Tag Archives: write whole

Fall workshop schedule at Writing Ourselves Whole

graffiti of a butterfly hovering a branch that contains two nests of heartsFall is upon us, and many folks are in the back-to-school mode. Maybe you’re ready to pull out those composition books and let your words flow. Maybe you’re finished with summer’s travels and are ready to settle back into a relationship with your words. Maybe you’re ready to find community support for your stories. Whatever your reasons, join us in a group or workshop this fall, and write yourself whole:

Write Whole-Survivors Write. Open to all survivors of trauma
8 Monday evenings beginning October 14, 2013.
Fee: $350
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 women
8 Tuesday evenings beginning October 15, 2013.
Fee: $350
Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near Lake Merritt.
Safe space in which to explore our gorgeously complicated erotic selves! Find community around the complexity of desire — and transform your relationship with your creativity and your sexuality! — as you try your hand at explicit erotic writing.

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just once before I die I would like to know I’ve flown free

The prompt I offered at one of our last Write Whole sessions was “things we aren’t supposed to talk about.” (You can make a list of those things, if you want, or simply dive into the first thing that comes up for you when you hear that phrase); we wrote for twenty minutes.

Here’s what I wrote:

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unsolicited advice for a survivor

Rockridge HeartsThis is what I want to say: It won’t end. You won’t get fixed. You won’t reach a place where you name is Healed and incest doesn’t feed you breakfast anymore. The people who tell you You’ll get over it don’t know what they’re talking about, because they live in their own closed cage of denial. You have been transformed. You are not the same as you were Before. And you will never not also be who you were Before — but it may be some years before these layerings of yourselves can sit in the same room with you and have coffee in the morning. There is no such thing as getting over it. There is the business of living through. There is learning to breathe again, there is learning you are worthy of the air you breathe, there is having to breathe when you know you are not worthy. There is you, just breathing. You will have years called Night and years called Drunk and years called Weep and years called Frozen and years called Broken and Fuck. You look at this and think you can’t bear so many years of pain — but what’s true is that all those years are also called Freedom.

You will not always be in pain. Your heart will harden and soften at the same time. You will forget all the names you ever had, you will climb into a skin so different from the one you were fucked into that not even your mother — especially not your mother — will be able to recognize you. This may or may not be a cocoon. It might just actually be the true face of your new eyes. Every stage of healing is a phase, like this breath you are taking is a phase, like this heartbeat is a phase, like a single kiss is a phase is an instant an instantiation of your personhood. Phase means nothing except you are still alive. Ignore them when they tell you that whatever you’re experiencing now is just a phase. Ignore their relief, if it comes, when you enter a different phase. They do not sing with all the tendons of your body and they can’t speak the truth of your soul. Sit with the people who can hold your surfaces and your undersides.

One day you will say yes to your skin, yes to sex, yes to the feel of your body alive and inhabitable. The next day you will wrench up with No again. There will be years like this. There will be two yes hours in a row. There will be days when you don’t say his name, nights when the dreams in which you cannot move begin to stretch and taffy in your psyche, one day inside you will take the knife he brandishes and turn it on him. That will be a good day.

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I believe in the topology of regeneration

This is a new day. My body is sleepy, thick with desire for the covers. The candle blossoms new color into the dark room, and I am here with these early words. Fit me into the couch cushions, cover me with my mother-knitted afghan, hand me my tea cup and my novel. What do these words want from me today? What do your words want from you?

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I have two survivors workshops going right now, one in person (Write Whole) and one online. Last night was the third meeting of the spring Write Whole session, and got to be amazed at how deep the writing went, and how fast. We wrote hard about memory and grief, and in-between writes, we talked and connected and laughed. We wrote anguish and struggle last night, and after the workshop was over, I felt energized, lighter, and so grateful. It was a big one last night.

Sometimes people say, when I share with them about the work that I do, “Oh, that must be so hard.” I don’t know how to convey to them how much it’s not hard. How grateful I am every time I’m in the presence of a story that was never supposed to be told, how I appreciate the effort and risk involved in sharing brand new words, how honored I am to get to be in circle, over and over, with writers who are willing to language what we are trained never to be able to say. That’s not hard, I want to tell people; that’s a gift! Continue reading

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!

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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.

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Winter 2012 Workshops — Here’s what’s coming up!

The new year is the time for a new dedication to your writing practice — and we’ve got a whole host of offerings, beginning in January and February, one of which might be just right for you or someone you love!

Please pass the word, and let me know if you’d like to join us! I’m looking forward to writing with you —

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do over

graffiti of a sunflower, drawn onto red brickGood morning good morning — how is Tuesday feeling so far? Here the candles are low, flickering and sputtering hard, working hard for the last interweavings of oxygen and wax before losing all fuel.

The tea today is Moroccan mint – nettle/dandelion – cardamom – anise. Bitter with sweet undertones; a good wake-up tea.

We had a fantastic first meeting of the Fall ’11 Write Whole group last night — such powerful writers. I’m excited and grateful to be working with them! I woke up this morning and spent the first part of my writing time doing some reflective writing about the group — I’ve wanted to start a reflective practice after each workshop meeting for more than a year now, so it feels good to have begun that.

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we can do it anyway

mosaic/graffiti of mountain and textGood Saturday morning! How is it already October? Better yet, how is it two-thousand-eleven? Isn’t it still 1983, we’re just 11, we’re just walking to class with our blue bookbags slung over our shoulders, we’re wearing sneakers with friendship-bead pins affixed to the laces, we’re hoping it will be hot enough over the weekend for one more day at the public pool before it closes for winter, we’re starting to get excited for Halloween — the year 2000 is way off, a movie fiction, something that won’t happen til we’re almost 40, for god’s sake, and who can even think that old?

And here we are now. Miraculous.

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The Fall ’11 Write Whole workshop starts on Monday. I’m so looking forward to this group — this will be the nineteenth session of this workshop, the end of it’s fifth year. I first launched the Write Whole series back in early 2007, after I’d been doing the Declaring Our Erotic workshops for several years. It took me that long to decide that I was ready, as a facilitator, to be present with a roomful of trauma stories. I’d been afraid, at first, that I would get overwhelmed, blown away — and, in fact, I think that it was wise for me to pay attention to that fear. I had to build my confidence and skills as a facilitator. Remember, though the first Declaring Our Erotic writing workshops were open to survivors of sexual trauma, we weren’t explicitly gathering to write our trauma stories; we were writing our desire, we were writing fantasy (our own and others’), we were playing with what was possible around sexuality — and though there was a shared understanding in the room around trauma, that is, a sense that we each knew that what we were writing about wasn’t necessarily easy or straightforward, we weren’t writing only about how difficult sex was for us. Sometimes trauma appeared in our stories, and that was perfect — there was room for the full complexity of our erotics, in all the positive and all the challenge. After awhile, though, I felt ready to try something different, and in 2006, four years after I started facilitating workshops, I led my first non-specifically-erotic-writing group, called Writing Ourselves Home, open to women. We met for 8 Saturdays, and I’m grateful to that group for giving me the confidence to stretch out into new of writing groups. I learned that the AWA method could hold all sorts of stories, and that by stayed true to our practices and focusing on one another’s writing, we remain a writing group and not a therapy group, no matter what the topic of the workshop or the exercises. We develop one another as creative writers, even as we also bear witness to beautiful and difficult stories.

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