus of this blog.

I have this dream of creating a writers’ place in Lincoln NE, an independent literary center that offers workshops and retreat space for creative writers. I envision it as a community where people can find the space and support they need to fulfill their own dreams of living a writer’s life, or simply finding a way to tell their own stories and express themselves. Nebraska is under-represented in the world’s literary imagination, a lack that puts the pressure of finding national recognition on the individual with each new project. We’re a fly-over state to much of the world, unfamiliar even to ourselves in many ways. I want to help change that. I want to bring together writers and other artists at all levels of their careers in a co-working space that is both virtual and physical. I want to offer workshops with both nationally and locally esteemed writers. I want there to be retreat spaces for writers to work and dream. I want to offer ongoing educational opportunities, readings and casual gatherings that inform, educate, and excite the creative souls in the community. Lincoln – all of Nebraska really – is filled with vibrant, creative individuals, groups, spaces, events, and co-ops. I want there to be one dedicated to writers, poets, songwriters, playwrights, screenwriters and any other writer you dream of being.

Larksong Writers Place is more than just a dream.

This dream I’m chasing has two origin stories: one from my personal history and one from my professional history, and I’ll share both with you in the upcoming blog entries. In the meantime, I not only invite you to dream this dream with me, I invite you into the reality of it. Members of the Larksong Writers Place team have been living our way toward fulfilling the dream. Even in the midst of a pandemic, we are finding ways to build the community and offer support to writers. The newest offerings include on-line workshops led by professional writers and teachers. I’ll be leading one on prose writing.  Lucy Adkins will be leading one on memoir writing, and Grace Bauer will be leading poets in a revision workshop. I love these two women writers, and I think you will too. Check out the workshop page on our web site. Join us!


Larksong is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are committed to supporting both the writers who come to us for instruction and the writers who come to us to teach. We keep our class fees low, offer free programming, and pay our instructors. Please consider supporting our mission by making a tax-deductible donation.