Tag Archives: meridian writers

December writing retreat! Join us for a day of writing in the East Bay hills…

photo of narrow wooden deck, looking out over trees and mt tamalpais

The view from our writing room!

Meridian Writers
 an all-day writing retreat!
Saturday, December 1, 10:30am-5:30pm.
(Light breakfast from 9:45-10:30am)
Lunch provided.

Open to all writers, regardless of writing experience or previous participation in Meridian Writers.

Location: Private home in the East Bay

Treat yourself to a day of good writing, good food, and good community!

photo of brown dog lying on a wooden deck next to table and chairs, looking out over eucalyptus grove

(Sophie enjoying the deck)

For this day-long writing retreat, we gather for coffee or tea and some home-baked breakfast, and then write through the rest of the morning. After a break for lunch, we dive back into our work through the afternoon, and we close by 5:30pm.

You’ll end the day with:

  • New creative writing,
  • Feedback about what’s strong and powerful in your writing,
  • A strong sense of writing community, and
  • Inspiration to keep on diving into your words

Give yourself a day to immerse yourself in words and supportive community — in a beautiful, quiet space with views overlooking the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Fee: The fee for day-long retreats is $200; a $100 non-refundable deposit will secure your registration.

Spaces are limited: Please let me know if you’d like more information or would like to register! Write to me at jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org; visit writingourselveswhole.org for more info about our workshops or methods.

Announce: Our Fall’18 Schedule!

Once again, we’ve got a full group schedule coming up this fall:

  • Write Whole: Survivors Write – open to all women survivors of sexual trauma
  • Meridian Writers – a morning writing group open to all writers
  • Writing the Flood – our monthly writing meet-up!
  • Day-long Meridian Writing Retreat – Give yourself a day to fall into your words
  • Online: Embodied Writing – honoring the stories of our bodies
  • Dive Deep – a manuscript working group

More information about each group is below. Contact me if you have questions about any of our offerings, or if you’d like to register!


Write Whole: Survivors Write
For women survivors of sexual trauma
Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:00
November 7 – December 19 (7 week session)
Fee: $375
Where: Writing Ourselves Whole workshop space, 1 block from 12th St./City Center BART station in Oakland

Many of us who are survivors of trauma feel fragmented or disjointed and have come to believe we must always live our lives this way.
In Write Whole groups, we learn that we can live and feel whole in our experiences and desires — we create new art through writing, transforming our pains and fears into power and love. Transforming and expanding our language has the effect of changing who we know ourselves to be. In a Write Whole writing group, you’ll write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing, engaging with such subjects as: body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more. Though we come together as survivors, we are never required to write any particular version of “our abuse story.” In this space, you have the opportunity to write as you feel called to write, no matter what the subject. Although the setting is a supportive one, this workshop is different from a “support group,” as the focus of the workshop itself is on each person’s writing. We create beauty out of the sometimes extraordinarily difficult stuff of our lives. (Each writer will also meet with Jen for a one-hour private consultation.)


Meridian Writers:
Find your center & write your story.
Wednesday mornings, 9:30am-12 pm
November 7 – December 19 (7 week session)
Fee: $425
Where: Writing Ourselves Whole workshop space, 1 block from 12th St./City Center BART station in Oakland

Are you ready to release the stories at your core? Meridian Writers is seeking writers who prefer a fun, generous and supportive atmosphere in which to write together and celebrate one another’s creative efforts.

All genres and all experience levels are welcome — give yourself the structure you need to let your writing flow. Writers at this workshop create work in many different genres: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, memoir, science fiction, and more. Whether you are working on a longer project or ready to let a new voice emerge, you are invited to join this community of writers who are connecting more deeply with their writing practice. Find a strong new creative community, and create a beautiful body of new writing. (Each writer will also meet with Jen for a one-hour private consultation.)


Writing the Flood
General-topic monthly writing workshop
Fee for this workshop is $50 (with a sliding scale)
Meets the third Saturday of each month, 1:00-4:30 pm (except when otherwise noted!)
Fall groups: October 13, November 17, December 15
Where: Writing Ourselves Whole workshop space, 1 block from 12th St./City Center BART station in Oakland

For anyone looking to prime the writing pump or learn more about the Writing Ourselves Whole writing group format: using the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we write in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, so that you can get onto the page the stories that have been stuck inside for too long.

Continue working on an ongoing project, or get started on something that’s been percolating for awhile. We have time for three different writing exercises, so you’ll leave with fresh material. No previous writing experience required — open to folks of all writing abilities!


Dive Deep – A manuscript working group
Next cohort opens January 2019
Where: Writing Ourselves Whole workshop space, 1 block from 12th St./City Center BART station in Oakland

This workgroup is designed for those who have delved into (or are ready to commit to) the deep dive of a large* writing project:

  • a novel;
  • poetry, story or essay collection;
  • play or screenplay;
  • daily blogging;
  • preparing work for publication;
  • or any other long-term writing project.

Though writing is a solitary pursuit, no writer has ever completed a long work alone!

Divers meet three times per month for writing exercises, project check-in and accountability, manuscript feedback, coaching and peer support. This group can help you meet your writing goal, and provides community and encouragement as you go deep into your writing projects. This is necessary work you’re doing: give yourself all the tools and support you need.

* “large” is relative — whatever your writing project is, if you want support and accountability and regular connection around that work, we would love to have you!

Workshop fees: This is an ongoing group; the fee is $250/month, with a three-month initial commitment required; the group will remain closed for three-month cycles, then will open at the end of those cycles for the possible addition of new members. Dive Deep is limited to 6 members per cohort.


Meridian Retreat
a haven for your words
Saturday, November 3, 10:30am-5:30pm.
Fee: The fee for day-long retreats is $200; a $100 non-refundable deposit will secure your registration.
Where: Private home in the East Bay

Open to all writers, regardless of writing experience or previous participation in Meridian Writers.

Treat yourself to a day of good writing, good food, and good community! For this day-long writing retreat, we gather for coffee or tea and some home-baked breakfast, and then write through the rest of the morning. After a break for lunch (provided), we dive back into our work through the afternoon, and we close by 5:30pm.

You’ll leave the retreat with: a rich body of new creative writing; feedback about what’s already strong and powerful in your new writing; and inspiration to keep on writing.

Give yourself a day to write in a beautiful, quiet space with views overlooking the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.


Online writing group:

Embodied Writing:
Honoring our bodies’ stories
November 11 – December 22, 2018
Fee: $250

For those not in the Bay Area and therefore unable to attend in-person workshops, or for those uncomfortable with joining us in person.

Participation in the writing groups is both in-person and asynchronous: join us for weekly writing sessions and access exercises and readings, write and post your writing, and respond to others’ writing as works best for your schedule.

No special software required–just a web browser, Internet connection, and desire to write into your deepest stories.


Visit our Groups page to learn more about our writing groups, and contact Jen with questions or to register!

June writing retreat! Join us for a day of writing in the East Bay hills…

photo of narrow wooden deck, looking out over trees and mt tamalpais

(view from our writing room out to Mt. Tam)

photo of clouds over El Cerrito, rainbow emerging from the bay

photo of brown dog lying on a wooden deck next to table and chairs, looking out over eucalyptus grove

(Sophie enjoying the deck)

Meridian Writers
 an all-day writing retreat!
Sunday, June 24, 10:30am-5:30pm.
(Light breakfast from 9:45-10:30am)
Lunch provided.

Open to all writers, regardless of writing experience or previous participation in Meridian Writers.

Location: Private home in the East Bay

Treat yourself to a day of good writing, good food, and good community!

For this day-long writing retreat, we gather for coffee or tea and some home-baked breakfast, and then write through the rest of the morning. After a break for lunch, we dive back into our work through the afternoon, and we close by 5:30pm.

You’ll leave the retreat with: a rich body of new creative writing; feedback about what’s already strong and powerful in your new writing; and inspiration to keep on writing.

Give yourself a day to write in a beautiful, quiet space with views overlooking the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The fee for day-long retreats is $200; a $100 non-refundable deposit will secure your registration.

Spaces are limited: Please let me know if you’d like more information or would like to register! Write to me at jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org; visit writingourselveswhole.org for more info about our workshops or methods.

Opportunities to write this spring, with Writing Ourselves Whole

If there are words ripening in you these days, come join us at one of our many writing groups and workshops – either in person or online! Here’s what’s the spring schedule looks like at Writing Ourselves Whole:
Write Whole-Survivors Write. Open to all survivors of trauma 8 Wednesday evenings beginning March 28, 2018. Fee: $375 (ask about scholarship/payment plan, if needed) Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near 12th St BART Gather with other trauma survivors and write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing around such subjects as body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more.
Meridian Writers: A general-topic writing space open to all 8 Wednesday evenings beginning March 28, 2018. Fee: $425 (fees support our trauma survivors writing groups) Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near 12th St BART Open to writers seeking a fun, generous, and supportive atmosphere in which to write together and support one another’s creative efforts.
Dive Deep: An advanced manuscript/project workgroup – initial group is currently at capacity; now forming a second group! Next series begins begins April 2018 Fee: $225/month (multiple-month commitment) Limited to 6 members per group Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near 12th St BART Designed for those working on (or committing to) a larger project, such as a novel or memoir. Divers meet three times per month for writing, project check-in/accountability, feedback, coaching and peer support.
Online Write Whole 6-week summer sessions begin March 18, 2018 Fee is $250 (sliding scale). If you are not comfortable joining an in-person group, we offer online groups as well. This spring, our Write Whole: Survivors Write online is open to all survivors of sexual trauma. No special software required — just a computer, internet connection, and desire to write in supportive community.
Writing the Flood. A monthly writing workshop open to all Meets the third Saturday of every month Limited to 12. Fee is $50 (with a sliding scale) Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near 12th St BART Write in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories that have been too long stuck inside. Next Flood Write meets Saturday, March 17. Mark your calendars now for the rest of the summer: April 21, May 19.
Create the space in your busy life for the power of your good words! All workshops facilitated by Jen Cross. Email me with any questions, or visit our contact page to register.

Brief Write Whole postponement and more…

Just a quick note! We have had to briefly postpone the start of our Winter Write Whole session – we now begin next Wednesday, 1/17! We still have a few spaces available in that group, so contact me if you’d like to join us!

Here’s what we’ve got coming up this month:

~Write Whole: Survivors Write
Open to women sexual trauma survivors
8 Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:00pm,
January 17-March 7

o In the *Write Whole: Survivors Write* workshop, you’ll gather with other trauma survivors to create new art and new beauty out of life’s difficult and complicated realities. Learn to trust the flow of your own writing, and receive immediate feedback about the power of your words! Remember: we’re open to all women, and ‘survivor’ is self-defined! Fee is $375; partial scholarships are available for all trauma-centered writing groups. 

~Meridian Writers
A general-topic group open to all writers – begins tomorrow!
8 Wednesday mornings, 9:30am-12:00pm, beginning January 10

o *Meridian Writers* invites you to join a community of writers who are connecting more deeply with their writing practice. Find your center and write your story. Coffee and/or tea will be provided, as well as light snacks (sometimes even including homemade bread). At the end of our eight weeks together, you will have a new creative community, and a strong body of new writing. Spaces are limited to 9 writers per workshop session. Fee: $425. Fees from this workshop support scholarships for Writing Ourselves Whole’s workshops for trauma survivors.

~Writing the Flood
Drop in and write!
Third Saturday of every month, 1-4:30pm
Except for this month, when we meet on January 27 (because: women’s marches on 1/20!)

o *Writing the Flood* is a writing group for anyone looking to prime the writing pump: using the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we will write together in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories, poems, essays, images and voices that have been stuck inside for too long. This is a time to work on a larger project, get started on new work, play on the page, or write yourself through a block and back into your writing voice. Fee for this workshop is $25-50, sliding scale.

Join us!

No previous writing experience necessary! All groups meet near BART station and other public transportation options. Spaces are still available, though limited, and pre-registration is required! 

Questions or concerns? Write to me at jennifer(at)writingourselveswhole.org.

Winter ’18 Workshop Schedule: We’re Back!

Companer@, I know that you are hurting but you are still alive you will survive and together we will dismantle the systems that broke our heartsHello writers & writers-to-be!

I am delighted to announce that we’ll be offering a full workshop schedule beginning next year! While it’s been good to have a break from the work of running a business while I was in school, I have very much missed the energy and power of the groups — and given all that’s happening in the world these days, there’s just about no place I’d rather be than in a room full of powerhouse writers laying claim to their own voices and words.

As we move into this time of fertile dark and reflection, you may find yourself seeking a space that can hold the fullness and complexity of your deepest stories. At Writing Ourselves Whole, we believe in the power of story, the joy of writing, and the breadth of human creative resilience. We believe that community can hold, witness and celebrate the stories that we have been told are unspeakable.

Here are the writing opportunities we have coming up this beginning next year at Writing Ourselves Whole:

~Write Whole: Survivors Write
Open to women sexual trauma survivors
8 Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:00pm, beginning January 10

o In the *Write Whole: Survivors Write* workshop, you’ll gather with other trauma survivors to create new art and new beauty out of life’s difficult and complicated realities. Learn to trust the flow of your own writing, and receive immediate feedback about the power of your words! Remember: we’re open to all women, and ‘survivor’ is self-defined! Fee is $375; partial scholarships are available for all trauma-centered writing groups. 

~Meridian Writers
A general-topic group open to all writers!
8 Wednesday mornings, 9:30am-12:00pm, beginning January 10

o *Meridian Writers* invites you to join a community of writers who are connecting more deeply with their writing practice. Find your center and write your story. Coffee and/or tea will be provided, as well as light snacks (sometimes even including homemade bread). At the end of our eight weeks together, you will have a new creative community, and a strong body of new writing. Spaces are limited to 9 writers per workshop session. Fee: $425. Fees from this workshop support scholarships for Writing Ourselves Whole’s workshops for trauma survivors.

~Writing the Flood
Drop in and write!
Third Saturday of every month, 1-4:30pm
Upcoming groups meet on November 18, December 16, and January 20

o *Writing the Flood* is a writing group for anyone looking to prime the writing pump: using the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we will write together in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories, poems, essays, images and voices that have been stuck inside for too long. This is a time to work on a larger project, get started on new work, play on the page, or write yourself through a block and back into your writing voice. Fee for this workshop is $25-50, sliding scale.

~ Dive Deep
An advanced, manuscript-centered workgroup
First 2018 cohort opens to new members on Thursday, January 4

o The *Dive Deep* workgroup is for those who have delved into (or are ready to commit to) the deep dive of a large writing project, such as a novel, memoir, or poetry collection. Though writing is a solitary pursuit, no writer has ever completed a long work alone: Divers meet three times per month for writing, project check-in and accountability, feedback, coaching and peer support. This group can help you meet your writing goal, and provide community and encouragement as you go deep into a writing project. The fee is $225/month, with a three-month commitment required; the group will remain closed for those three months, in order to give Divers the opportunity to set long-term goals in an established and supportive community.

~ Write Whole Online
Open to all sexual trauma survivors
6-week online writing group begins on Sunday, January 7

o *Online Writing Groups* are designed for those unable to attend in-person workshops, or for those uncomfortable with or less inclined toward joining us in person. Participation in the writing groups is all asynchronous: you access exercises and readings, write and post your responses, and offer feedback on others’ writings as works best for your schedule. No special software required–just a web browser, Internet connection, and desire to write into your deepest stories. Fee: $250 (sliding scale).

Join us!

No previous writing experience necessary! All groups meet near BART station and other public transportation options. Spaces are still available, though limited, and pre-registration is required! 

Questions or concerns? Write to me at jennifer(at)writingourselveswhole.org.

what does it mean to love a word?

Poem graffiti from Reykjavik, Iceland. Photographer writes: Good morning, good morning. It’s a bright day here, was already when I opened my eyes at 5:30, sun already pushed over the horizon, clouds cleared away, sky preparing to burn. The garden is happy for these bright, warm (even rainy — a miracle) days — but I’m feeling crabby. And not just because my period is several days late.

I am missing the dark these days. I need some hibernation time, a period of incubation — I’d like to write in the cave for awhile. If I wanted to wake into darkness, I’d have to set my alarm for 4:30, or even 4 — which means going to bed early, which makes these workshops that go until 9:30 or so a problem. But the workshops are winding down — and that’s bringing its own sadness.

This week was the last meeting of the most recent Meridian group, my Wednesday morning writing group. Continue reading

learning to listen to different forms of success

MissionFishes-711504Good morning, good morning. The sun outside is bright egg yolk orange, just over the Oakland hills. How is the morning finding you today?

I have been thinking a lot about success and failure these days. I’ve been caught up quite a lot in comparing myself to others who are more successful, according to our American standards: folks who have high-paying jobs, folks who own houses, folks who are able to travel wherever and whenever they want, folks who have money and access and what I assume is a kind of ease. Do you do this to yourself, too?

Here’s what came of this rumination at this week’s Meridian Writers group on Wednesday morning:

She has failed to grow up and become a successful business person. Continue reading

If you resolved to write, join us in 2015!

Did you make some writing-related resolutions for your creative self in 2015? Come and join us at one of our many writing groups and workshops, and bring those intentions into reality. Here’s what’s the winter schedule looks like at Writing Ourselves Whole!

Declaring Our Erotic: Open to all women survivors of sexual trauma
8 Tuesdays, beginning January 12, 2015.
Fee: $375 (scholarship/payment plan available)
Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near Lake Merritt
Find community around the complexity of desire, and transform your relationship with your creative self through explicit erotic writing.

Meridian Writers: Daytime, general topic writing workshop open to all!
9 Wednesday mornings beginning January 14, 2015.
Fee: $425 (Fees from this workshop help support Writing Ourselves Whole’s workshops for trauma survivors.)
Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near Lake Merritt
Find your center and write your story with a other writers who are connecting more deeply with their writing practice. At the end of our nine weeks together, you will have a new creative community, and a strong body of original writing.

Dive Deep: An advanced manuscript/project workgroup
Next series begins begins January 2015
Fee: $200/month (multiple-month commitment)
Limited to 6 members per group
Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near Lake Merritt
Designed for those working on (or committing to) a larger project, such as a novel or memoir. Divers meet three times per month for writing, project check-in/accountability, feedback, coaching and peer support.

Write Whole-Survivors Write. Open to all survivors of trauma
8 Monday evenings beginning April 6, 2015.
Fee: $375 (ask about scholarship/payment plan, if needed)
Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near Lake Merritt
Gather with other trauma survivors and write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing around such subjects as body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more.

Writing the Flood. A monthly writing workshop open to all
Meets the third Saturday of every month
Limited to 12. Fee is $50 (with a sliding scale)
Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near Lake Merritt
Write in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories that have been too long stuck inside
Next Flood Write meets Saturday, January 17. Mark your calendars now for the rest of the winter: February 21, March 21.

Create the space in your summer for the power of your good words! All workshops facilitated by Jen Cross. Email me with any questions, or visit our contact page to register!

Another chance to write your story this winter!

Rockridge HeartsAre you seeking a space to write that will welcome the depth and complexity of your whole story? Do you want the weekly invitation to write and the knowledge that you will receive honest, kind and generous feedback about your words? Join us at Writing Ourselves Whole, and let your writing flow.

We’ve had to juggle the winter workshop schedule at Writing Ourselves Whole, which means you still have time to register for our survivors writing group or our general-topic daytime writing group:

  • Write Whole: Survivors Write, open to all trauma survivors, now begins Monday evening, February 10 (meets 8 Monday evenings, 6:30-9:00pm)
  • Meridian Writers, a new, general-topic group open to all writers, now begins Wednesday morning, February 12 (meets 9 Wednesday mornings, 9:30am-12:00pm)

Read on for more details about these groups! Contact me if you’d like to join us, and please feel welcome to forward this information to those you think might be interested in joining us.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Workshop descriptions:

o In the Write Whole: Survivors Write workshop, you’ll gather with other trauma survivors to create new art and new beauty out of life’s difficult and complicated realities. Learn to trust the flow of your own writing, and receive immediate feedback about the power of your words! Remember: we’re open to ALL trauma survivors, and ‘survivor’ is self-defined! Fee is $350; partial scholarships are available for all trauma-centered writing groups.

o Meridian Writers invites you to join a new community of writers who are connecting more deeply with their writing practice. Find your center and write your story. New Wednesday morning group forming now! At the end of our nine weeks together, you will have a new creative community, and a strong body of original writing. Spaces are limited to 9 writers per workshop session. Fee for our regular 9 week workshop is $425. Fees from this workshop help support Writing Ourselves Whole’s workshops for trauma survivors.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

No previous writing experience necessary! All groups use the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method. We meet in Oakland, near Lake Merritt, close to several BART stations. Space is not wheelchair accessible. Spaces are still available, though limited, and pre-registration is required! To write with us, email Jen at jennifer(at)writingourselveswhole.org.

I look forward to writing with you!