Good 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.