Tag Archives: community

Breaking open, over and over: The Healing Art of Writing Conference

Last week I had the great pleasure to attend the Healing Art of Writing Conference/Workshop, offered at Dominican University here in San Rafael and organized/led by Dr. David Watts, a poet and UCSF GI doc. What can I tell you about this event? When I first saw the information about the conference (shared by Dr. Aronson at USCF, who runs the Medical Humanities listserv there), it felt like the absolute right place to be — a writing conference, about writing and healing and writing as healing? And Jane Hirshfield, Dr. Rachel Remen, John Fox, Terese Svoboda, Robert Hass and other amazing poets/writers/thinkers will be presenting? And it’s at Dominican, just two miles from my new home? Yes, please! However, the conference fee (which, at $700, is completely reasonable for an event of this length and caliber) was out of my budget, and so I thought maybe I’d be able to catch the evening talks or save up for next year’s offering.

And then Cindy Perlis, who leads the Art for Recovery program at Mt Zion (where I lead Healing Through Writing workshops with folks living with life-threatening/life-altering illness), asked if I wanted to go. She’d been offered a spot, but couldn’t take it herself. And so it was that on Sunday evening, after a weekend of queer-lib-madness (given that it was the end of Pride week in San Francisco), I found myself on the second floor of Guzman Hall on the Dominican campus, listening to a roomful of healers, poets, novelists, new writers, long-term writers, those living with illness or life-altering physical experiences, nurses, therapists, and doctors introduce themselves to one another. I felt wholly out of my element and terrified (and not a little bit awe-struck). I learned that night that the folks who had signed up for the Prose workshop (as I had) would be expected to share a 10-15 page chunk of their writing with their workshop groups. This was new information for me, and I had to scurry that night to get together the material I wanted to share with my group.

What else can I tell you? The Dominican campus is tree-and-deer filled, a peacefully-riotous green. Often during the week I was reminded of being at Goddard, from the reminders to be in one’s own process to the old wood frame buildings, there was something familiar about this place and these healing-focused folks gathered to attend to their own stories, their own writing.

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12/17: Holiday Dirt: fecund new erotica! A benefit for writing ourselves whole…

Please help to spread the word! xoxoxo

Writing Ourselves Whole presents
~Holiday Dirt: fecund new erotica~
a benefit reading and celebration!

With special guest Carol Queen!
Featuring Alex Cafarelli, Lou Vaile, Amy Butcher, Renee Garcia, Jenn Meissonnier, Blyth Barnow and Jess Katz!

Burlesque! Sweet treats! Chapbooks!

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We are family?

Thursday night at the phenomenal Girl Talk: A Cis & Trans Woman Dialogue, curated by Julia Serano and Gina de Vries, Ryka Aoki de la Cruz talked about family, about how if we’re family how can we ‘outreach’ to each other? Families who’ve been separated have reunions, not outreach — it was brilliant (as were each of the other performances shared at that show) and of course there were many more points she made and images she shared in her piece…

And this one, though, sticks in me — sticks in my troubles — the way performers talk about family sometimes, how we should treat each other more like family, meaning we should treat each other better, more kindly, with more open hearts, right? I guess that’s how my inside hopeful heartsick places interpret that phrase.

But I think we do treat each other like family, already, unfortunately. ‘Cause what are our experiences of family? We drop one another when it’s expedient, we shut each other out and off. We take sexual advantage and then turn our backs. Isn’t that family?

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National Assoc of Memoir Writers FREE teleconference tomorrow!

Visit the NAMW conference site to sign up for tomorrow’s telesummit and to get more information. It looks to be packed with amazing information and connections!


2009 Second NAMW Virtual Conference

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San Francisco tonight!

If you’re going to be anywhere near the Mission District tonight, or can get there, you won’t want to miss this reading!

January 14, 2008, 7pm
Achy Obejas & Dorothy Allison

Where: GalerĂ­a de la Raza, 2857 24th At (at Bryant), San Francisco, CA 94110
Cost: $5-10 donation

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Unexpected offline-ness

I apologize for the unannounced break in my posting schedule! So, I’d planned to keep on keepin’ on with my bi-weekly posts all through the last couple weeks. It turns out, though, that I needed to take some time away from the computer. Most weekdays, I spend at least 8 hours on the computer, and something that I’ve offered myself during this end-of-Gregorian-year vacation has been some time not linked up: baking and painting, instead; movie-watching and stargazing instead; reading and beach-walking instead. It’s been deeply, deeply good; necessary, even — bringing up fully into my consciousness how much of a break I really need.

Besides thinking about a 2009 schedule, what’s been heavily weighing on my mind are these horrors:
– Israel is massacring Palestinian civilians with the apparent approval of the US and the UN, using such similar justificatory language to Bush’s — the world is watching; can we stop this brutality?
– a woman was brutally gang-raped in Richmond a few weeks ago — there have been four arrests made: a 31 year-old man, a 21 year-old man, a 16 year-old boy and a 15 year-old boy. A 21 year-old, a 16 year-old and a 15 year-old. I want to write more about what I see as so many terrible barbed-wire layers around this case, and yet, how can I seriously start to take apart for individual consideration the very recent threads of this survivor’s experience? Just because some suspects have been caught by the criminal justice system doesn’t mean that justice has been or will be served — real communal change, I mean an actual ending of rape as a tool of social control and violence and terrorization, continues with our conversations, our vigils, our communities holding the perpetrators accountable, our ongoing work. We cannot trust the State to do it for us.

I *am* going to finish the Arts and Healing Network podcast question responses! These are the questions we still have to think about:

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Podcast Answers – Day 4: Has writing been healing for me?

Last Monday 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 a couple weeks ago. Welcome to day four!

4. Has [art/writing] been healing for you personally? If so, how?

Deep writing at a cafe - from coffeegeek.com

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12/1 – World AIDS Day

Put the red ribbon back on.  AIDS is not over

Today is World AIDS Day.
AIDS is not over.

I know we’re more than ribbons, that it takes more than that little flip of red material pinned to your sweater or shirt to bring about change in the world — and still, those ribbons mean something to me. They mean bravery and risk, the willingness to call attention to something that the larger community didn’t want to face.

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Nov 19: Your words and art are needed!

from http://www.stopcsa.org/talktostop/:

Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse, Inc. (Stop the Silence, www.stopcsa.org), in collaboration with Art for Humanity (South Africa) and The Global Lesson Foundation (Canada) and other collaborating organizations (Survivors Healing Center, Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence) request your input for the first annual “Stop the Silence: Talk Around the Clock” marathon to stop the silence about child sexual abuse (CSA). On November 19, 2008 we will start talking and presenting art and information through the Web from people around the world who want to add their work and thoughts to this movement, and we will not stop for twenty-four hours. We can present your work (e.g., we can air a clip of your poetry) or you can present it live through a special Web program that will allow others throughout the world to see and/or hear you.

We need your voice, art, and information.

* We need your voice if you are a survivor, a bystander, and/or a supporter of the prevention of child sexual abuse.
* We need your voice to help celebrate the courageous efforts of past victims, survivors and those who have supported them.
* We need your voice if you are an individual, organization or celebrity who believes that no child, regardless of geography, culture or heritage or economic status, should have to endure any form of sexual abuse.

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“Shedding the Skin of Shame, Bearing Our Bodies’ Truths”

Call for Artists — Please Forward Widely!

“Shedding the Skin of Shame, Bearing Our Bodies’ Truths”
October 18th, 2008
This dynamic event features local poets, artists and activists, speaking out against sexual assault and offers a unique supportive space for expression and community building. We are seeking volunteers help to make this event happen. If you are interested in volunteering for the event, our first meeting will be in July 2008. Check website for updates on meeting times.

* To submit poetry, prose, flows, songs, and music, artists must send in a cassette or CD of their piece, along with a written copy of all words/lyrics. If work is received in written format only, the piece may not be considered for inclusion.
* Visual artists may submit work in the form of high-resolution (300dpi) digital images in the following formats: TIFF, JPEG, JPG.
* To submit dance pieces, please send a VHS, DVD or weblink of the entire piece.
* All performance pieces (i.e. poetry, dance, music/songs, dramatic sketches, etc.) must have a total running time of 5 minutes or less. The suggested length for performance pieces is 3-5 minutes.

Please include a short biography (300 words or less) and contact information with your submission. Pieces must be related to healing from and/or speaking out against violence, sexual violence and gender and/or sexual oppression. Due to space limitations, not all submissions may be accepted, and selection is at the discretion of the artistic committee. Performers will receive a modest stipend. All SUBMISSIONS due no later than AUGUST 15th. No exceptions!

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