Tag Archives: upcoming events

Jen reads at PPO and LitCrawl!

Every now and again, I get out into the world and back at the mic to share some new words with the world. Join me at the pre-Folsom edition of Perverts Put Out or at Carol Queen’s stop on the LitQuake LitCrawl for some pervy new words. (Thank goodness for the recent round of the Reclaiming Our Erotic Story workshop, which helped me generate some new story ideas — I’ve got some writing to do between now and the end of the month!) Read on for more details — I hope to see you out and about!

Perverts Put Out’s Frisky Folsom Fling!
Join a sexy celebration of leather and lust at Perverts Put Out!’s
annual pre-Folsom-Fair show, with performers including
Jen Cross, Greta Christina, Steven Schwartz, horehound stillpoint,
Naamen Tilahun, Xan West, and more perverted geniuses to be
announced, with your hosts Simon Sheppard and Dr. Carol Queen.

Saturday, September 28
doors 7:00, show 8:00
The Center for Sex and Culture
1349 Mission Street, San Francisco
$10-25 sliding scale

$10-25 sliding scale, no-one turned away. A benefit for the Center for Sex and Culture.

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Smart Smart Sex
LitQuake LitCrawl Phase 2
Saturday, October 19, 7:15 – 8:15 pm
Good Vibrations, 603 Valencia St.

Essayists, memoirists, and smutsters of high pedigree come together! Sure to be full of surprises (including proof of which sex organ is really the biggest). Hosted and curated by Good Vibrations staff sexologist Carol Queen, PhD. Featuring Amy Butcher, Jen Cross, Marco Gayle, Conner Habib, Lorelei Lee, and Lori Selke.

Coming up on April 27 — Meet Pat Schneider and write with AWA West!


(Jen’s note: I’ll be facilitating one of the workshops during the 2:30-4:30 workshop session; come on up and join us!)

Light Book CoverHow the Light Gets In – Writing Workshops and a Reading with Pat Schneider
Saturday, April 27

Celebrate!  A full day of celebration of the contributions of PSR alums Pat Schneider and her husband Peter – writers, teachers, theologians, and founders of Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA).

To demonstrate the transformative power of the workshop method Pat created, AWA workshop leaders will host free writing workshops for the public.

Pat will read from her newly released book from Oxford Press, How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice, and be interviewed on stage by Salon.com columnist Cary Tennis.

2:30-4:30pm   Writing workshops with AWA West workshop leaders (Mudd Hall)
4:30-5:30pm   Break. Dinner available until 6:00pm ($9, D’Autremont Hall)
5:30-6:30pm   Reception, Bade Museum & Doug Adams Gallery (Holbrook Hall)
7:00-9:00pm   On stage with Pat: book reading, interview, and honoring (Chapel)

Pegasus Books will be with us, so plan to pick up an autographed copy of How the Light Gets In while you’re here.

All welcome; all parts of the day are free!
Registration required for workshops
RSVP for the evening program.

All events are on the PSR campus at 1798 Scenic Ave. in Berkeley unless otherwise noted. Contact the office of Community & Continuing Education at 510/849-8202 or cce@psr.edu for details.

Body Heat, Fierce Hunger, and spring…

graffiti of a butterfly hovering a branch that contains two nests of heartsGood grey morning to you. Outside, the sky is clouded with mist and the daffodils have begun to show their yellow faces. I wonder if I will ever get used to California. Where I’m from, February, late winter, is the time of near despair: when will it ever end? It’s the time of seed catalogs and beginning to dream of spring. Punxsutawney Phil had some real news to deliver — please, please say it’s going to be an early spring, Mr. Groundhog. I don’t know how much more of this cold I can stand. But here out west, the bulbs start shooting up in January, and as the light begins to change, it feels like spring already even in these early months. How does the body learn to acclimate to a new way of being?

There’s quite a bit going on around here: Body Heat, Fierce Hunger, and a whole lot of workshops! Continue reading

upcoming (and) gratitude

stencil graffiti from Miss.Tic: An image of a woman in a full-skirted, 50s style dress with princess neckline, one hand on her hip, to the right of the words, "la fille coupee en deux"  Good morning, my friends — it actually might still be night, according to some. I’ve been up for quite awhile, journaling since about 3.30. What a gift.

There’s the fog horn, awakening the sea mist. There’s this candleflame. There’re these fingers, wanting to find out what to say.

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I’ve got to get this month’s writing ourselves whole newsletter together, which means I want to give a bit of an update here as to what’s coming up:

– You are still welcome to sign up to join the small but mighty group of folks who are participating in the online erotic writing workshop that I get to offer through the Transformative Language Arts Network, Claiming Our Erotic Story. We are just barely into the first prompt, getting to know each other, and we’d love to welcome you into the fold. Visit the link above (or here) to register!

– I’ll be reading on Valentine’s Day! BLEEDING HEARTS, A Celebration of Dysfunctional Love. Tuesday, February 14th, 7:30 pm, The Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission Street, San Francisco, $10-20. Simon Sheppard hosts a St. Valentine’s Day massacre featuring Charlie Anders, Sherilyn Connelly, Jen Cross, Justin Chin, Daphne Gottlieb, Juba Kalamka, Kirk Read, and horehound stillpoint. (Honestly, this show is going to be phenomenal. Come on down and do something different for your V-Day — the chocolate will still be there when you get back home.)

– Don’t forget about Writing the Flood on 2/18!

– This month’s Erotic Reading Circle meets on 2/22.

– The Spring Write Whole workshop series all begin in April — and if you’ve been thinking about joining the Dive Deep manuscript workshop, we’ll be open again in April for new members (right now there are two spaces available — contact me for more info!).  The next Declaring Our Erotic retreat meets on Saturday, 4/7.

I’ll be away for much of the month of March (I’ll be at Hedgebrook for the first two weeks of the month, and then down in LA for my sister’s wedding toward the end of the month) , but Writing the Flood will meet as usual on the third Saturday, 3/17. Gotta keep some consistency somewhere.
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My online erotic writing workshop got started earlier this week, as I mentioned above, and last night I got to spend some time with the writers’ words before I got ready for bed. This morning, after I finish this post, I’ll be reading through the manuscripts for this Sunday’s Dive Deep meeting — marking up all the places I love, writing comments and gentle questions, generally, yes, diving into another person’s

I have to tell you that I adore this work. First of all, I get to read as a part of my living. This is precisely what my six year-old self dreamed of. And I get to “be read to,” just in the context of the workshops, where I participate in the pleasure of hearing brand new writing shared with a circle of open-hearted and supportive listeners. I get to experience the pleasures of writing over and over again, every single day. Talk about grateful.

I’ve had this thought, over and over since the beginning of the year: my god, do I really get to do this? I felt it on Monday at the Write Whole meeting, listening to the writers offer their words into the room, to one another, to themselves. I’m struck, continually, with the power of new writing, with how much creative desire and power each of us carries within, and what a tremendous gift it is to share that creativity with others, especially in early drafts or nascent forms.

I’m all superlatives these days. That’s just how it is. So this is just one of my sappy facilitator-love posts, wherein I talk about how much I love and appreciate the writing of every single person (no hyperbole) I’ve been allowed to write with, how grateful I am for the chance to be with your new and crafted words, how glad I am that we get to be on this writer’s journey in some small way together.

It’s so often an isolated thing, writing — what power there is when we come together and share this art that fills us up to bursting.

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On only a very slightly different note, I’ve been rereading Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body (such an exquisite thing, returning to words you love after a long absence) , and I have this quote to offer you as a prompt for this morning (getting us into sensory detail, don’t you know):

When she lifted the soup spoon to her lips, how I longed to be that innocent piece of stainless steel. I would gladly have traded the blood in my body for half a pint of vegetable stock. let me be diced carrot, vermicelli, just so that you will take me in your mouth. I envied the French stick. I watched her break and butter each piece, soak it slowly in her bowl, let it float, grow heavy and at, sink under the deep red weight and then be resurrected to the glorious pleasure of her teeth.

Take 10 minutes (or can you give yourself 20?) to write what emerges in response to reading this– maybe your own (or a character’s) memory of a sensory meal, or a desire. Follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.

Thank you for the generous ways you make yourself vulnerable today, for the way you hold with grace what others offer you, how you create space in the world for creative emergence. Thank you for your ferocious tenderness with yourself. Thank you for your words.

unpetalling — and erotic writing workshops coming up

graffiti of a rose, with a heart at the center, black paint on concretegood morning good morning. I haven’t offered a tea report for awhile here — this morning’s tea is wulong with mint and nettle, and some crushed anise and cardamon seed. Thanks to my sister and her sweetheart for the wulong — I’ve been doing a bit more caffeine lately, drinking more black and a lot more green tea. This morning my heart is pounding, but I don’t think that’s the aftermath of alchemical buzz. It’s something different.

What do you do on the mornings you can’t remember your dreams, but you know you had them? Meditation would be ideal, I think, wouldn’t it?

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A quick reminder about what’s coming up (apparently it’s all erotic all the time around here, at least according to this update):

Tonight! 1/25 — the Erotic Reading Circle! Join Carol Queen and me for the first Reading Circle of 2012. Bring stories/writing to share, or just be a part of the circle of listeners. 7:30pm, Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St, San Francisco. $5 (suggested donation, no one turned away)

Saturday, 1/28 — Perverts Put Out! I get to perform along with a whole list of amazingness: Sherilyn Connelly, Daphne Gottleib, Philip Huang, Juba Kalamka, Kirk Read, Thomas Roche, and horehound stillpoint. Jan 28, 7:30 pm, Center for Sex and Culture, $10-15. Come on out and warm up your January.

Saturday, 2/4 — Declaring Our Erotic! Join us for the first meeting of our new monthly writing retreats. Each month, come together with a fun, powerful, and supportive group of writers to dive into some sexy and surprising new writing! We will work with a theme every month (February’s is New Beginnings), and you will be invited to write into the ideas that theme inspires in you, or you are welcome to use the workshop retreat time to do whatever writing is most pressing for you. Connect with fierce writing community and offer yourself into your own erotic voice. Spaces are still open!

1/30-2/29 — I’m also leading an online erotic writing intensive with the Transformative Language Arts Network, Claiming Our Erotic Story. Discover the liberatory uses of erotic writing as you try your hand at some explicit erotic writing, and, in so doing, get more comfortable exploring and talking about sexual desires, explore the varied and complex aspects of sexuality and desire, and celebrate the fullness of our erotic expression! Register with the TLAN — I’m looking forward to writing with you!

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That’s right, now I remember: I dreamed I was with a group of writers (maybe for a workshop) at a bookstore, and I pulled a book off the shelf and said, oh, look, they have my book! It was a book about writing, with exercises, etc. And then I looked again at the cover and it wasn’t mine. In fact, I didn’t have a book. This was someone else’s book that I often mistook for one I had written, or felt that I could/should have written.

Some needling for me in that remembering — yowza.

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A poem prompt today. (Thanks to my friend E., who introduced me to the book of poems called Risk Everything, where this was inside). Let yourself read the poem a time or two, and notice what lines call to your writing self, what associations or images arise in you as you read. Give yourself 10 minutes, and just write.

I Unpetalled You
Juan Ramon Jimenez,
translated Stephen Mitchell

I unpetalled you, like a rose,
to see your soul,
and I didn’t see it.
But everything around
— horizons of land and of seas –,
everything, out to the infinite,
was filled with a fragrance,
enormous and alive.

Thank you for all the ways you unpetal, the ways you risk, the ways you offer your brilliance and fragrance to the world. Thank you for your words.

if I listened

graffiti: a black bird in a blue window, with the word 'listen' pushing out overheadHappy Tuesday! It’s quiet and grey here on the left side of the Bay (well, when facing Oakland — but who isn’t facing Oakland?) — how is it where you are? The birds are waking slowly; I think they’re not quite convinced of daytime yet.

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You know what’s coming up next around Writing Ourselves Whole, right? Everything kicks off the second full week of June: our 8 week workshops (Write Whole for women survivors of sexual violence — this one’s about fully registered — and Declaring Our Erotic, open to LGBT/SGL/queer folks of all genders) and the next Writing the Flood, on June 18! Got some resolutions for Pride month  around being truer to your fierce, creative self? Come join us!

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This morning I’m thinking about listening — and, of course, puppies. I’m learning to listen to Sophie, just like she’s learning to listen to me. We are practicing hearing each other, testing out what happens when we do. She communicates differently from other dogs that I’ve lived with, at least so far. There’s a way in which she’s been both herself and an instantiation of the other dogs in my life, all at the same time, since she’s been living with us — and slowly, as I get to know her better, as she herself becomes more known to me, that sense of being a representation or a placeholder for another animal begins to fade. I can hear her better for herself, just as she is, rather than listening for how my other dogs used to communicate with me. This is a moment to moment practice, and it’s both exhausting and wonderful.

Don’t we have to do this all the time, with animals, yes, but with people, too? You remind me of someone I used to know, and so it takes me awhile to quit expecting you to act and sound like them; it takes me awhile to really listen to you: to how you speak, to how you act, to how your youness manifests in the world.

And then, of course, there’s the learning, the every-day practice, of learning to listen to self — and the work required to become gentle enough to say yes to deep self longings.

This weekend, at the Reclaiming Our Erotic Story workshop, we did this exercise: Begin writing from the phrase, “If I listened to my body…”

And if you want to take some time with this one this morning, 10 or 15 minutes, remember to change up those pronouns if that makes the prompt more interesting for you: if he listened to his body, if she listened to hers, if you listened to her body, etc…

This was my response during the write:

If I listened to my body, this wreckage would begin to pool away, would slim first heavy then thinning from my shoulders, all the iron bars would falter, then break — if I listened. If I stepped aside, traded ears for armor, if I took the stories in. If I let you ask in all your nighttime longing and I shut aside the worry, the need to sleep or work, the heavy heartbreak or old aches that every relationship accumulates like jewelry, if I closed those thoughts into a warm room with iced tea and good conversation, if I just listened to the quick thud of my heart in my belly, the soft pearling beginning beneath and between, would yes slip more easily from my lips? If I could nuance my way through old panic and just let the body live its now, just here have your skin and mine speaking in filamented blessings, if yes were not tangled in a thicket of terrible history, if I weren’t still so glossed by the anvil glamour of no, would we ride hard and fast into more muscle-achey mornings, would I have more days when I had to keep a scarf around my neck at work?

If I listened, there would be more massage and dance — and don’t I slip into the passive voice there — because who would put on the tall shoes and take those steps on behalf  of this one brave and resilient body, whose scars lie invisible and brazen in her underbelly and along her breasts?  This body, who wrestles deep with every angry wind, this tenacious tired body who has been strung up like a live wire on red velvet alert for so many years and now would just like to recede into something like mo(u)rning and good rest, into something like day — this body, that carries pleasure in her cervices like it belongs there, this body with the taste of chocolate and bitter greens between the teeth, and the taste of salt and moon everywhere else, this body with its tensions and knots, this body is screaming       is howling        just wants me to put down my book and listen, like a little sister: play with me. And what keeps me from saying yes? What breaks open like a geode when I do — glittery, dusty, unfathomably faceted, and unable to close up again?

Thanks for all the times you keep listening, to the hard stuff inside and even, yes, to the easy, gorgeous, fun stuff. Thanks for your strong, knowing words.

Writing the Flood on May 21! A monthly writing workshop open to all

Writing the Flood
Open the gates and let your writing voice flow

Third Saturday of every month!
Our next workshop meets May 21, 1-4:30pm
Come write with us!
Follow up with that resolution to return to your words! 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 (sliding scale available). Spaces limited to 12 writers.

No previous writing experience necessary! Workshops held in Berkeley or San Francisco in an accessible space, close to BART and MUNI lines. Pre-registration is required — please write to the address above with questions or to register.

Can’t make it this month? Mark your calendars: The June Writing the Flood will meet on 6/18.

About your facilitator: Jen Cross is a widely published freelance writer. She’s a certified AWA workshop facilitator, has led writing workshops since 2002, and writes with folks about trauma, sexuality, and so much more. More info at writingourselveswhole.org.

5/28 in Sacto: Reclaiming our Erotic Story!

We had so much fun at this workshop back in January, we’re doing it again! Contact John Crandall (info at the end of the post) to register or for more info! -xox, Jen

Reclaiming our Erotic Story:

the Liberatory Potential of  Writing Desire

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

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


Primavera: Festas, Wildflowers, and Inspiration (5/6)

The excellent writer & facilitator Chris DeLorenzo (of Laguna Writers) is co-leading (with Sharon Smith) a daylong writing retreat up in Forestville at the beginning of May — I whole-heartedly recommend Chris’  (AWA method) workshops to anyone looking for a safe and fun place to write. And check this one out: fresh new writing and amazing food? Talk about sensory inspiration.

-xox, jmc

Please join us for our first 2011 daylong retreat in Forestville on Saturday May 7th, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. As we anticipate our two upcoming writing retreats in Umbria this fall, we will once again let Italy inspire us here in West Sonoma.

In Italy, May is a month of flower, food, and wine festivals (known as a festas), so we’ve decided to have one of our own. We’ll feast on luscious words in the morning and afternoon, and our lunchtime meal will be a celebration of flowers and the spring Italian harvest.

This retreat will have the same format as our previous retreats: we’ll write all morning, take several short breaks, and one longer break at lunchtime. For lunch, we’ll serve a spring asparagus risotto and Italian skewers, a seasonal salad and a special Italian dessert. After lunch, we’ll write again all afternoon, and end the day with an evening prosecco toast paired with some antipasti. (Expect artichoke bruschetta, another seasonal Italian treat.)

The Forestville Retreat is $150 and includes the all-day workshop, as well as the morning treat, snacks, lunch, dessert, hot beverages, and wine.

These retreats tend to fill fast, and many participants return to write with us again, so if you are interested, please make a non-refundable $75 deposit to hold your place. You may do this by arranging to send Chris a check; you can also sign up on the “Fees and Deposits” page, using the Paypal drop-down menu.

For more information, please go to Laguna Writers or call: 415-206-9771.

To contact Sharon about accommodations or restaurants, or see more photos of Birdland, check out her web site at http://www.savorsmith.com or contact her directly at SavoringSF@aol.com or 415-378-8005

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! :)


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