We Gathered: Journal Conference 2016

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IMG_5990Just back from a rich and deep experience at the 2016 Journal Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, where we celebrated 30 years of journal therapy through the pioneering work of Kay Adams and The Center for Journal Therapy. We also launched the next 30 years of work in this field. The big vision: To make journaling as integral to our health and our community healing as yoga is today.  And we are definitely on our way there.

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Natasha Trethewey

It was a time to meet and celebrate some of the pioneers of this work, including Kay Adams, Peggy Heller of the National Association of Poetry Therapy, Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea of PeerSpirit and The Circle Way, Richard Gold of Pongo Teen Writing, memoir specialist Linda Joy Myers and author Judy Reeves, as well as Pulitzer-Prize winning Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

Beyond that, we experienced fabulous workshops; to name just a few: Writing and Transitions with Leia Francisco; Writing and Neuroplasticity with Deborah Ross and Kay Adams; the new Positive Psychology Strengths Assessment with Edwina Cowdery and Nancy Scherlong, plus sessions on poetry, sacred song-writing, memoir writing, and others. A highlight was a workshop on writing a non-fiction books using journaling techniques to structure your approach, with editor/coach Nancy Evans. Other master journalers presenting were Linda Barnes,  Susan De Wardt,  and Anne-Marie Jobin of Journal Creatif…and many, many more.

People are doing incredible work with journaling around the world, and more is yet to come.  Journaling can jumpstart any writing effort, and can launch anyone’s writing career. Journal therapy also can be used by many professionals to enhance their healing in this world.  Find out more by becoming a member of The Journalverse or taking classes with the TWI Institute.

It’s a community that is changing the world, one journal entry at a time.

Writing + Everything = Good

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IMG_5870We’ve had so much fun this spring celebrating this beautiful time of year with writing combined with most everything else (collage, poetry, hiking) to create powerful experiences for women (and a few men) writers.

Just happened: Our annual Write + Hike, which included a potluck to make this a Write + Hike + Eat at Down to Earth Farm on the westside of Jacksonville.  Eighteen writers gathered on this beautiful organic farm run by Brian Lapinski, where we were treated to a farm tour including turkeys, chickens, pigs, and of course, rows upon rows of beautiful organic vegetables and flowers.

After a fascinating tour, we gathered in the woods for a special circle to learn techniques for writing in nature and on our summer travels, using all our senses.  We began with an edible flower (nasturtium), a Tibetan bell, and a painted rock, and conjured up memories from showering with free-roaming pigs to eating a first oyster.  We finished up with a delicious potluck and were recharged to go out into the world again.  Here’s a short video and a few pictures just to show how delightful it all was.  Thanks to everyone who attended and to Brian for hosting.

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We’ve All Got a Story to Tell

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“There’s a crack in everything.  It’s how the light gets in.” ~Loenard Cohen

We’ve all got a story to tell.  And our stories are worth telling!  But just saying them out loud isn’t enough, because they can be forgotten.  It’s good to get them written down.

So, how do you get started?

  1. Get yourself a journal and a good pen you enjoy writing with.  It could be a beautiful leather journal or a colorful one or a recycled paper one.  Keep it with you all the time! Your journal is a container for all your thoughts and ideas; not just “Dear Diary,” but rather, new business ideas, creative projects, successes and failures, lessons learned.  Writing is a way to process ideas and filter your thoughts, and put them in a safe place, until you decide to pull them out to use them, e.g., for a poem, a new book idea, an email to your ex, a business proposal, or a letter to your sister. (A computer works, too, but it can become too easy…like riding in a car all the time instead of walking.  Writing by hand is more visceral, more real, less polished. You can also type it up later. )
  2. Date your entry.  That’s it.  No other “rules,”  according to Kay Adams at The Center for Journal Therapy and one of my mentors. The space between your entries is just as important as the actual entry, so, you don’t have to write every day or anything.  But it IS helpful to know WHEN you wrote something, so you can put it in context. (Did you write something down on Valentine’s Day? If not, why not? What does that say about you and your life? Just sayin.’)
  3. Go with the FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT idea (also Kay’s suggestion).  Just write what pops into your head.  And then just keep writing from there.  It’s great to set a timer, and stop after 5 or 10 or 15 mins, or whatever.  At Women Writing for (a) Change, we call this a “fast write.”  Stay ahead of your inner critic, be honest, and get to the deeper waters.  You can always edit later.
  4. Join a group!  It’s really important for many of us not just to write, but also TO BE HEARD.  We all need to be able to say our stories out loud to let them be appreciated and honored. (Just like visual artists need to be seen to complete their process.)  This also gives you a supportive community to surround yourself with.  It also gives you structure…a deadline, a commitment, a reason to push yourself just a little.  And that’s the edge: That’s where the growth happens.  Plus, it’s just plain fun.

Where can you get started with a writing community? Right here At Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, where we offer semester-long classes, specialty workshops, and special community programs.

THIRD THURSDAYS, FOURTH FRIDAYS

In fact, it just so happens that we’ve got a new program coming up at Unity Plaza on the FOURTH FRIDAY of this month called “The Happiness Project: Writing Your Way to Happiness.”  It’s for men and women, and our first workshop “sampler” will be Friday, Feb. 26, from 2-4, in the Community Center.  You’ll always find a Women Writing for (a) Change program on the Fourth Friday of every month at Unity Plaza.

You can also sign up for our FREE writing circles on the THIRD THURSDAY of every month, right at Unity Plaza, during the Women’s Day Out program on Thursdays. Starting on  March 17, we’ll have a writing circle from 1:30-2:30 every Third Thursday.

You can always find out more on this website, by following our Facebook page, or by checking out our Meetup group site, where we post regular offerings.   At Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, we’re open to all levels of writers, from pros to beginners. We’d love to have you in the circle.

New Writing Season Begins!

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“What you seek is seeking you.”
— Rumi

NEW YEAR’S POEM
i am running into a new year

i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twenty-six and thirty-six
even forty-six but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

                       —Lucille Clifton

WRITING PROMPT: I am running into a new year and…

Just a few spots left for Spring Classes!

We All Have A Dream
What’s your writing dream? Perhaps our Spring Series will help you realize it. We still have a few spots left for the series starting Wednesday, January 20! And Art + Soul starts Jan. 30!

“I don’t think everyone wants to create the great American novel, but we all have a dream of telling our stories-of realizing what we think, feel, and see before we die. Writing is a path to meet ourselves and become intimate.”
― Natalie Goldberg,
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Register here.

 

Public ReadAround Wraps Up the Season!

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11039847_498130363681424_8386609438534008076_nYou are cordially invited to attend our upcoming Public ReadAround, a celebration event to support the latest group of pioneering women writers of Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville! We’ve got more wonderful, talented women writers who have been crafting stories and poems and essays since early this fall and will have some special stories to share with you.

We’ve also got our writers/collagers from our Art + Soul class, whose gorgeous collages will be on display. Finally, we will have our Soul Collage class presenting some of their beautiful work.

WHAT: 
Women Writers reading their work (and our collage artists presenting theirs)
WHEN: Dec. 5, 2015
WHERE: Unity Plaza
TIME: 2-4 p.m.
12072643_506149706212823_251420927365327984_nCome join the fun and experience some delightful readings, delicious food, and even a bit of music on the ukulele! See what this courageous and talented group of women is all about.

Hope to see you there. And thanks for the support.

p.s. Sorry guys, women only!

SoulCollage® Comes to Unity Plaza

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soulcollage-012What part of your soul is saying “give me life?”

SoulCollage® is a creative tool for artful self-expression. It was developed by psychotherapist and author Seena B. Frost, M. Div., M.A, in the 1980’s. Ms. Frost studied theology at Yale Divinity School and received a Master’s degree in psychology from Santa Cruz University.  Her blend of spirituality, psychotherapy and creativity continues to grow world-wide.

In this 6-week series, trained facilitators will teach you to use and enjoy this process of personal growth.  Using the SoulCollage® methods, each person creates a personal deck of collaged cards using index cards, glue, scissors and magazine images. SoulCollage® is a creative process that is truly accessible to everyone, even people who believe they have no artistic ability.

WHEN: Starts Sunday, Oct. 25, though Dec. 6 , for six weeks (skipping Thanksgiving),
TIME: Sunday afternoons, 2-5 p.m.
WHERE: Unity Plaza Community Room
WHO: Jennifer Wolfe and Stephanie Durham, co-facilitators
REGISTER NOW: On Meetup

As your deck grows, your cards begin to guide you through self-exploration and self-acceptance.  Using  imagery, imagination and intuition you learn to access the wisdom and wonders that lie within you as you create your personal deck of cards.  These cards are designed to give a voice to our inner thoughts, dreams and experiences while also honoring your deepest self…a visual narrative of your own unique story.  This  practice  honors  every step of your personal  journey.

This class is being offered as a joint venture by Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, and  Hope at Hand, Inc.  Hope at Hand is a local nonprofit that provides art and poetry therapy to vulnerable and at-risk youth populations in North Florida.  Participating in this class will directly support the community missions of both Hope at Hand and Women Writing for (a) Change.

Discover your wisdom, change your world!

Register Now for Fall Classes!

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Register Now for Fall Classes in Riverside!

Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, announces new fall classes, featuring the source book The Artist’s Way and a new partnership with Unity Plaza.

Women Writing for (a) Change members gather over the summer in Riverside.

Women Writing for (a) Change members gather over the summer in Riverside.

FALL SAMPLER: Register now for the Fall Sampler, on Wednesday, August 26, from 7-9 p.m. “Test drive” The Artist’s Way and our style of writing in community and find out if it’s a good fit for you. $25 tuition

FALL SERIES: The Fall Series begins Wednesday, September 2, from 7-9:15 p.m., and continues for 12 weeks.
 We’ll use The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, as our source book. Early Bird tuition $300; $325 after Aug. 27.

ART + SOUL SERIES: Starting on Saturday, September 5, from 2-4:30, for 6 weeks. This class is for those who enjoy art-making as much as writing. Using The Artist’s Way, we’ll mix writing plus collage and other media. (p.s.  We are also teaming up with Hope at Hand to offer a Soul Collage series…watch for more details soon!) Early Bird tuition $175; $185 after Aug. 27.

FOURTH FRIDAY: New this fall, we are teaming up with Unity Plaza to offer a free workshop on the Fourth Friday of every month in the Community Room at 220 Riverside. The drop-in class starts Friday, Aug. 28, from 12-1, and features a new theme each month, based on the current Unity Plaza theme. Additional classes will be held Sept. 25, Oct. 23, Nov. 20, and Dec. 18 (adjusted for the holidays).  We’ll also be adding a SECOND FRIDAY class soon; more details to come.

WOMEN OF WONDER: Wwf(a)C, Jax, will offer programs as part of the “Women Of Wonder” programs at Unity Plaza. Watch Unity Plaza’s calendar of events for more details soon!

NEW LOCATION: Women Writing for (a) Change has moved to Riverside!  Our new address is 1610 Osceola Street, Jacksonville, near Five Points. For more information, call 904-307-3047, or visit WomenWritingJacksonville.com, or find us through Meetup.com.