A beautiful day yesterday, filled with nervous energy and a new workshop and a chance to spend some time talking with smart and open-hearted folks who want to use writing as a part of their healing/transformative/witness work in the world.
Was kind of jangly this morning during my writing time, filled with post-‘performance’ second-guessing: like, maybe when I thought I was coming across so smart and useful during the presentation for the Writing as a Healing Ministry class, I was really sounding a mess. This part of putting myself out in the world is a drag; all I can do is breathe through it.
It’s good to practice talking about the work, though: what I do and how I (think I) do it and why. Maybe I’ll write more about that next week. There were several good questions from the class, and I definitely want to spend some more time responding to those.
Sharon described me to the class as someone who writes (and facilitates workshops inviting others to write) the body and the body erotic. Yeah: that’s a nice gathering-together of all these seemingly disparate workshops — sexual trauma survivors, erotic writing, folks living with life-altering illness (maybe the MedEd writers don’t quite fall into this categorizing– but it’s ok to have an outlier :)).
I got to talk a bit with Sharon after her class was over, and that led me to thinking about the kind of folks I’d want to work with at writing ourselves whole — like, when I’m finally ready to bring on other facilitators (since already there’s interest in writing ourselves whole offering more workshops than I’m able to facilitate myself): who would that person be?
This morning, I wrote about that, beginning to imagine:
What if I asked additional facilitators to go through the AWA training and Sharon’s Writing as a Healing Ministry — and, too, maybe the San Francisco Women Against Rape volunteer training and San Francisco Sex Information’s training, too.
I want you to have this breadth of comfort and presence with trauma and with sexuality, the capacity to sit with extreme loss or sorrow or rage and not be thrown over, to sit with desire that you don’t share and not be pulled out of the moment.
I want you to understand the politics of rape and rape culture, of the undulating layers of oppression and privilege and silencing we live with and through in this society, with the kinds of questions and worries that people have about sex and how common those questions are (and how isolated we feel with them nonetheless).
I want you to understand about listening and reflecting, and how witness-listening is labor, a profound act of love, a “doing something.”
I want you to be in awe of the risk that folks take just stepping into a roomful of strangers to write, whether or not that’s a room of survivor writers or sexuality writers: understand that any writing, ever, is vulnerable.
I want you to understand about holding a room, owning and acknowleding your power and responsibility, encouraging folks to get comfortable and to fall into their own work, and then stepping out of the way as the group begins to net together to hold one another’s stories.
There’s more to this list: I’m excited to start this thinking.