Tag Archives: writers

Podcast Answers – Day 7: How facilitating the workshops has changed my own writing?

About a month ago, I committed to posting longer, more well-thought-out answers to the questions that Britt Bravo posed to me during our Arts and Healing Network podcast conversation. Here’s my answer for day seven!

7. How has [facilitating] the workshops changed your own writing?

Metal cursive courage
I think the most important impact that the workshops have had on my own work is an encouragement to be more, and more consistently, brave.

Planetary devastationEach week I get to write with folks who are taking chances, finding new language for old pains, old desires, or new and surprising ones. Every week I am inspired by these writers’ braveries, their risk and subtle (and not-so-subtle!) implosion of yet another barrier to connection with others, of demands to silence, of old trainings. The way we often go ahead and read aloud the work we hate, the work that scares us to have written, the work that seems to make no sense, the work that is “too” stream of consciousness, “too” organized, “too” truthful or “too” fictional.” The way Pat Schneider organized the AWA method makes it feel ok, feel possible, for folks to “go there” in their writing, to speak the unmentionables, to create a story for that thing without words.

Colorful starburstI am someone who believes that you ought not ask someone to do something you haven’t, or wouldn’t, do yourself–so I am driven to step into similar risk. To let myself try on words for a big fear, a big loss, a big shame, a big longing. To let myself strip out the words to a new story that needs an old telling. The folks I’ve written with since 2002 encourage me over and over purely through their example to take more risks in my writing, to follow the truths in my writing, as they do, to say what isn’t supposed to be said., like they do, to claim my multiplicity of voices, like they do. This is the most profound effect that facilitating these workshops has had on my work.

The fact that I’m always reading aloud what I’ve just written means my work, overall, is more performative, more ready to be performed, because I’m writing it with the knowledge that I will most often be reading it aloud – that means I pay a different quality of attention, even unintentionally, to how the words will sound when I bring them up off the page and into my lungs, off my tongue and into the room. Body Heat flyerMost of the pieces I performed on this year’s Body Heat: Femme porn tour were written in an AWA-method workshop, either Writing Ourselves Whole or Laguna Writers workshops, first read there, first received in these crucibles of risk and transformation and possibility – and those receptions paved the way for a more public (nation-wide!) reading!

These are the biggest effects on my own writing of facilitating the Writing Ourselves Whole workshops – in addition, of course, to writing a whole lot more regularly. What about for you? Are there ways that working/writing in one of the Writing Ourselves Whole or another AWA-method workshop has impacted your writing?

Free “Funding for the Arts” classes in San Francisco in October

Another writer with whom I’ve worked recently forwarded the following information from the Foundation Center —

“For those who are in the bay area, the Foundation Center focuses on Funding for the arts in October. The whole month is filled with different free classes relating to funding for artists and arts organizations. Please see link below for information and registration:

Some of the upcoming workshops include:

NEW WRITERS NIGHT on October 8 –
Getting Your First Book Published @3:00 pm
The Journey to Being Discovered: First Time Authors Reveal All @5:30 pm


Grantseeking Basics for Individuals in the Arts @1:00 pm
The Business of Being an Artist @3:00 pm

We know there’s money out there for us writers — we just have to figure out how to ask for it!

Workshop forming for mixed race women

I received this note from Esther, a former workshop participant — write to her at bionicfemme@hotmail.com if you’d like more information about hew new workshop:

“Hi Jen, Now that we have graduated from the Master’s program at New College, one of my classmates, Monalisa and I are starting up a writer’s workshop! This group is for all mixed race women of color who are interested in generating creative writing, memoir, and other multi-genre literary work to reflect their experiences as multi-racial women of color. Our concentration is on experimental lit, but linear, traditional narratives are welcome as well. We will also be performing as part of New College’s local writer series at a public reading in the coming months. Please let me know if you have any workshop participants that might be interested, and tell your friends! We’d really like to get the word out and grow as a community. We submit our work to the group on the second weekend of every month, then meet up for coffee during the fourth weekend, to go over each other’s work and in general, just bond as a community of mixed race writers. Hope you are doing well! -Esther”