Public offerings

Bring Jen/Writing Ourselves Whole to your school or organization!

photo credit: Sarah Deragon, Portraits to the People

Workshops/Presentations

I am always excited to bring Writing Ourselves Whole talks or writing group experiences to colleges/universities, organizations or groups.

Here are several of the workshops I have offered at schools and for communities around the country. Depending on the needs of your group, we could craft a talk, writing experience, or a combination from any of these offerings.  Please contact me for booking or other information.

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 Write Whole: Survivors Write
Changing our language can change how we understand and story our lives.
In this experiential writing group for survivors of trauma, we write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing, that concern such subjects as body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more. We create new art and new beauty out of the difficult and complicated realities of our lives. Writers are encouraged to trust the flow of their own writing, and receive immediate feedback about the power of their words. Although the setting is a supportive one, the workshop is different from a support group or therapy, as the focus of the workshop itself is on each person’s writing. At the end of this AWA-method writing group, writers have a rich body of new creative writing, feedback from peers about what’s already strong in this work, and connection with a new and open-hearted writing community.

Liberatory Uses of Erotic Writing
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 a site 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 (both damning and provocative when it comes to personal expression and human relationships) teaches us about our sexuality. 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, many of us step into a deeply empowered and more embodied self. In this AWA-method workshop, we try our hand some explicit writing, and discover how a creative engagement with sexual identity, fantasy, desire, and expression can empower our intimate relationships, our communities, and our work in the world. (Can be made survivor-specific or open to all, as desired.)

An example of a talk based on this topic can be found here: http://webcast.ucdavis.edu/flashv2/?file=UWP/2011/Jen_Cross_11-15.flv. (Please note: This talk opens with a reading that contains sexually-explicit material.)

Embodied Words: Unveil your body’s stories
What are the stories that your body has to tell?
Writing is itself an embodied and embodying process; still, many of us, for varying reasons, believe that we must write from our “rational minds” in order to write well. When we are disconnected from our sensory experiences, our bodies are without a storyteller, and the result can be writing that feels emotionally disconnected. In this AWA-method workshop, we engage the power and possibilities of being grounded in the body when we write, and explore ways to gently invite the specific sensory details or memories that bring forth powerful body story and character development. We discuss examples from recent memoir, fiction, and poetry, and write together, from the stories our bodies (or our characters’ bodies!) are ready to share.

 

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