Tag Archives: writing workshops

New offering for 2019: Fierce Hunger – Monthly survivors writing circles!

graffiti of a multicolored hummingbird, found on a mailbox in Oakland
Fierce Hunger: Survivors writing
at the intersection of trauma and desire
Themed writing sessions every first Saturday of the month, 12-5pm

What you are hungry for? At the intersection of desire and trauma, hunger can take many forms. So many of us are trained to starve ourselves. We are starved for the food we most want to taste, for the creative expression we want to release, for the sexual and sensory experiences that sing in our bellies and hands.

Join us, pick up the pen, and share your fiercely hungry stories. These monthly circles will be themed, and exercises will lean toward that theme, though every writer is always invited to write whatever they are drawn to write.

Open to all survivors of sexual trauma; a al carte, each session is $150 (discounts available to those who register for a meal plan ); limited to 9 writers. Contact Jen with questions or to register.


 

2019 Fierce Hunger circle themes:

January 5Fragmented and Whole

  • Unfolding our understanding of wholeness and healing: When we say “writing ourselves whole,” we mean writing into all of our parts, our many selves, the places we feel can never come together again…

February 2Claiming our Desire

  • Desire takes so many forms – erotic, sensual, creative… by writing into our desire, we discover, we name, we risk allowing ourselves to want…

March 2Telling it Slant

  • Sometimes we have to approach our tenderest stories from another angle…

(No meeting in April)

May 4Famished

  • What happens when we who are trained to starve ourselves give name to our cravings and begin to seek them out?…

June 1Queering our Survival

  • Nothing about our survival is on the straight and narrow…

July 6We Do Not Have to Be Good

  • We are the”Wild Geese” from Mary Oliver’s poem; when we who were trained to be good girls (no matter our gender) – quiet, obedient, keeping the secrets of others – begin to raise our voices, the world shifts on its axis, and we feel our wings unfurl…

(No meeting in August)

September 7Embodied Words

  • Writing can be a way to gently re-engage with our bodies, from which many of us have worked for years, even decades, to separate ourselves…

October 5Writing Our Rage

  • Many of us were trained away from our anger, taught to turn it in on ourselves; our rage is a powerful energetic force, and can drive extraordinary writing…

November 2Intersections of our Survival

  • None of us are survivors of sexual violence only – we are also gendered, raced, variously abled, of different means, differently educated… and these aspects of ourselves come together and inform the way we live in the aftermath of our trauma…

December 7Ceremonies & Gratitudes

  • How do we honor all that we have been through, the many ways strategies we have used to survive? How do we show gratitude to the tools that no longer serve us (though they got us to where we are)? How do we write gratitude to these bodies, the genius of our resistance, our communities, all those who give us permission to survive?…

 

Meal Plans!

Meal plans let you eat more for less! 

breakfast: 3 sessions for $350 (a $100 discount)

brunch: 6 sessions for $650 (a $250 discount)

feast: all 10 sessions for $1000 (a $500 discount)


Join us for one or a few or all of these opportunities to write into, honor, grieve, celebrate, maybe even sate, the fierce hungers we carry as survivors…   

Register for Odyssey; Join a group to heal, or to develop your intuition or spiritual practice!

Here are a few announcements that have arrived in my inbox recently, and I wanted to make sure to pass them on to you! The first, Odyssey, is a writing workshop open to writers from all over the world; the other three are Bay-Area-local offerings…

1) Apply for Odyssey: For writers of fantasy, SF, and horror

Now in its 24thyear, the Odyssey Writing Workshop is widely considered one of the top programs in the world for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Acclaimed authors, editors and agents serve as guest lecturers, and 59% of graduates have gone on to be professionally published.  

Odyssey 2019 will run June 3-July 12, at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, New Hampshire.  

Odyssey combines advanced lectures, in-depth feedback, and one-on-one guidance for maximum impact.  Class meets for over 4 ½ hours, 5 days a week, and students use afternoons, evenings, and weekends to write, critique each other’s work, and complete other class assignments.  Graduates commonly say they worked harder at Odyssey than they ever have, and they learned more in six weeks at Odyssey than in years earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in creative writing.  

The early action application deadline for this summer’s Odyssey is JANUARY 31, and the regular application deadline is APRIL 1. All applicants receive feedback on their writing sample. Financial aid is available. 

Instructors include Odyssey founder Jeanne Cavelos, bestselling authors Holly Black and Sara King, award-winning authors Nisi Shawl and Fran Wilde; highly praised author/editor Paul Witcover, and award-winning editor/publisher Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld Magazine.  We’ll also have agent Joshua Bilmes, president of the renowned JABberwocky Literary Agency, and award-winning editor/publisher Scott H. Andrews of Beneath Ceaseless Skiesas virtual guests via Skype. 

Visit odysseyworkshop.org to learn more!

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2) Feminist Wicca Training begins February 9, 2019

Year and a Day apprenticeship for women: Developing your early-based spiritual practice – with Carolyn Hunt

Group starting on February 9, 2019
Second Saturday each month plus Solstice, Equinox, and Cross-Quarter rituals.In this Apprenticeship, we experience the Wheel of the Year—the planting, growth, and harvest of our dreams, desires, and aspirations. We tune into the mysticism of Nature and the Goddess, align with the divinity of our own beings, and expand our compassionate political consciousness in a workshop format. 

Prerequisites: 
1. Introduction to Feminist Wicca class or comparable education/experience (familiarity with ethics and women’s circles), 2. Maturity level conducive to intensive spiritual growth, and, 3. Commitment to pursue a Feminist Wiccan path.

To Register: email info@carolynhuntrituals.com to schedule a 30-minute phone call to assess whether our working together is a match!

Visit carolynhuntrituals.com for more information!

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3) Openings in a new therapy group for queer folks:

Ellen Morrison, LCSW, is starting a therapy group for people who identify as Queer (self-identified/LGBQQ-T+GE+2S-IA).
 
A dynamic place for problem solving, healing and empowerment, this weekly group is designed for 6 people to support each other in exploring and resolving issues they are facing. 
 
Group members will:

  • Learn a cooperative process helpful to relationship building, problem solving and healing;
  • Get support challenging limitations and internalized oppression so as to grow steadily toward their goals;
  • Interrupt experiences of isolation;
  • Use creative arts and somatic wisdom, as well as, talk therapy, in the sharing of our lives, practicing skills and learning from both the groups shared experience and diversity. 

This group can be an adjunct to current work in 1:1 therapy or a therapy in of itself.
 
Time: Wednesdays, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Length: This is an on-going group; new members join as people leave group.
Cost: sliding scale $200-150/month
Where: Berkeley on San Pablo near Gilman and North Berkeley Bart

Learn more at www.ellenfmorrison.com

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4) Trust your truth: An intensive workshop series to develop your intuitive and psychic wisdom, led by Sade Gryffin

Join Sade Gryffin for this fun and intensive seven week workshop series, to develop your innate Intuitive and Psychic wisdom.

What can I expect in the workshop?
The workshop is based in meditation practice. The meditations incorporate guided intuitive energy healings, both seated and in movement, to clear your subtle body (aura and energy centers) of blocked energy.

You will learn powerful practical tools and techniques to:

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Increase self-confidence and self-acceptance
  • Feel grounded and at home in your body
  • Create and maintain healthy boundaries
  • Release old worn out patterns and habits
  • Gain clarity of mind
  • Heal relationships with people, money, and life path
  • Align with your authentic self, and manifest your desires

Time and datesThis workshop runs for 7 weeks, Jan 13th – Feb 24th 2019 Sundays- 9:30 am – 11am; each class is 90 minutes
Venue: Temescal Arts Center Oakland, 511 48th St, Oakland, CA

Investment for full Seven week workshop series: Early bird $360 (before Jan 1st 2019); Regular price $420 (Payment in full or 50% deposit due when you registered.)

Visit cariadhealing.com to learn more or to register!

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We love our writerly, creative, healing community! Connect with these brilliant folks to learn more about their offerings…

<3

 

2015 Festival of Writing on July 11!

psrAWA West presents
our second annual
Festival of Writing!

Saturday, July 11
9:30am – 6:00pm
Pacific School of Religion
1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley
$65 for PSR/GTU students and $90 for the general public. (A limited number of seats are available at a discounted rate for low income writers. If you would like to request a discount, contact summer@psr.edu.)

Join us for the second annual Festival of Writing, hosted by Pacific School of Religion and AWA West! Don’t miss this day of powerful writing and supportive, kind community in an absolutely beautiful setting. There’s no better way to celebrate both your writing and the gifts of the Amherst Writers & Artists workshop method. Register now!

Continue reading

necessary medicine

Good morning! After 7am and the birds are just now waking up in the live oak tree behind the apartment — I guess the rain kept them inside, too. The puppy’s not up yet, either. I think she knows what we’re gonna find when we head out into the city. Today, I’m grateful for the thick grey wet out there. Been up and working since 4:30. It’s almost time for a breakfast break.

Yesterday I had my third workshop in four days; it was a full stretch, starting on Thursday afternoon, and today I’m in a re-centering mode. How do you find your balance?  Continue reading

it adds up

graffiti -- mosaic sunflowerBack to the regular schedule today — good morning out there!

Today the clouds are bulbous and full of pink. What’s the sky like outside your window?

The forecast is for 56 degrees in San Francisco today. I talk to Kathleen in Atlanta, where it’s been in the 90s with tremendous humidity. What can we say about summer except hello?

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I’ve updated the calendar page with the Fall & Winter workshop schedules — let me know if you want to be on the waiting list for those groups!

The upcoming Declaring Our Erotic workshops will be open to everyone — folks of all genders & sexual orientations! I’m considering doing the same with my Winter 2012 Write Whole workshops — opening it up to all survivors of sexual trauma, regardless of sex or gender. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

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I have to get in the shower soon. Yesterday, I spent a couple hours going back through my blog, and read that line quite a few times. I’m gathering up material for a couple of book projects and one article — and I realized just how much writing I’ve got in here. In spite of the days of frustration, in spite of often feeling like I don’t have enough time to write anything, it turns out that in just the year or so that I’ve been blogging approximately 5 days a week, even just for a few minutes, I’ve generated a lot of usable writing.

10 minutes every day for 30 days adds up — for 6 months, adds up. For a year? Yes. Start now. Just keep writing. I know it’s not enough in this moment — but the moments coalesce, and you’re building something, even if, in these 10 minutes, it doesn’t feel like you are.

Take a few minutes right now, and jot down a list of things you want to write about — questions or memories or stories you’re working on, or wishing you were working on. Write the list at the back of your notebook, or in a note on your phone, or into a new document on your computer.

Then let one of those topics choose you, and just devote 10 minutes to it today. Let the words flow. Start with, “What I really want to say about ____ is…”  — don’t stop to edit or process the right place to begin. Editing comes later. Just generate the material.

I’m grateful for you today. I’m grateful for your presence, your process, the creation that you are — and for your words, too, yes, always.

a relationship with home again

graffiti on a street corner of the Buddha's faceYesterday we hiked up a mountain — a small mountain, Tiburon mountain, sure, but when we came to the top, we could see the full body of that orange Golden Gate Bridge, hugged thick by fog, nearly weighted down. We could see the whole fog-heavy morning laid out in front of us.

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This week, the workshops begin again — tonight I’ll be meeting with a full Write Whole workshop, and throughout the day, I’ll be communicating with folks who’ve signed up for the online Reclaiming Our Erotic Story class. I’m making my first videos ever for the online workshop — I feel like we get closer to the ‘in person’ experience if folks can hear the prompt, rather than read it. We’ll see how that goes.

I rarely watch or listen to recordings of myself — this is good practice in releasing self-judgment. Yesterday I felt like I joined the modern age: I took a shower and fixed my hair and got dressed up, all so I could create a youtube video. Then I changed into my regular clothes again.

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It’s getting close to shower-time. The puppy is tearing up a toy and having a great time. This morning we walked up the hill to the old church that sits above our apartment building, and I missed my mom, who walked up there with us the first time last weekend.

I have been homesick for a long time, and I’m not at all sure what that means. How to feel homesick when you don’t have a singular or solid sense of home? And yet, this longing is true in my body, a welling in my belly, filling the whole front of me, chest, shoulders, pelvis, with ache and want. Is it a honing toward a sense of place, a desire to know the people who my blood would call family, a wanting the deep damp and heat of midwest summer?

What does home mean for you? What about homesick?

I realized yesterday that I’ve been away from the place I was born for a generation. My cousins all have babies, some of them grown, and I barely know any of these people. Do I have a right to still call that place, these people, mine?  What is this desire to go back, or to go forward into that land that for so long I couldn’t even imagine being able to escape?

The land itself wasn’t my prison, and those places hold history for me, they hold stories I barely remember, they hold the rest of my stories, the ones that don’t live all the way in my body. And the truth is that I need those stories, those connections, that place that holds me like something right fitting around my shoulders. People who talk like I do, even when I don’t always agree with what they have to say. Could it be that I’ve moved far enough away from my desire for ideological perfection that I could have a relationship with ‘home’ again?

Anyway — a prompt for today: What’s home mean? Let’s start with this phrase: This is what home means for me (or him, or her, or you…) Take 10 minutes, write down every free association, every image or voice or feeling that arises. Let it all come, in its wild and complicated, painful and gorgeous and frustrating mix.

Thank you for the ways you let home come into you, the ways you let yourself become home, for different parts of yourself and for others around you. Thank you for the ways you write yourself home, for your words.

the right time

graffiti of a flower, a bee hovering over, maybe a microphone in the background?Good morning! The birds are quiet today — maybe this blue-grey wakening day is subduing them.

What do things look like outside your window? (That’s a great place to begin writing, btw — if you’re just opening the notebook and wondering what to say. Start anywhere — say anything. All the starts are just opened doors that you can walk through, that your writing can walk you through, to get you where it wants you to go. So take that square of windowpane: what’s on the other side? What exactly do you see, or don’t you see? The descriptions will pull you in to the writing, the process, the flow. Let yourself get pulled, notice what associations, what words or phrases or characters start to bubble up, and let those down onto the page next, then follow them.)

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Tomorrow I head up to Sacramento for the second Reclaiming Our Erotic Story workshop! This is a day-long writing opportunity, a chance to engage in some fun, hot, risky writing with a wonderful community of folks. Light breakfast served, lunch on your own — we get to fill the library of the Sutter Hospital in Sacramento with our sexy and powerful stories! I had a great time with this workshop in January, and I’m so looking forward to returning. (There are still a few spaces available — write to John Crandall if you’d like to join us!)

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Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans.

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. -Attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; the majority of the quote was actually written by William Hutchinson Murray (1913-1996), in The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.

(Does it matter where the words come from, if they move you? When does it matter? Why?)

I was afraid it wasn’t the right time to get a dog. And of course, it wasn’t. We have so much on our plates, our calendars, so much we are trying to do. I have three workshops, maybe four, starting next month, a day-long workshop tomorrow — remember hat June is Pride month and we want to do everything. I’ve been complaining here that an hour writing time in the morning just isn’t enough, I leave the journal frustrated, have to slink to the day job. We didn’t make a good plan. I have classes I want to sign up for, and so much work to do. How could I possibly think about adding a dog? I should have waited until I had more time, until the coast was clear, until we have a perfect plan and budget and know exactly how it’s going to go.

Of course, you know: the coast is never clear. There’s always something else. It’s never the perfect time. We did it anyway — and after a weekend of profound anxiety, it turns out, it was the right time. We’re still adjusting, opening, stretching our lives to accommodate her, like she is stretching to accommodate us — and here’s an amazing thing. So far this week, I’ve had about a half hour at the blog, and it feels like enough. I wake, do my three morning pages in the notebook, and those feel like enough, too. Then I have time with my dog, this new companion, in and around all of that necessary writing time, and the time is enough. A half-hour has expanded, moved, shifted, opened. I can’t explain it, and I’m grateful.

It’s never the right time, and then again, that might mean that it is. What’s the thing you want, that your character wants, that it’s not the right time for? Write it, ok? Give it 10 minutes this morning.

Thanks for how you let your dreams come through you into reality, how you are the body of dreams, how you live. Thanks for your resilient creative self, and for your words.

finding a place

graffiti of a phonograph and drops of something (music? rain?) coming out of the amplification part

(this image has nothing to do with today's post, but I really like it, so here you go)

This morning the birds are trilling like mad, and I thought I heard a hawk calling from over the Preserve behind the house. The tea (nettle-dandelion-mint morning wake up tea) is warm in my hands, and my insides feel warm like fear is taking a dive to the edges and something good and possible is filling up the places that it’s fled.

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Early bird registration for the 8-week workshops (Write Whole and Declaring Our Erotic) ends tomorrow! It’s a 30% discount on the registration fee — that’s significant! Write Whole is nearly full — please contact me asap for more info about either of these workshops or to register. The workshops begin the second full week of June and meet for 8 Monday evenings and 8 Thursday evenings, respectively. I’m looking forward to writing with you all!

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I’m thinking about disciplines this morning, not the erotic kind (not that erotic kind), but the school-labeling kind (which can be erotic in its/their own way) — and how the interdisciplinarian finds a space. I’ve been doing interdisciplinary study since forever (cognitive science undergrad, transfomative language arts MA) and now I’m looking for a new interdisciplinary home and at the same time trying to find the right set of disciplinary-term-markers that describe the particular intersection I’m jumping off from/out of/in to: creative writing, trauma theory (itself an intersection of other disciplines), psychoanalytic theory, cognitive science, sociolinguistics, cultural studies, narrative theory,  post-structuralist theory… aren’t there more? Do there need to be so many?

The books I’m reading right now: Telling Sexual Stories: Power, change and social worlds (Ken Plummer, who introduces or reintroduces me to the idea of a “sociology of stories,” which, yes, is exactly where my interests lie) and Psychoanalytic Theory: An Introduction (Anthony Elliott). Next on the list are Peggy Phelan’s Unmarked, Derrida’s Writing and Difference, and Mitchel & Rose’s Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the école freudienne.

Two things I want to say about all that: Thing 1) all of this is erotic reading for me; Thing 2) my mother was an English major/teacher, and then a psychotherapist, and my father taught Social Studies — talk about living into the intersections, no?

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A prompt and a write from this weekend’s Writing the Flood workshop (the next one meets on June 18 — come join us!)

The prompt was to create a short list of small pieces of beauty in your neighborhood — just take a minute, and jot down as many as you can think of. Then give yourself 6 or 7 minutes, and go into one of those pieces in more depth: how does it smell? what does it look like? what time of day do you see it?

This was our first prompt on Saturday. Here’s my response:

On work mornings, it’s the same rush out of the house, down the long stairs, down the driveway and a hard thumping my heels hitting the asphalt hoping I’ve timed everything right, exactly the right amount of time to hustle from my front door to the bus stop so I can catch one of two buses, the second of two buses, that go directly into the city.

And on the way I pass a wonderland that I can barely stop to wonder over, a riot of flowers, blackberry blossoms, nasturtium, red hummingbird-tubey blooms, morning glories, native trees in full pollen, fennel fronds and is that elderberry or queen anne’s lace, all this gathering around a marshy pond filled too with ducks, mourning doves, Canadian geese; the red-winged blackbirds whirr their morning greetings and the other day I saw a coalition of four or five smaller birds (swallows, sparrows, blackbirds, crows) hauling ass after a red-tailed hawk, chasing her out of their territory.

Every morning I want to make a sharp left at the tiny concrete bridge over the run-off brook making its way into the pond from the hills, and dive into the wild California brush, learn the feel of this spring mud between my toes, let the city bus, the city life, pass me by.

You find so much beauty everywhere — thank you for the ways you do that. Thank you, always, for your 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
916-708-9708

john@fireartsofsacramento.com