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but san francisco doesn’t care

Stencil graffiti on a cement wall; two figures, both standing at garbage cans. One, labeled Good morning, good morning. It’s good here today — quiet, dark. How is the morning finding you today?

When I came down to the writing space yesterday morning, there was a small light already illuminating the room. I’d left the 7-day votive burning from the day before. Usually I light it for the writing time and then blow it out when I’m done, but that morning I shut the case on the computer when I’d finished typing and I hustled upstairs to let Sophie out, to get the day going. I’d moved the candle to the mantle behind me, next to my postcards and pictures, the bulletin board loaded with bits of paper, right in front of the prayer flags — everything flammable at the very least. As I stood there in the doorway, looking at the small flame making circles on the mantle, on the ceiling, I felt deeply grateful that it, that I, hadn’t burned the room, the house. I walked over, moved the candle from the mantle to my desk — even after burning for 24 hours, I could still pick up the top of the glass with my hand and move it to the desktop — and then I sat in my rocking chair for a few minutes and said some thanks.

Things could have gone differently and they didn’t and I am grateful. I just say thanks, as much as I remember to do it, all day long. Not because I think anyone’s listening, but because it shifts my presence in the world, my sense of being. Nothing is granted, nothing is a given. Everything could be different. So I say thanks for the cup of tea, thanks for the clothes I can wear, thanks for the fact of the hummingbird coming to check out the new feeder, thanks for the sunset.

Once again, these days, I go into San Francisco for work. Four days a week, into downtown, past the folks shooting up at Civic Center station, then up into the twitter folks wandering around in their thin expensive tshirts and shiny shoes, grown men on skateboards and young women still having to act like they’re impressed by it all. I walk past the encampments on the corners and the old man standing with his hand out on the corner of 9th and Mission, his hair long to his shoulders, clothes loose, his body a permanent question mark, spare change, spare change, spare change. His is a mantra, his song, his breath. I haven’t put money in his hands, and I wonder if anyone does. I make eye contact when I say no, though. Does it matter that I try to make human contact when I am still denying him what he needs? The need is so great all around the city, around the Bay Area, all the way across these just three blocks from the BART station to my office: open hands, cups shaking their bits of change, men playing instruments in the station — they bring amps and a box for bills. There is a woman who stands at the top of the stairs at Market and 8th. She just stands there, leaning on her walker. I don’t see her asking for money, I don’t see her seeking any particular kind of attention. She just stands there, watching the flood of people heading down into the mouth of the terminal, leaving work. I am one of that flood.

We are fish, we are a flock of seagulls, we are lemmings headed over the cliff and we think we have done something that day, we got a job, we sat at a desk and answered phones, we looked at a screen, we answered an email, we sent somebody something they needed and in exchange, we take home money, someone gives us money. The transaction has more middlemen but is not, in essence, different from that the man on the corner is seeking, or the man in the Civic Center BART station playing his guitar and singing and I wanted to sit and listen to him, his voice a lyre, his voice a rough panel under bare feet, his guitar a song in the morning — he was someone ought to get paid to play in a club, on a stage, but he is sitting cross-legged on the floor of the station and when I take out a couple dollars to give him, I notice there’s no money in his guitar case, and wonder if maybe he’s not doing it for money, I lean in and say, are you taking donations? and he laughs a kind of sharp thing he says, yes, yes, thanks for getting me started, and I see that I am the first to offer appreciation this way. There is the man with the saxophone, and the bald guitarist who likes to patter with all the passers by, all of us rushing, clotted in our headphones, we just want to get through it, we want to get home. I put myself now in the land of this other we, when it’s all just a different sort of hustle, we’re all in our hustle, some of us have it easier. It’s not that different from standing on the street asking someone to put something in my palm. Well, of course it’s different, but can you see the ways that it’s the same”?

I walk past clots of people passed out in the station, watch a woman push a needle into a man’s neck. It’s not that I don’t know it happens, but that it feels dangerous to me, maybe just that I am scared. Scared of what it means that this is happening out in the open, scared of what it says about our city, the violence of poverty and homelessness, what a violence, to know that just above you is one of the richest companies in the world and yet you still can’t get a place to live, still you have to do your drugs in the street. Let’s not pretend like the twitterites, the business people, we who have our dayjobs and dress like respectable somebodies, let’s not pretend that we don’t have our own addictions — we just have private places in which to indulge them, like we also have private places to piss and shit and have sex.

What has happened to this city that was supposed to be about love and sharing? This season there’ve been all kinds of remembrances of the summer of love. It feels like adding insult to injury.

When I say the city doesn’t feel safe, it’s not because of the junkies, the homeless men, the the screamers, it’s because of the money — the moneyed people who have pushed into this one last place that was supposed to be a haven for the poor, a place where poor folks could at least find shelter, food, resources. The companies come in because real estate is cheap and then push out the folks who have been living there for years, folks who were already on their last legs, already at the end of their rope. The companies come in and cut the rope.

Today I will bring change for the man with the open hands, and I will say thank you, and he will not acknowledge me, because that is not his job. His job is to ask and ask and ask and ask, to stand at the corner of money and access and put out his hands and hope that some little bit of it comes his way. When I get into San Francisco today, I will go to the Civic Center farmer’s market in order to remember why I used to love the city. I will buy lemons and a sweet potato hand pie from the dark man with the light eyes who flirts with me, flirts with all of us, because that’s how the work gets done, it’s part of his hustle. Every one of these sellers is in their hustle, as are most of us walking through. The gig economy is nothing new — there’s no one not gigging, no one not hustling, just some of us are compensated better for it, and not for any good reason. There’s no reason the man on the street isn’t getting paid like the man in the casual urban outfitters twitter uniform — that twitter guy couldn’t last a thirty minutes on the corner with his hands out, asking for money, asking to be seen, asking to be acknowledged, and getting ignored hour after hour after hour.

I don’t know what I have to give with this today. Maybe just deep grief, disappointment in San Francisco, the kind of ache you feel when you loved someone with everything in you and then it hurt you in places you hadn’t known you could be hurt, and the only reason you got hurt that way is that you were so open, you were all hope and wonder and delight and everything about them brought forth a yes in you. And then things happen that slowly reveal who they really are, and you keep taking them back, giving them chance after chance after chance. San Francisco broke my heart years ago, and still I keep coming back, in spite of the violence there — not the guns, not the drugs, but the rents, the cost of a cup of tea, the cost of butter. The way the city tells you, tells me, over and over, oh honey, you’re so cute — did you really think you were gonna belong here? and then tosses her bougainvillea pashmina over her shoulder and turns back to the one buying her drinks now.

Wasn’t this the city that was supposed to be about open arms, the haven for the broken and the queer and the weird and the artist, the haven for the creative soul, the mecca? Not anymore. Maybe, really, not ever. Maybe always only for some.

So I climb up out of the Civic Center station and I blink into the bright weird fog sun and I turn down 8th into the wind, just to get away from the fresh-faced techies and the tourists on Market Street, and I say into the hard wind, I hate you San Francisco. but San Francisco doesn’t care.

Thanks for your words today, whatever form they take, whether on the page or just mumbled while you wander across McAllister up into the Tenderloin. Be easy with you today, ok?

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more visibly messy than I already am

You know those times when something really big is happening in your life and all you can manage to do is just hold open the space for it to emerge? I’m pretty sure I’m in the middle of one of those times.

Something very important in my life transformed itself over dinner last night — which means it ended, and it’s about to begin again. It’s something confidential, and one day I’ll tell you more about it. For today, I’m in kind of a quiet mourning place, and a place of enormous gratitude. (Thank you & love you!)

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Also, feeling nostalgic, and missing home; and by home, here I mean the land, the way Omaha smells (and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way), the way the people sound. I would like to be able to be there today. We could rent a three bedroom house in Dundee for less than half (way less than half) of what we pay for our place here. Don’t get me started (Jen, don’t get started) on the brutality of the Bay Area’s cost of living.

Have you read Tim Redmond’s essay that introduces the latest Guardian? It made me feel like crying. What’s true is, when I moved here 7 years ago, I thought maybe all the excellent radical artist dyke/queer culture and survivability that I’d been reading about since the early 1990s still existed in San Francisco: but it’s gone. So many of us can’t afford (For as much as I could pay for a house to rent in Omaha, I couldn’t even get a room in an SRO) to live there and do our art, do what we love, without a patron (be it in human or govt form) or student loans or many jobs.  Even if the people are still there, the culture, the city, looks/feels so very different from what I expected. I expected difficulty; I didn’t expect a community that could hardly manage to get together because it was so damn busy scrambling/working to pay the fucking rent while also jealously guarding tiny bits of time here and there for its art. Maybe that’s just my experience — maybe others are managing to do it better.

I don’t honestly know if this is a place I can stay; I don’t mean I’m leaving tomorrow, or even next year (because how could I go away from this ocean?!); I mean that I’m broken-hearted. The cost of living feels personal, feels like, why don’t you want us here? I know I’m protected from most of the worst of it: I have a good-paying part-time job that leaves me with energy for my workshops, and during the workshops, I can get some writing done. And yet, I’m getting tired. And I just don’t see things turning around here — now that the developers know they can take the city, why would they give it back?

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I just discovered there was a TEDx in Omaha just last weekend — please don’t make any jokes about that, just go check it out.

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Today’s my two-workshop day: first, I meet with the MedEd Writers at UCSF for an hour of creative writing-as-professional development, and then I head to the Flood Building for tonight’s Declaring Our Erotic meeting. The writing that always emerges from these spaces will fill me up — I can’t wait.

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I’m sorry I don’t have very much this morning. I can’t tell what exactly I’m feeling. Some days are like that. If I were at a cafe, in front of a notebook, I would pour it all out — but for right now, it feels too intimate, more of my insides spread all over the blog. That doesn’t mean I don’t trust you; maybe it means I’m scared of being much more visibly messy than I already am.

Maybe a prompt for today: Take 10 minutes or 20, and write about mess, about things that get messy (spaces, people, relationships, landscapes, cities…). Follow your writing wherever it seems to want to go.

I’m grateful for you today. I keep on being grateful for you.

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poets can only show us the mystery of light

Yesterday was the last meeting of the Art for Recovery Healing through Writing workshop for this spring session.  One of the prompts I offered was a list of quotes from Alice Walker’s, “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens”:

  • Only justice can stop a curse
  • Creation often needs two hearts
  • Our best poets write poetry full of holes
  • I am so tired of waiting […] for the world to become good

This was my response:

“Our best poets write poetry full of holes,” for our best poets put themselves into their poems, through their vision and lineage, the breath of their metaphor and memory, through the detail they recount and forget — they put themselves in their poems, and they know, the best poets, that we are all full of holes, that that’s where our light sines through and out, that we are imperfect and we need the connection of others to resolve and decorate us, to flush out and fill in what we can’t do ourselves.

Our best poets can only show us the mystery of light, they pull out of morning and find the starlight in dawn, they give us the echo of sparrows on an otherwise silented concrete neighborhood at 5:50am, the rizz of a passing cyclist and one downtrodden neigh borhood dog with unkempt blackbrowngrey fur and the brightest brutish face, they give us cement front lawns filled with buckets of flowers, concrete driveways with multicolored snapdragons for weeds, they show us what possibility feels like when we show up at our once-upon-a-time favorite cafe at 6am and the lights are still down, the doors still lockied, and the city blows its frigid soaking summer breath all over shivering underlayered you —

And so, because you understand about the holes, you let the cold in, you know that all the experience you can suffer or contain can only come out in your art, is all grist for the mill that is you, and you inhale deep the thick fog, you shake with lack of sleep and the drill of being alive, you watch the joggers in their tight brazen architecture, their skin that says I move too fast for the cold to catch me. You watch the streetcleaning machine make its humping wet way doiwn Divisidaro, you let the gossamer sheen of jasmine into your lungs, knowing this is all there is, and being wildly joyful.


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Writing the Flood begins this Saturday, 6/19!

Just a reminder — this new, monthly Saturday afternoon writing space commences this coming Saturday, 6/19! This new group is in direct response to the folks who’ve been wanting a general-topic writing space — read on for more info, and then visit our Contact page to reserve a space!

Writing the Flood

Open the gates and let your writing voice flow

A half-day, open-topic writing workshop!

Third Saturday of every month

beginning Saturday, June 19, 1pm

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. You can expect to end the day with: a several new pieces of creative writing, feedback from your peers about what’s already strong in your new writing, and some new writerly community!.

Unless otherwise noted, this workshop meets on the third Saturday of the month. $25-50, sliding scale. Limited to 12.

No previous writing experience necessary! Workshops held in San Francisco in an accessible space, a half-block from BART and on many MUNI lines. Pre-registration is required — please write to jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org with questions or to register.

About your facilitator: Jen Cross is a widely published freelance writer. She’s a queer incest survivor who used writing as a transformative and integral part of her own healing process. She’s a certified AWA Facilitator, has led writing workshops with survivors since 2002, and writes with folks about trauma, sexuality, and more.

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Spring workshops with Writing Ourselves Whole!

(please feel welcome to forward this information! thank you!)

Writing Ourselves Whole
Spring 2010 Workshops

This April, re-engage with the deep-rooted and transformative power of writing!

Join us in one of our exercise-initiated and non-judgmental AWA writing workshops:

Write Whole: Survivors Write
Monday evenings, 4/12 – 6/7
Open to all women survivors of sexual trauma

Declaring Our Erotic
Tuesday evenings, 4/13 – 6/8
Open to all (18+, please)

o In the Write Whole: Survivors Write workshop, you’ll gather with other survivors of sexual trauma 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: identity categories like ‘woman’ and ‘survivor’ are self-defined!

o In the Declaring Our Erotic workshop, you’ll try your hand at some explicit erotic writing, and, in so doing, will get more comfortable exploring and talking about sexual desires, explore the varied and complex aspects of sexuality and desire, receive strong and focused feedback about your new writing!

No previous writing experience necessary! Workshops held in San Francisco in an accessible space, a half-block from BART and on many MUNI lines. Spaces are still available, though limited, and pre-registration is required! Fee for each eight-week workshop is $225-300, sliding scale.

To register or with any questions, contact Jen at jennifer (at) writingourselveswhole.org.
For more information, please visit www.writingourselveswhole.org!

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Body Heat: queer femme tour shows! this Friday and Saturday (1/29 and 1/30) in San Francisco!

The Center for Sex and Culture presents

a special SNEAK PREVIEW of BODY HEAT: a femme porn tour — 2010!

Sizzlin’ Fierce Fiery Queer Femme Porn – 2 Nights, 2 Different Shows! ***DO NOT MISS THIS EVENT!!!!!!!***


Friday, January 29 and Saturday, January 30
8pm
Cost $10.00 – $15.00 you pick 🙂
At the Center for Sex & Culture, 1519 Mission Street (between 11th and South Van Ness), San Francisco, CA 94103
www.sexandculture.org

Come to the Center for Sex and Culture for the one of these barely-legal Bay Area performances of the Body Heat: Femme Porn Tour. Each night will offer up decadent performances/readings by fierce local queer femme writers, performers and devastritixes!

These will be your only chances to catch Body Heat during this spring!

Both shows begin at 8pm SHARP, $10-$15 (help us fill the kitty for Body Heat’s 2010 cross-country tour!), no one turned away… FMI: http://www.myspace.com/femmeporntour

Friday, January 29th Performers:
Carol Queen
Kathleen Delaney
Jen Cross
Madison Young
Amelia Mae Paradise from Diamond Daggers

Saturday, January 30th Performers:
Shar Rednour
Daphne Gottlieb
Kathleen Delaney
Jen Cross
Alex Cafarelli
Lady Fantastique

Body Heat is a collective of fierce, sassy, irreverent Femme artists setting ablaze performance art communities and smashing Femme stereotypes. Porn, Kink, Smut, Erotica – Body Heat is not reclaiming our sex so much as OWNING it.

We will turn you on.

We will challenge all of your gender, sex, feminist, social, & political boundaries & assumptions.

We will entertain the hell out of you.

Mostly we will leave you panting, begging, dripping for more.

www.myspace.com/femmeporntour

femmeswriteporn@yahoo.com

Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission St., bet 11th and So Van Ness, San Francisco!

the femmes of the Fall 09 Body Heat East Coast tour, tearing up the pool table in all the wrong ways...
fishnet knees, just before...

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Writing Ourselves Whole – early 2010 schedule!

one of the little altars in the workshop space

Happy 2010, all!

Here’s a short list of what’s coming for me/writing ourselves whole for the first part of the year — starting next week!

Send me a note for more info (jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org)! (I, on the other hand, commence the deep breathing. 🙂

xox!
Jen

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Begins next Monday! Winter 2010: Write Whole: Survivors Write. Open to all women survivors of sexual trauma. (8 Monday evenings beginning 1/11) $225-300, sliding scale

Winter 2010: Healing Through Writing: a workshop for folks living with cancer. Through the UCSF Mt. Zion Art for Recovery program. (7 Thursday mornings, begins 1/21) Contact Cindy Perlis for more info:Cynthia.Perlis@ucsfmedctr.org

Jan 30, 2010 (1-4pm): Declaring Our Erotic: a queer women’s erotic writing workshop (In honor of the Body Heat Femme Porn Tour!), at the writing ourselves whole workshop space, $20

Jan 29-30, 2010 8pm, $10-15: Body Heat at the Center for Sex and Culture! Join us for one of these SNEAK PEEK pre-Tour shows! Jan 29: Carol Queen / Kathleen Delaney / Jen Cross / Madison Young /Vixen Noir aka Veronica Combs / Amelia Mae Paradise from Diamond Daggers; Jan 30: Shar Rednour / Daphne Gottlieb / Kathleen Delaney / Jen Cross / Alex Cafarelli / Lady Fantastique)

Feb 2010: Declaring Our Erotic: a writing workshop for ALL queer survivors of sexual trauma (4 Tuesday evenings, beginning 2/2, at Modern Times Bookstore. $50-100, sliding scale)

Feb 10, 5:30-6:30: Quick-n-Dirty Erotic Writing happy hour at Good Vibes, Polk St! Free! http://events.goodvibes.com

Feb 13, 12:00-4:00pm: Write Whole with Survivorship. Survivorship is an amazing and community-led org for folks who are survivors of ritual or cult abuse. Free!

March 10-27: Body Heat: Femme Porn Tour. The cross-country extravaganza! In this our fourth installment, Kathleen Delaney (Atlanta, GA.), Diana Cage (NYC), Meliza Bañales (San Francisco, CA), Jen Cross (San Francisco, CA), Nicky Click (Durham, NH),Gigi Frost (Boston, MA), Sossity Chiricuzio (Portland, OR.), Alex Cafarelli (San Francisco, CA.), and Al Schlong (Atlanta, GA) are prepared to rock off all your socks. We begin in Boston and our finale is scheduled for Vancouver! (Visit my website or myspace.com/femmeporntour FMI!

Spring 2010: Write Whole: Survivors Write – for women survivors of sexual trauma (8 Monday evenings beginning 4/5) $225-300, sliding scale

Spring 2010: Declaring Our Erotic: an erotic writing workshop open to everyone! (8 Tuesday evenings beginning 4/6) $225-300, sliding scale

Spring 2010: Healing Through Writing: a workshop for folks living with cancer. Through the UCSF Mt. Zion Art for Recovery program. (8 Thursday mornings, begins in April, date not yet confirmed) Contact Cindy Perlis for more info:Cynthia.Perlis@ucsfmedctr.org

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Want more info? Check out www.writingourselveswhole.org!

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Thanks today…

This morning I’m grateful for the rain-scented just-washed streets of early downtown San Francisco; the quiet resonance in my office after two nights in a row of deep, engaged, risky writing; the view of both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate bridge from the BART windows as we approached West Oakland station; the little girl giggling uncontrollably in a packed BART car while she played make-believe hide and seek with her daddy, bringing giggles up to my lips and the lips of other passengers as well, breaking down through some of those early morning pre-caffeinated heading-to-a-day-job-blues sorts of walls…

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Announce: Summer 09 Workshops with Writing Ourselves Whole!

Writing Ourselves Whole:
transformative writing workshops for the SF Bay Area

Contact: Jen Cross
jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org
http://www.writingourselveswhole.org

Are you looking for an opportunity to create some new and powerful writing in an invigorating, supportive writing community? This June and July, Writing Ourselves Whole is pleased to be offering two full 8-week writing workshops and a Saturday writing retreat:

  • Write Whole: Survivors Write. Monday evenings, June 1 – July 27. Open to all women survivors of sexual trauma.
  • Declaring Our Erotic: Take back your sexuality! Tuesday evenings, June 2 – July 28. Open to queer-identified women survivors of sexual trauma.
  • Raw Silk, an erotic writing retreat open to all women! Saturday, June 20, 10am-4pm.

    All workshops offered at the Writing Ourselves Whole workshop space in downtown San Francisco. Register now or visit www.writingourselveswhole.org for more information!


    Write Whole: Survivors Write
    Eight Monday evenings, June 1 – July 27
    Open to all women survivors of sexual trauma

    Transforming our language is one of the ways we transform our lives.

    Many who are survivors of sexual trauma feel fragmented or disjointed and have come to believe we must always live our lives this way. Writing is one way to regain some control over our experiences and memories, and begin to create new sense out of them.

    Gather with other women survivors of sexual trauma in this workshop, and write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing, and deal with such subjects as: body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more. You’ll be encouraged to trust the flow of your own writing, and receive immediate feedback about the power of your words!

    These workshops are open to all women who identify in as survivors of sexual trauma. Though we come together as survivors, we are never required to write any particular version of “our story,” or even write about trauma at all if we don’t choose to! In this space, you have the opportunity to write as you feel called to write.

    Although the setting is a supportive one, the 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.

    Declaring Our Erotic
    Eight Tuesday evenings, June 2 – July 28
    For Summer 09, this workshop is open to queer women survivors of sexual trauma

    Take back your sexuality! Come together with other queer-identified women survivors to create a space in which we struggle with and celebrate our complex sexualities, in an attempt to become less isolated around, and more comfortable talking about, our sexual desires. Each week, we write in response to exercises designed to tap into different aspects of our sexual selves: memory, fantasy, experience, relationship with the body, and more!

    You will get more comfortable exploring and talking about sexual desires, receive strong and focused feedback about your new writing, explore the varied and complex aspects of sexuality and desire in a fun and confidential environment, and, of course, try your hand at some explicit erotic writing!

    Previous participants have found the group to be transformative, feeling that the work they’ve done has opened up and changed not only their relationship with their erotic selves, but with many other aspects of their lives as well.

    Raw Silk – Women write their erotic
    an erotic writing retreat open to all women
    Saturday, June 20, 2009
    10:00am-4:00pm.
    Continental breakfast and light lunch provided.

    Treat yourself to a day of good food, powerful writing and great community! In this AWA-method day-long writing retreat, you’ll have the opportunity to get more comfortable exploring and talking about sexual desires, celebrate the varied and complex aspects of your sexual self, and, of course, dive into some explicit erotic writing! Surprise yourself with the power of your sensual/erotic voice. You’ll end the day with a rich body of new creative writing and feedback from your peers about what’s already strong in your work.

    For each of our all-day Saturday writing retreats, we gather in the morning for coffee and some home-baked breakfast, and then write through the rest of the morning. After a break for a light lunch, we keep on diving deep into our work through the afternoon! At the end of the day, we have some conversation about revising and editing our work, and we close by four.



    All workshops are open to folks of all writing abilities: whether you write regularly, are an infrequent journaler, or used to write and would like to again, these groups are for you!

    Our workshops held in San Francisco in an accessible space, a half-block from BART and on many MUNI lines. Spaces are still available, though limited, and pre-registration is required! Cost for full 8-week workshops is $250; fee for Saturday retreats is $100. Deposits are requested to reserve your space. To register or for more information, email jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org or visit www.writingourselveswhole.org!

    Writing Ourselves Whole’s founder and facilitator, Jen Cross, is a freelance writer whose work has been published in close to thirty anthologies and periodicals, including Nobody Passes, Visible: A Femmethology, Best Sex Writing 2008, Best Women’s Erotica 2007, and many more. Jen has facilitated writing workshops since 2002. She received her MA in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College, and is a certified facilitator of the Amherst Writers & Artists method (www.amherstwriters.com, as developed by Pat Schneider).

    Founded in 2003, Writing Ourselves Whole seeks to change the world through writing. To open our hearts to ourselves and each other, so that we might live in a community of deep expressiveness and self-love, where each individual reaches his and her most complete self. We exist in the service of transforming trauma and/or struggles around sexuality into art, and creating spaces in which individuals may come to recognize the artist/writer within.

    To express our own story changes the world. Writing is both memory and possibility at once, and in moving through and with that tension, we create change.

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    March retreat on 3/14 and Spring workshops!

    Don’t forget: there’s a Saturday Write Whole retreat on 3/14, and the spring workshops begin on 4/6 and 4/7! More information below — visit www.writingourselveswhole.org for more information or to sign up!

    —–

    Spring 2009 AWA-model writing workshops
    with Jen Cross/Writing Ourselves Whole!

    ** Write Whole: Survivors Write – Saturday Intensive!
    An all-day writing retreat
    Saturday, March 14, 2009
    9:00am-4:00pm.
    (Check-in and registration/continental breakfast 8:30-9:00am)
    Light lunch also provided.
    ~ Treat yourself to a day of good writing, good food, and good community! For each of our all-day Saturday writing retreats, we gather in the morning for coffee and some home-baked breakfast, and then write through the rest of the morning. After a break for a light lunch, we keep on diving deep into our work through the afternoon! We create new art and new beauty out of the complicated realities of our lives. Open to all women who identify in as survivors of sexual trauma.

    **Write Whole: Survivors Write**
    Special 5-week workshop meets Monday evenings, beginning April 6.

    ~ Gather with other women survivors of sexual trauma in this workshop, and write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing, and deal with such subjects as: body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more. You’ll be encouraged to trust the flow of your own writing, and receive immediate feedback about the power of your words! Open to all women who identify in as survivors of sexual trauma.

    **Declaring Our Erotic**
    Special 5-week workshop meets Tuesday evenings, beginning April 7.
    Open to folks of all sexualities and all genders!

    ~ Are you ready to explore some new edges in your writing? Are there longings you would like to find language for? Now’s the time: you may very well surprise yourself with the depth and power of your writing!

    This is a deliberately-diverse erotic writing workshop open to folks of all sexualities and all genders. For anyone who’s ever thought about writing erotic stories – now’s the time to get some of those fantasies down on the page! In these workshops, you will get more comfortable exploring and talking about sexual desires, receive strong and focused feedback about your new writing, explore the varied and complex aspects of sexuality and desire in a fun and confidential environment, and, of course, try your hand at some explicit erotic writing! In addition, if you choose, you may share your manuscripts with peer writers for well-rounded response to your erotic work.

    All workshops held in San Francisco in an accessible space, a half-block from BART and on many MUNI lines. Spaces are still available, though limited, and pre-registration is required! Fee for 5 weeks is $175; fee for Saturday retreat is $100. To register or for more information, email jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org or visit
    www.writingourselveswhole.org!

    About your facilitator: Jen Cross is a freelance writer whose work has been published in many anthologies and periodicals. Jen has facilitated writing workshops since 2002. She received her MA in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College, and is a certified facilitator of the Amherst Writers & Artists method (http://www.amherstwriters.com/).