Tag Archives: Sutterwriters

Tomales, Report Two

Got to bed closer to my right time last night, but still waking up early was hard today — in my bedroom, we got lots of serenading from the snoozed alarm. How’s the morning where you are? Still quiet? Deep blue? Opening?

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Remember: Next month, I get to spend a bunch of good time up in the Davis/Sacramento area — come and join me! Over the second weekend, I’ll be facilitating two day-long workshops, Reclaiming Our Erotic Story and Write Whole: Survivors Write, both hosted by AWA Sacramento/Sutterwriters (visit their site for more info and to register). On November 15, 4pm, I get to talk about erotic writing as liberatory practice at UC Davis as a part of their Conversations with Writers series.

Also! On Nov 12, 7:30pm, there will be a book launch for The Healing Art of Writing: Volume One. The launch reading and celebration will be held at Open Secret Book Store on C Street, San Rafael, CA. I have an excerpt in this book from a memoir/fiction piece called sistersister. I’m figuring out if I can make it to San Rafael when the workshop ends at 5 in Sacto — I’d love to be there for the reading. It’s going to be a fantastic event.

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I think part of me, of my writing self, is still up in Tomales, looking around for time to write, time to settle into the words that describe what just happened. A number of folks from my workshop group, I think, are in the same sort of head-heart space, holding all that just got broken open in us and working, now, to figure out what to do with all that gorgeous mess, how to fit it into our lives, or how to shift our lives to hold the places where we’ve grown.

In a comment to the previous post, alexn wrote:

Learning about writing seems to be  just a small part of the experience of attending a workshop like this. It seems so much more about learning about myself as a writer.   It’s the sort of thing the will be settling in me for weeks, months maybe.

I nodded along with alexn, reading this: although I did get a lot about writing practice and craft from the five days at Tomales (including learning about the associative voice and, over and over, visceral experience/examples of show don’t tell), the deeper stuff that’s looking for words/integration now is the part about who I am as a writer in my life — that is, the space that writing practice and work has in my life, and how much I want to grow that space. Let me see how I can write about it now, five days after coming home.

What I met, at the conference, was another part of who I want to be in the world, both in myself and in others: someone who regularly and consistently engages with writing on multiple levels, the blogging and first drafts, yes, please, and then, also, the next part: the editing, the revising, the deeper work of finding the true voice of a piece and working to let it out. That’s a part of my writing life I don’t engage often enough. The part that publishes, yes, and the part that gets to talk with other people about deep and arcane aspects of craft and the experience of a writer.

Also: I felt (I think this is one of the biggest pieces for me) the space that I want/need to  be able to get into some of my writing projects — over the course of those five days, I touched a life practice that could truly be centered around writing, and that sort of bodily experience effects and shapes visioning, helps me to feel that it would be possible to have that sort of life more consistently, away from writing retreat — I mean, in my real life.

I came home with some powerful clarity about what I need as a writer, and with some encouragement to be ferocious in naming and claiming that space. We’re clearing out some clutter, reshaping spaces — cleaning off the desk, getting rid of these piles of paper that sit for weeks until I file them or recycle. Just do it now. Rethink a decorating strategy that’s about letting framed photos lie flat on tabletops — how do you want to honor your space? With dust and clutter, or with some room to breathe, room to let ideas and images grow?

Clearing away all the piles and mess is just one part, though, the easier part. The harder part is owning what I really want for this one wild and precious life, and devoting myself to it with fierce compassion — if you are a writer, I learn over and over at spaces like Tomales, you must take the time you need to write. Others won’t give it to you. There will always be more demands. You will sacrifice in order to own this part of yourself. Sacrifice joyfully. Parents at the workshop, including Dorothy Allison and Kwame Dawes, talked about the necessity of the parent-writer to embrace benign neglect in order to make space for their writing.

(Please note, however, that in the middle of the sentence above, about focus and sacrifice, I stopped to help the puppy find her rope bone in the dark apartment. So, take from that what you will.)

There’s more: the desire for the deep quiet at Tomales, multileveled. Over the course of those five days, I was away from media, both traditional and social: no tv, no facebook, very little email. Talk about breathing room. What if my life were situated such that I had to work to access those things, those media, rather than working to clear open space in my head and life to write? Just imagine the ripple effects of such a shift.

So in the midst of planning for next year’s workshops (Bayview Writers in Tiburon and San Rafael, Dive Deep project/manuscript workshop in San Francisco, Write Whole in San Francisco, Declaring Our Erotic in SF, Writing the Flood in SF and Oakland, and, hopefully, a couple of online workshops as well — yowza) — wait, I lost track of what it was I wanted to say. You see the need for big space? What was it — in the midst, oh yes, in the midst of planning all this, I’m thinking about how I can get back to Tomales Bay for regular retreats, deep writing space, big openness and quiet in head and heart, as well as outside.

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A prompt for today: Find a candle and light it — be silent for a moment, watching the flame; if you’re doing this on a work break, sit quiet for a moment and imagine a candle. Notice the sound, the scent. Notice what associations you have with candle, with quiet, with flame. Notice what voices begin to rise up, even if it’s your to-do list. Begin to write from whatever arises during the time you spend with the candle. Give yourself 10 minutes, and follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.

Thank you, always, for the ways that you burn. Thank you for your deep light. Thank you for your words.

Fall 2011 workshop schedule!

graffiti of a pink-purple pencil standing up next to a doorwayHello writers & writers-to-be!

We’ve got a few workshops coming up this month and next around Writing Ourselves Whole, and I’d love to write with you!

  • September 17: Writing the Flood
  • September 28: Erotic Reading Circle
  • Beginning October 3: Write Whole: Survivors Write: 8 Monday evenings, 6-8:30. Open to all women who are survivors of sexual trauma
    Registration is open — Please sign up early, and avoid that late-registration fee!
  • October 15: LitQuake’s LitCrawl! I get to participate in Carol Queen’s Good Vibrations reading again this year, during Phase 2 of the LitCrawl (7:15-8:15)
  • November 12: Reclaiming our Erotic Story (Sacramento)a daylong writing workshop (10am-5pm); open to writers of all genders and all sexual orientations!
  • November 13: Write Whole: Survivors Write (Sacramento)a daylong writing workshop (10am-5pm); open to survivors of all genders

Read on for more information about each of these events— and visit our Sign Up page to register!

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Writing the Flood

Every third Saturday, 1-4:30pm
(unless otherwise noted)

September’s group meets on 9/17


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.

Unless otherwise noted, this workshop meets on the third Saturday of the month. $50 (with a sliding scale) Limited to 12. Register or email me with questions: jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org.

Upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, September 17
  • Saturday, October 15
  • Saturday, November 19
  • (we break for December — no Writing the Flood this month)

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Write Whole : Our SF-based 8-week workshop

Write Whole-Survivors Write –  Beginning Monday, October 3

Meets 8 Monday evenings, 6:00-8:30pm.

This workshop is open to all women survivors of sexual trauma.

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!

8-week workshop fees: The fee for an 8-week session is $350. (I can generally work out payment plans; please contact me if you have question or concerns about payment.) The regular registration fee will be in effect through September 15. The late registration fee is $385; last day to register is 9/30. Please register early!

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The Erotic Reading Circle

Every fourth Wednesday at the Center for Sex and Culture

9/28, 7:30-9:30pm

suggested donation: $5+

Since 2006, we’ve been meeting on the fourth Wednesday of the month to share and celebrate the breadth of erotic artistry in the Bay Area!


The next Erotic Reading Circle meets on September 28, 7:30-9:30 at the Center for Sex and Culture,
1349 Mission Street, San Francisco (cross streets 9th and 10th). $5+ donation requested (no one turned away); donations support the Center for Sex and Culture. This month’s circle will be a collaborative effort with the Sex Worker’s Arts Festival events at the CSC!

Bring whatever you’re working on, or whatever you’d like to be working on.

Come join readers and share your erotic writing! Bring something to read or just be part of the appreciative circle of listeners. This is a great place to try out new work (ask for comments if you like), or get more comfortable reading for other people. Longtime writers will bring their latest… newly inspired writers, bring that vignette you scrawled on BART while daydreaming on your way to work. Carol Queen and Jen Cross host/facilitate this space dedicated to erotic writers and readers.

See you at the Circle!

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Reclaiming the Erotic Story
The Liberatory Potential of Writing Desire

November 12, 2011 – with Sacramento Sutterwriters

Can erotic writing liberate more than our libidos? Does greater comfort with sexual expression lead to greater agency in our communities? Many of us assume that the erotic is solely the province of the individual, and not the realm of social change or communal liberation – but what happens when we all have wider access to and more comfort with erotic language and sexual expression? The full breadth of our erotic power can challenge what our society teaches us about our sexuality, which is both damning and provocative when it comes to personal expression and human relationships.

When we bring our longing into the light and find common ground with others, when we risk exposing that which we’ve been trained to be ashamed of, I find that many of us step into a deeply empowered (and more embodied!) self.

In this workshop, we’ll take try out some explicit writing, and will consider how empowering a creative engagement with sexual identity, desire, and expression, as well as the ability to write out our fantasies and desire, can affect our intimate relationships, our communities and our work in the world.

The cost for this workshop is $100.  A $25 deposit would secure your place with the balance due on the day of the class (there will be a substantial discount for participants who attend this workshop and Write Whole on Sunday the 13th.)

If you are interested in attending, please give John Crandall a call at 916-708-9708 or an email at johnalbertcrandall@yahoo.com

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Write Whole – Survivors Write
For Survivors Of Sexual Trauma
November 13th, 2011 – with Sacramento Sutterwriters

Many of us who are survivors of sexual trauma feel fragmented or disjointed and have come to believe we must always live our lives this way.

In this Write Whole group, we are offered the opportunity to learn that we can live and feel whole in our experiences and desires – that we can create new art through writing, and transforming our pains and fears into power and love.


It bears repeating: Transforming our language is one way we transform our lives. Altering and expanding our language has the effect of changing who we know ourselves to be.

In this Write Whole workshop, 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.

The cost for this workshop is $100. A $25 deposit would secure your place with the balance due on the day of the class (there will be a substantial discount for participants who attend this workshop and Reclaiming The Erotic Story on Saturday the 12th.)


If you are interested in attending, please give John Crandall a call at 916-708-9708 or an email at johnalbertcrandall@yahoo.com

Phase 2 (7:15-8:15 pm)

Upcoming workshops, SEAF & more!

sticker graffiti -- a woman squated down, in stockings, bra and wig, holding a frame around herself

found this image right after tour and thought, "Yup -- that's some femme energy right there."

Good morning, all!

Whew, the pollen has got me this year — are your allergies blowing up? I can’t remember the last time I had such a strong reaction, and yet all I can do when I pass by the new flowers, the electric new green leaves, the eucalyptus trees in full yellow polleny bloom, is to stick my face right in and grin.  I’m trying some homeopathic remedies before I go get the Claratin — bought some local honey, which will introduce my immune system to the local pollens in a gentler way, and let my body begin to build up a familiarity (which I rather thought it already had, but I think I was wrong!); we’ll see how that helps!

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We’ve got a few workshops coming up this month and next around Writing Ourselves Whole, and I’d love to write with you!

  • Saturday, May 14: Writing the Flood
  • Sat, May 28: Reclaiming our Erotic Story: the Liberatory Potential of Writing Desire
  • May 20-22: Seattle Erotic Art Festival
  • ETA: June 13-July 24: Reclaiming Our Erotic Story: The Liberating Power of Writing Desire – an online course!
  • Summer 2011 8-week writing workshops update!

Read on for more information about each of these events— and visit our Sign Up page to register!

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Writing the Flood

May 14, 2011*, 1-4:30pm

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.

Unless otherwise noted, this workshop meets on the third Saturday of the month. $50 (with a sliding scale). Limited to 12. Register or email me with questions: jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org.

Summer 2011 dates:

  • Saturday, May 14
  • Saturday, June 18
  • Saturday, July 16

*We’re meeting this month on the second instead of the third Saturday because on May 21 I’ll be in Seattle at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, presenting my writing and hopefully leading a workshop in that gorgeous wet city!

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Reclaiming our Erotic Story: the Liberatory Potential of  Writing Desire

May 28, 2011, 10:00AM-5:00PM

(breakfast provided from 9:30-10)

Sutterwriters Sacramento

Can erotic writing liberate more than our libidos? Does greater comfort with sexual expression lead to greater agency in our communities?

Many of us assume that the erotic is solely the province of the individual, and not the realm of social change or communal liberation – but what happens when we all have wider access to and more comfort with erotic language and sexual expression? The full breadth of our erotic power can challenge what our society teaches us about our sexuality, which is both damning and provocative when it comes to personal expression and human relationships.

I’ve led erotic writing workshops since 2002, and what I’ve found is that writing our desire, in a safe community of engaged and encouraging peer writers, can allow us the space to challenge the negative messages we’ve internalized about sexuality and about our core desires and even our very being. When we bring our longing into the light and find common ground with others, when we risk exposing that which we’ve been trained to be ashamed of, I find that many of us step into a deeply empowered (and more embodied!) self.

In this workshop, we’ll try out some explicit writing, and will consider how empowering a creative engagement with sexual identity, desire, and expression, as well as the ability to write out our fantasies and desire, can affect our intimate relationships, our communities and our work in the world.

The cost for this workshop is $100.  A $25 deposit would secure your place, with the balance due on the day of the class.

To register, contact

John Crandall
Crandall Writers
P.O. Box 22612
Sacramento, California 95822
916-708-9708

john@fireartsofsacramento.com

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Seattle Erotic Art Festival

May 20-22, Seattle, WA

“The Seattle Erotic Art Festival supports a vibrant creative community, promotes freedom of expression, and fosters sex-positive culture through public celebration of the arts.”

Come join me in Seattle for this amazing celebration of erotic art! There will be performance, film, readings, workshops and, of course, afterparties — this event is put on by the Center for Sex Positive Culture, which we got to check out a couple of years ago during the Body Heat West Coast tour. I can’t wait to go back! I get to participate in the Literary Arts part of the Festival:

This year’s Literary Art Exhibition will feature 26 poems, 12 short stories, and readings by many of Seattle’s hottest erotic spoken word artists, all presented in a lush and intimate boudoir setting. New this year: selected poets will write pieces inspired by the visual art, then conduct a daily “Poet’s Favorite” walking tour. Learn more at: http://seattle-erotic.org/2011/04/28/literary-highlights/.

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Reclaiming Our Erotic Story: The Liberating Power of Writing Desire

An online course, offered by the Transformative Language Arts Network. Open to all!

June 13-July 24

Can erotic writing liberate more than our libidos? Does greater comfort with sexual expression lead to greater agency in our communities? In this workshop, we’ll write together, and consider how empowering a more expansive relationship with sexual identity and desire affects our social change/organizing work in the world.

$189 Transformative Language Arts Network members; $210 for non-members

Visit the link above to register or with questions! I look forward to writing with you!

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Summer 2011 8-week workshop schedules are almost ready (this includes Write Whole: Survivors Write and Declaring Our Erotic (open to all queer survivors of sexual trauma)). I’m sorry for the delay on these — during my hiatus from these workshops, I’ve been learning to listen closer to my body, so that I could figure out a schedule that will work best alongside the self-care work that I’ve also begun. This is new learning! We will begin in early June, and I’ll be contacting all previous writers and folks who’re on the waiting lists with the schedule before I announce it publicly.

Pat Schneider in Sacramento, April 16

Hi all!

This will be a wonderful opportunity to meet the woman who developed the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop model — she’s an absolutely inspiring speaker, and you are certain to leave the event feeling ready to write. Plus, the trip to Sacto is a nice one! :)

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Pat Schneider, author of  “Writing Alone And With Others” and founder of Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA), will be in Sacramento for a public reading and lecture Saturday, April 16, on the first floor of the Sutter Cancer Center, 28th and L streets. Pat will begin the program at 7:00 p.m. and will sign books at the event, which is free and open to the public.

phone: 916-708-9708
contact: John Crandall

Upcoming Workshops and Groups!

Come write with me!

Our writing space -- all ready for you!
Reclaiming our Erotic Story:
the Liberatory Potential of Writing Desire
Sutterwriters Sacramento
January 29, 2011

8:00AM-5:00PM

Can erotic writing liberate more than our libidos? Does greater comfort with sexual expression lead to greater agency in our communities? Many of us assume that the erotic is solely the province of the individual, and not the realm of social change or communal liberation – but what happens when we all have wider access to and more comfort with erotic language and sexual expression? The full breadth of our erotic power can challenge what our society teaches us about our sexuality, which is both damning and provocative when it comes to personal expression and human relationships.

I’ve led erotic writing workshops since 2002, and what I’ve found is that writing our desire, in a safe community of engaged and encouraging peer writers, can allow us the space to challenge the negative messages we’ve internalized about sexuality and about our core desires and even our very being. When we bring our longing into the light and find common ground with others, when we risk exposing that which we’ve been trained to be ashamed of, I find that many of us step into a deeply empowered (and more embodied!) self.

In this workshop, we’ll take try out some explicit writing, and will consider how empowering a creative engagement with sexual identity, desire, and expression, as well as the ability to write out our fantasies and desire, can affect our intimate relationships, our communities and our work in the world.
The cost for this workshop is $100.  A $25 deposit would secure your place with the balance due on the day of the class.

To register, contact

John Crandall
Crandall Writers
P.O. Box 22612
Sacramento, California 95822
916-708-9708

john@fireartsofsacramento.com
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Writing the Flood
Saturday, December

January 15, 1-4:30pm

A half-day, open-topic writing workshop!

Many of you had been asking for a general-topic writing workshop (i.e., not focused on a particular issue), and this space is for you!

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.

Unless otherwise noted, this workshop meets on the third Saturday of the month. $25-50, sliding scale. Limited to 12. Register or email me with questions: jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org.

February Writing the Flood meets on 2/19/11!
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And last but never least: The Erotic Reading Circle! Since 2006, we’ve been meeting on the fourth Wednesday of the month to share and celebrate the breadth of erotic artistry in the Bay Area!

This month we circle up on December 22, 7:30-9:30 at the Center for Sex and Culture (1519 Mission St., between 11th & So Van Ness, in SF)! $5+ donation requested (no one turned away); donations support the Center for Sex and Culture.

Bring whatever you’re working on, or whatever you’d like to be working on.Come join readers and share your erotic writing! Bring something to read or just be part of the appreciative circle of listeners. This is a great place to try out new work (ask for comments if you like), or get more comfortable reading for other people. Longtime writers will bring their latest… newly inspired writers, bring that vignette you scrawled on BART while daydreaming on your way to work. Carol Queen and Jen Cross host/facilitate this space dedicated to erotic writers and readers.

See you at the Circle!