Tag Archives: upcoming workshops

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.
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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.

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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!

Grow your words this summer — upcoming writing opportunities with Writing Ourselves Whole

ripening tomatoes, June 2013What words are ripening in you these days? Want to harvest those phrasings and images onto the page? Come and join us at one of our many writing groups and workshops. Here’s what’s the summer schedule looks like around these parts!

Write Whole-Survivors Write. Open to all survivors of trauma
8 Monday evenings beginning July 8, 2013.
Fee: $350 (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.

Reclaiming Our Erotic Story: Open to all lgbtq women survivors of sexual trauma
8 Tuesday evenings beginning July 9, 2013.
Fee: $350 (ask about scholarship/payment plan, if needed)
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.

Dive Deep: An advanced manuscript/project workgroup
Next series begins begins July 2013
Fee: $200/month (multiple-month commitment)
Limited to 6 members per group; 1 space available
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.

Online writing groups
6-week summer sessions begin July 1, 2013
Fee is $100-150 (sliding scale).
If you are not comfortable joining an in-person group, we offer online groups as well. This summer, our Write Whole: Survivors Write online is open to all queer/LGBTQ survivors of trauma; Reclaiming Our Erotic Story online is open to all women survivors of sexual violence. 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 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, June 15 (waiting list available). Mark your calendars now for the rest of the summer: July 20, August 17, September 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!

Here’s my impression of a car salesman: sign up now and save!

A quick note about our summer in-person workshops: you may already know that there is a $50 discount for registering by the early bird deadline (June 10 for Write Whole: Survivors Write and June 11 for Reclaiming Our Erotic Story). That means you pay $300 instead of $350 for an 8 week workshop. (That $300, by the way — if you like math like this — breaks down to less than 40 dollars per meeting, and about 15 an hour). All you have to do to qualify for this discounted rate is to register and send your deposit by the deadline.

I’m adding an additional incentive to those who know they’d like to participate in one of our survivor-centered writing group this summer — a further %10 discount on that early bird rate for those who pay in full by the early bird deadline. That means $270 for the 8-week writing group.

My aim here is to get the get the groups fully registered earlier rather than later, so that I can focus more attention on preparation and less on promotion!

Please let me know if you have questions or would like to register. I look forward to writing with you!

So many ways to write your stories! (Late Spring & Summer with Writing Ourselves Whole)

heart vidaWe’ve got a lot of writing opportunities coming up in the next couple of months! If you’re ready to write into your own intersections of trauma and desire, this could be the time to join us.

Summer 2013 Schedule

“I Masturbate:” a writing class in honor of National Masturbation Month
THIS SATURDAY, May 4, 12-3pm, $25-50 sliding scale
Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St., San Francisco
Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/376758
May is National Masturbation/Radical Self-Love Month, and in conjunction with Shilo McCabe’s “I Masturbate…” photo exhibition, the Center of Sex and Culture wants to give you the opportunity to celebrate the power of masturbation and radical self-love! No previous writing experience necessary! At the end of our three hours together, participants will have several new, hot and surprising pieces of writing, will be connected with a supportive creative community, and be warmed up for a month of radical self love!

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, May 18

Liberatory Potential of Writing Desire (Let’s Write About Sex!)
June 8, 2013 10am-5pm
Sacramento, CA
A day-long writing group with AWA Sacramento
To register, write to John Crandall at john@fireartsofsacramento.com
Expand the depth and breadth of your writing, discover the gorgeous creativity of your erotic self, and celebrate your individual erotic story. Spend the day writing joy back into your body and your sexuality. In a community of engaged and encouraging peer writers, try out some heated and surprising new writing, and find out how empowering a creative engagement with sexuality, sensuality, desire, and fantasy can be.

Write Whole-Survivors Write. Open to all survivors of trauma
8 Monday evenings beginning July 8, 2013.
Fee: $350 (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.

Reclaiming Our Erotic Story: Open to all lgbtq women survivors of sexual trauma
8 Tuesday evenings beginning July 9, 2013.
Fee: $350 (ask about scholarship/payment plan, if needed)
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.

Dive Deep: An advanced manuscript/project workgroup
Next series begins begins July 2013
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.

Online writing groups
Summer sessions begin June 24, 2013
If you are not comfortable joining an in-person group, we offer Write Whole and Reclaiming Our Erotic Story online!

All workshops facilitated by Jen Cross. Register here!

Spring 2013 Workshop Schedule!

HowAliveThe Spring workshop series kick off in April, and there are still a few spaces available in each — I’d love to write with you!

  • Saturday, April 6: Writing the Flood (our monthly writing group open to all)
  • April 7: Dive Deep (our advanced, manuscript-driven workshop)
  • April 8: Write Whole – online (open to all queer survivors of trauma)
  • April 15: Write Whole – in Oakland (our trauma survivors writing group)

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

Continue reading

Follow your words — Winter ’13 Workshop Offerings!

heart vidaDo you have stories or poems, lines or images that want to find their way onto the page? Join one of our writing groups or workshops, and connect with an engaged and fiercely gorgeous writing community while you release those words onto the page!

Read on to learn more about Dive Deep (our advanced, manuscript-driven workshop), Write Whole (our trauma suvivors writing group), Meridian Writers (our daytime writing workshop for women) and Writing the Flood (our monthly writing group open to all). Continue reading

Workshops: Summer ’12 Write Whole session begins August 6!

Because July means travel and vacation for so many people, I have postponed the Summer session of Write Whole until August! The new dates are below — if you or someone you know would like to join us, please let me know.

The next Write Whole: Survivors Write workshop will begin on Monday, August 6, 6:00-8:30 pm, and will run through Monday, October 1. We can have a maximum of 9 writers in this workshop — please let me know if you would like to join us! This workshop is open to all women who are survivors of sexual trauma.

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.

(nablopomo #5) the many ways you find to sustain your fierce and tender spirit

graffiti on brick -- group of people, joyous, sitting at a table set with bread and vegetablesGood morning, owl — thanks for joining me in the quiet. downstairs the neighbors are up, too, getting into their closets — sounds like it’s happening in our own apartment.

What are the sounds that are greeting you this morning?

It’s the weekend, and so I slept in late, didn’t get started with the morning writing until after 5:30. The alarm went off and then I spent a little time being quiet in my bed, having that stretch of just-awakeness where I think about the dreams I’m still not quite out of, noticing that it’s much colder outside the covers than beneath them, tustling slowly toward considering the work of the day. I have this conversation in my head almost every morning:

You love your writing time, Jen.

I know, but it’s so nice here, and I do need more sleep.

That’s true — but you love your dark morning writing time; you’re so sad when you don’t get it.

I know, you’re right.

I’m getting up.

Ok.

Seriously. Every morning there’s a little pullback, a little “do I really have to?” even when I’m headed out from under the covers to do something that I love and need. Maybe someday I’ll bounce out of bed, fully exhilarated the moment I open my eyes, tremendously excited to get to be at the computer at 4:30 am. Maybe. Someday.

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I’ll get November’s newsletter out today — in it, I’m going to remind you about these upcoming shindigs:

  • this month’s Writing the Flood meets on Nov 19 in San Francisco; this will be the last Flood for 2011, since I take a break in Dec, so we’ll have some special treats!
  • Also, there are two day-long workshops in Sacramento coming up on the 12th and 13th, Reclaiming Our Erotic Story (open to all) and Write Whole: Survivors Write (open to all survivors of sexual trauma, regardless of gender).
  • And I’m going to be giving a talk at UC Davis on Nov 15th about the liberatory uses of erotic writing (so nervous and so excited about this one)
  • Lastly, there are a bunch of new workshop offerings coming in the new year — Bayview Writers (general topic writing workshops in Marin) and Dive Deep (an advanced, project/manuscript-focused workshop) and a recalibration of Declaring Our Erotic, from weekly workshop to monthly weekend-day writing excursions.

I hope to see you out at one or more event in November! If you’re not already on the writing ourselves whole mailing list, you can sign up using the box there on the right side of the website (between the ‘upcoming events’ section and ‘most recent posts’ section).

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They don’t give us nablopomo prompts on the weekends, over at BlogHer; the weekends are for freewriting, they say.

Yesterday, during a coffee date, a new friend asked what the weekends looked like for me — what do you do when you’re not writing? she wondered. I gave a few answers, some possibilities, maybe beach time with the dog, maybe some hiking. The conversation moved on. She’s someone I got to meet during the Tomales Bay workshop, and I’m feeling so grateful for her, for all the women in my workshop, for these new writing-/transformation-centered connections in my life — our conversation got to be thick around writing practice, around what it means to be a writer, how we allow ourselves to make true space for our writing selves, how we learn to ask/expect others to hold that space as well.

When she asked about weekends, about non-writing possibility, I remembered a time, years ago, when my father had asked me this question. What do you do for fun, Jen? At the time, I couldn’t give him any answer besides writing. I was working for a Domestic Violence-centered nonprofit, volunteering with a queer youth organization, trying to get writing published, and writing regularly to figure out who and why I was. I had no serious hobbies, no sports that I played, nothing going on in my life that he could recognize as fun (or that I recognized as fun, to tell you the truth). I understood that it was a problem to just have writing as my only outlet, to stay so much with words alone, to be just so fully in my head.

I forgot about one thing, though: how much I love to cook. This weekend, I could have told my new friend, I’m going to spend some good time in the kitchen, away from the computer and notebook, in spite of all the emails that need answering, all the promotion that needs accomplishing, all the facebooking that wishes to occupy my every waking second — I’m going to do some real cooking. There’ll be some oatmeal-buckwheat-corn pancakes, oatmeal soda bread, chicken soup (starting with a new stock), maybe a new batch of puppy cookies, we’re good for now on homemade yogurt, so I don’t have to do that, but maybe a batch of beans for the week (the Mr. has been taking care of those, and they’re so yummy).

Cooking allows me to access a different side of my creativity, the part that delights in making something (and something substantial at that) out of what looks like nothing. I credit my mother for this, who knew how to stretch ingredients, who taught me about substitutions because we didn’t always have the funds to go shopping for the exact ingredient — she made do what what she had, and she made it good. From her I learned to appreciate experimentation and frugality, reading a recipe and changing it immediately to accommodate what I’ve got in the house. Experimentation, substitution, these make it feel like play, not like work.

Stretching other aspects of my creative self, that’s part of radical self care, no? Plus, time away from the computer, that can only be good for my body. We need many different ways of engaging with the world. This reminds me of that Rumi poem (these are excerpts):

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.


The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let’s buy it.

hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground

So today, the pup and I will go walking in the hills, then I’ll come back and turn on my Saturday morning NPR (car talk, wait wait — these are my liberal-adult equivalents of Saturday morning cartoons), clean up the kitchen, start the work of transformation, a few dry ingredients, a few wet, get myself differently messy, create something of sustenance.

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A couple of prompt ideas for you, for this Saturday:

- what creative play sustains you (or your character) besides or instead of writing; hear that question that my father asked: what do you like to do? What’s the physiucality of that activity like for you? Start there, maybe –

- read those selections from Rumi again. read them aloud. grab a line or a thought from there, or notice what arises for you, what voice or image or story, and start your writing there.

Always, you know it, follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.

So grateful for the many ways you have found to sustain all the parts of yourself. Thank you for your generosity to your own fierce and tender spirit. Thank you for your words.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.

Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let’s buy it.