Cary Tennis Writing Workshop Factsheet

Feel free to call or text me at 415 308-5685, or e-mail me at with any questions. I’m happy to hear from you, and to provide this info!—Cary T.

sign-up page contact info
delicious baked goods schedule maps
price atmosphere parking
drop-in rate nearby eats driving directions
what to read how it works public transit
materials the 5 essential affirmations my writing on creativity

contact: Cary’s cellphone: 415 308-5685. House phone (land line): 415 731-2661. Email:

street address: 1966 48th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94116, between Pacheco and Ortega in the Outer Sunset. It’s a bright yellow swirly-painted house on the east side of 48th Avenue, the eighth house north of Pacheco.

schedule: Evening in-house workshops run from 7 to 10 p.m. with a 15-minute break for beverages and snacks. Saturday workshops run from 3 to 6 p.m. (note new time), also with a 15-minute break for beverages and snacks. View the online calendar here.

how it works: The workshop follows the Amherst Writers and Artists method as outlined in Pat Schneider’s book Writing Alone and With Others. I am trained by Pat and certified in this method. See Pat Schneider’s Web site as well as the Amherst Writers and Artists Web site for more about this method, its history, other practitioners, etc. Also see my writing about creativity.

price and refund policy: The price is $450 for 10 sessions. There are no cash refunds after the second week of the session, but credit is given toward the next session if you must drop out of the current one. Feel free to drop in for one session at the $50 drop-in rate and see what you think.

drop-in rate: If you would like to drop in for just one session, the rate is $50.

materials: Please bring whatever you write on — a handwritten journal or notebook, such as the venerable Mead 100-page composition book, or a laptop computer.

what to read: Writing Alone and With Others, by Pat Schneider, is a good thing to read but there is no required reading for the workshop.

parking: Parking on 48th Avenue, on Pacheco and Ortega and on Lower Great Highway is plentiful. The neighborhood is safe and quiet and you can hear the ocean. You can also walk on the ocean before or after the workshop, as it is less than a block away.

nearby eats: On the corner of Noriega and 46th is The Pizza Place on Noriega, an excellent pizza joint and surfer hangout. La Playa Taqueria, a burrito joint, is pretty decent, and there’s two cafes, the Devils Teeth Bakery and the Sea Biscuit. On Judah,  four blocks away, are Java Beach, the Beachside, the Seabreeze, the quite excellent Outerlands, and the Thai Cottage.

delicious baked goods: Norma Tennis bakes for every workshop. Excellent cookies, pastries, cakes and assorted treats are always available at the workshop, as are delicious cheeses with crackers, drip-brewed coffee made in the Moccamaster, fresh cold filtered water, and occasionally fruit and other things.

atmosphere: The house is warm, comfortable and pretty much non-allergenic, as there are hardwood floors and all the paint is new, and the furnace is new, and the furniture is mainly of a lightly upholstered variety. Plus, the ocean air can be quite invigorating!

maps: Google or Yahoo

public transit:

Muni L Taraval: Take the L Taraval outbound (west); debark at ***46th*** Avenue (48th does not extend to Taraval) and walk north (to the right) four blocks to Pacheco. Go left (west) on Pacheco, walk two blocks to 48th, turn right (north) and it’s the eighth house on the right, 1966.

Muni N Judah: Take the N Judah outbound (west); debark at 48th Avenue and walk south (left) 5-3/4 blocks (passing Irving, Judah, Kirkham, Lawton, Moraga, Noriega and Ortega) to the big swirly yellow house on the left at 1966 48th Avenue.

Muni 71 or 71L: Catch the 71 or 71L anywhere along its outbound route and follow it to the end of the line, 48th and Ortega. As you step off the bus, walk a few steps in the same direction the bus is facing, to 48th Avenue, cross 48th Avenue, turn right and walk down 48th Avenue 3/4 of a block to the big swirly yellow house on your left at 1966 48th Avenue. (Did I mention it’s the big swirly yellow house?)

Muni 66 Quintara: (also see the Muni Haiku Project) Yes, indeed, the 66 Quintara is an amazingly slow public conveyance, leading one to question one’s existence … but if you happened to live in the Inner Sunset and did not want to take the 71 (because it’s too fast, perhaps?) or the N-Judah, you could catch the 66 at 9th and Judah and take it to 46th and Quintara … not recommended!

Also: Muni 38 Geary to the 18 46th Ave. — check it out. It’s doable. The 18 Sloat travels along 46th Avenue, so you would get off at Pacheco and walk two blocks to 48th, then right to 1966 48th. See Muni maps for details or ask me!

BART: Take BART to San Francisco Civic Center Station and transfer to the L-Taraval or the N-Judah and follow directions for those routes above.

driving directions:

From the East Bay: Take the Bay Bridge into the San Francisco (about 8 miles from where you get on the bridge), and take the Golden Gate Bridge/101 North exit onto Central Freeway/US-101 N. about a mile and continue onto Octavia Street a few blocks to Fell Street. Turn left (west) on Fell Street and take Fell all the way out through the Fillmore and the lower Haight and Panhandle Park. Follow the main stream of traffic as it becomes Kezar Drive through the edge of Golden Gate Park and then becomes Lincoln, heading west with the Park on your right the whole way out for 2.5 miles to 48th Avenue. Turn left on 48th Avenue and go 7-3/4 blocks (crossing Irving, Judah, Kirkham, Lawton, Moraga, Noriega and Ortega) to 1966 48th Avenue, the big yellow swirly house on the left.

From the North Bay: Take the Golden Gate Bridge to Presidio Boulevard through Golden Gate Park to Lincoln (Lincoln runs east and west along the southern edge of Golden Gate Park). Go right (west) on Lincoln and follow it to 48th Avenue. Turn left on 48th Avenue and go 7-3/4 blocks (passing Irving, Judah, Kirkham, Lawton, Moraga, Noriega and Ortega) to 1966 48th Avenue, the big yellow swirly house on the left.

From most places in the city: Take Lincoln west to 48th Avenue. Turn left on 48th Avenue and go 7-3/4 blocks (passing Irving, Judah, Kirkham, Lawton, Moraga, Noriega and Ortega) to 1966 48th Avenue, the big yellow swirly house on the left.

Or if you know your way around, take Portola to Sloat and — this is important — turn right before the light at Lower Great Highway, ***which is right before the stoplight of Upper Great Highway***. Take Lower Great Highway to Pacheco, turn right on Pacheco, left on 48th to 1966 48th Avenue.

p.s. ***(If as you are going west on Sloat you miss the turn to the ***Lower*** Great Highway and instead turn right on the ***Upper*** Great highway you’re kind of screwed, but not really. You just have to take the Upper Great Highway north a couple of miles across the entire western edge of the Sunset District to Lincoln. Then turn right (east) on Lincoln, then right (south) on 48th Avenue and go 7-3/4 blocks south to 1966 48th. Call us if you get lost.

From the South Bay: If you’re taking 101, follow the signs for 101 North and Golden Gate Bridge, take the Octavia Street exit and take Fell left (west), and follow it west as it become Lincoln and follow it all the way out to 48th Avenue. Turn left on 48th Avenue and go 7-3/4 blocks (passing Irving, Judah, Kirkham, Lawton, Moraga, Noriega and Ortega) to 1966 48th Avenue, the big yellow swirly house on the left.

If you’re taking 280, take the CA-1 South exit toward Pacifica, which comes right after the Hickey Blvd exit.

Exit right on the CA-35 N/Skyline exit.

Take Skyline north almost five miles (passing stoplights at Westmoor, Westridge, John Daly Blvd and John Muir Blvd.).

At Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco, you will see a sign that says Sloat Blvd., Zoo and a left arrow. Take the left on Sloat

At the first light (45th Ave., Java Beach on the corner), turn right.

At the first stopsign
(Wawona) turn left.

At the first stopsign after that (46th Ave.) turn right.

Drive 46th Ave. one mile to Pacheco.

Turn left on Pacheco and right on 48th.

It’s 1966 48th Ave., the yellow swirly-painted house on the right.

Alternatively, follow 280 north until it becomes 19th Avenue, take. a right at Rivera, a right at 18th and a right at Santiago, cross 19th Avenue going west on Santiago, and take Santiago 28 blocks out to 48th Avenue, then right two and a half blocks to 1966 48th Avenue.

In my column on I have written often about the challenges that face writers and artists. Here are some of those columns. I have also published a book of columns specifically about creativity. It’s called Citizens of the Dream and it’s available for purchase here.

Dear Sir, I write today to say that I cannot write.

I’m not afraid of writing, but I am afraid of publishing.

I’m an interesting, talented artist but I can’t take the rejection!

I don’t feel like writing. Does that mean I’m not a writer?

Can I write? I want to write. But I’m afraid to write.

What am I doing here? I got into the hot creative writing MFA program I dreamed of, but now I feel I don’t belong.

I wrote a good book but see nothing but the flaws in it.

I’m scattered and have no ambition — what’s wrong with me? I could be an actor or a writer or even a therapist, but nothing seems to be worth all the work and commitment.

I love journalism but hate asking uncomfortable questions.

I’m an artist terrified of the vast, blank canvas.

The foundation of the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop lies in five simple principles and five simple practices, quoted here as they appear in the book that acts as a guide for this workshop, Writing Alone and With Others, by Pat Schneider:

“The Five Essential Affirmations:

These affirmations rest on a definition of personhood that is nonhierarchical, and a definition of writing as an art form available to all persons.

1. Everyone has a strong, unique voice.

2. Everyone is born with creative genius.

3. Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.

4. The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.

5. A writer is someone who writes.

The Five Essential Practices:

1. A nonhierarchical spirit (how we treat writing) in the workshop is maintained while at the same time an appropriate discipline (how we interact as a group) keeps writers safe.

2. Confidentiality about what is written in the workshop is maintained, and the privacy of the writer is protected. All writing is treated as fiction unless the writer requests that it be treated as autobiography. At all times writers are free to refrain from reading their work aloud.

3. Absolutely no criticism, suggestion, or question is directed toward the writer in response to first-draft, just-written work. A thorough critique is offered only when the writer asks for it and distributes work in manuscript form. Critique is balanced; there is as much affirmation as suggestion for change.

4. The teaching of craft is taken seriously and is conducted through exercises that invite experimentation and growth as well as through response to manuscripts and in private conferences.

5. The leader writes along with the participants and reads that work aloud at least once in each writing session. This practice is absolutely necessary, for only in this way is there equality of risk taking and mutuality of trust.”

I have taken to reading these simple statements every session. It has a nice effect on the mind. It seems to remind the creative engine: OK, you can get to work now, there is a good structure here, it’s time to open up and reveal your mysteries.