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Meet the 2019 Scribes Instructors: Erich Schweikher and Sierra Nelson at MOHAI

Posted Tue, 6/11/2019 - 9:09am by  |  Category: ,

Let your imagination soar in Scribes at MOHAI.

We’re excited to team up with the Museum of History and Industry again for this year’s Scribes summer camps. Scribes at MOHAI is a two-week summer camp that takes students on a dive into the craft of poetry and prose, as well as our region’s history.

Throughout the camp, Scribes will explore elements of creative writing and create new works inspired by the Museum’s exhibitions on the history of Seattle, the innovators who have helped put our city on the map, our relationship to water, and more. As an added bonus, the camp’s final community reading takes place on a boat on Lake Union.

Scribes at MOHAI is open to young writers in grades 7 – 12 and runs from July 22 to August 2.

This session is led by Erich Schweikher—poet and aspiring tugboat captain—and Sierra Nelson, poet and cephalopod enthusiast. Meet them and learn why they’re excited for this year’s camps below.


Erich Schweikher

Quick! Favorite word, right now. 

Eunoia (means beautifully thinking. It is also the shortest word in the English language to use all five vowels)

A book or writer you wish you’d known about when you were 15 OR a book you wish had been around when you were 15:

Tillie Olson

I knew I was going to be a writer when…

A college professor (the wonderful writer Lisa Fishman) told me I would be a better poet than an archaeologist.

Describe Scribes in five words.

Community, spirited, mischievous (in the best ways), assumption-challenging, courageous

What are you most looking forward to about teaching at MOHAI?

I love being able to let the students truly make use of the space and exhibits. The history of Seattle and the specific displays provide wonderful material for inspiration and reflection. There truly is a writing prompt around every corner. Being right on the water is also inspiring. Lake Union Park is an oasis in the big city, and while that area is changing by the minute the lake and MOHAI create a timeless refuge of sorts. It is also an interesting place to witness the intersection of nature, technology, and transportation, and reflect on how each affect the other.


Sierra Nelson

Quick! Favorite word, right now. 

Pseudomorph 

A book or writer you wish you’d known about when you were 15 OR a book you wish had been around when you were 15:

I just started reading the new “Ms. Marvel” (Kamala Khan) comics. I wish I had had that character to read growing up! 

I knew I was going to be a writer when…

During the winter when I was seven, my mom started writing poetry and I did too. I didn’t know then how you could “be” a writer or what that might look like as a job, but I was lucky to have a mom who was interested in exploring poetry for herself and who was excited and encouraging when I wrote my first poem. I feel lucky to have had that early experience of doing something that I love doing, and that I was able to pursue it to become a published writer. As a teaching artist I want writers of all ages, whatever age you first come to it, to have that opportunity to experience how awesome creative writing can be—for yourself, and wherever you want to take it next. 

Describe Scribes in five words.

Fun creative writing growth: transformative! 

What are you most looking forward to about teaching at MOHAI?

I love teaching at MOHAI because we get to explore the museum for free as part of our creative process. (Plus the other fun field trips we go on.) History, science, boats, planes, a pink “toe” truck, conversations eavesdropped in the gift shop, all become part of the catalyst for inspiration. We also get to have our final Scribes reading on a boat! (The historic Virginia V.)


Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing interviews with some of the 2019 Scribes instructors to learn more about their literary style and why they’re excited for this year’s camps.For more information on the camps and to register, visit the Scribes page.