Writing Workshops

I offer somatic writing workshops that are trauma-focused. In small groups we explore texts, utilize body-focused writing prompts and share our work with each other as we engage in conversation about writing as a tool for healing and connecting to our wise bodies. Some of the workshops also include an embroidery element in which we translate our writing into embroidery pieces. Embroidery is an incredible active meditation and offers a soothing closing to the workshop.

I've offered these workshops in a variety of places including LGBTQ centers, anti-violence organizations, harm reduction clinics, veterans hospitals and colleges & universities. 

Below are my current workshops. Please reach out if you would like to discuss my rates and how we could work together.

 

“For Text to Be Like Skin”: Performing Failure of the Body in Words & Threads

Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies)

 The body, post-traumatic rupture(s), is always beginning anew and creating out of failure.

The dominant narratives about the survivor body— oft pathologized as disembodied, disassociated and unwell— will be turned on their heads as we collectively think about and then write about the failure of the body during and then after experiencing violence— the failure to perform, produce, sometimes the failure to continue living-- that often elusive and uneven process of healing. We can never actually leave our bodies, as hard as we might try (and as wise as we are in our reasons for trying to leave)  and are therefore always already embodied. We can still take this point of failure, this point of rupture and move our way inside of it and also back out of it. 

In the workshop we will look to writers like Bhanu Kapil, Chris Abani and Arianne Zwartjes (among others) and will also generate new writing through body-based writing prompts. In addition, we will explore embroidery, through beginning a text-based fiber project, as another way to map and mark the lived experience of trauma in the body. The trauma doesn't have to just live in our body; it can be moved from living within our skin; it can be rewritten onto paper and fabric.

*The line “For Text to Be Like Skin” comes from the back cover of a Melissa Buzzeo book

What is the physicality of a wound? What types of loss feel nearly impossible to come back from? Can we dive into the wound, the loss: excavate and unearth it? In this class we will focus on survival and survivorhood; what it looks and feels like to live beyond traumatic experiences. The dominant narratives about the survivor body(ies)— oft pathologized as disembodied, disassociated and unwell— will be turned on their heads. We can never actually leave our bodies, as hard as we might try (and as wise as we are in our reasons for trying) and are therefore always already embodied. Too often survivors that are also writers are told to not dwell in the trauma, that writing from personal and traumatic experience isn’t “legitimate” writing. 

Reading work by Arianne Zwartjes, Bhanu Kapil, Tara Hardy, Amber Dawn, Melissa Febos, Leslie Jamison, T Fleishmann, Reina Gossett, Kazim Ali, Audre Lorde (and so many more) we will also generate our own written body of work as we consider how embodied practice(s) (like writing and stitching) can be utilized to support our writing from the body and through trauma. In the final class we will also work on translating the writing into an embroidery pieces as an active meditation. A wound as a word as a picture, giving shape to the energy rippling in a body after experiencing trauma(s)— moving from skin to paper and fiber.

Note: “Wound Dwelling” is language drawn from Leslie Jamison’s work