Tag Archives: bird by bird

The Early Bird Gets the Worm: Register Now for Spring Classes!


IMG_3135I was intrigued when I saw a robin on my front lawn this morning.  I’d seen a flock of them on New Year’s Day, gliding skillfully across a crisp blue sky.  But when one showed up practically at my front door today, I thought it might have a special message for me.  So I looked up the symbolism for robins in my animal totem book.

Yep.  Important message!  Here’s what it said: “This wonderful bird is a traditional herald of spring.”  Perfect! That aligns with the theme for our Spring Series: “Cultivating Your Inner Garden.”

It looks like a robin will be our guide!

The book went on to say, “When a robin comes into your life, you can expect new growth to occur in every area of your life.  Its cheery song reflects a need to sing your own song … if you wish to experience that growth.” Wow! Sounds like developing your writer’s voice to me.

Finally, it said that the powder-blue color of the robin’s egg is associated with the throat, and the power of using your voice creatively. It reflects “the innate ability of those with this totem to create new growth in their life.” In other words, each of us has IMG_3122the power to transform ourselves, and the robin will show you the way. (Just like the robin that guided Mary’s transformation in The Secret Garden!)

So, all you Women Writers out there, I do hope that I will see you  in the circle this spring as we continue on our personal writing journeys.  I cordially invite you to come and enjoy our curriculum, which will include creative writing craft and plenty of inspiration and structure to strengthen your writing practice in 2015. (BTW, guys are invited to attend our Hike + Write event at UNF on March 7!)

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

The robin also reminds me that the early bird gets the worm, right?  Some folks have already signed up for our Spring Series, which starts on January 21. That’s great!  Please sign up today to save a spot for yourself! 

Enjoy art and writing? You can also register for our Art + Soul Series, on alternate Saturdays from 10-12 for six weeks, starting January 31. This wonderful course will also focus on cultivating our inner garden, and promises to be a rich and fruitful series. What the heck, sign up for both! 🙂

Not sure yet, and want to know more?  Come to our Spring Sampler on January 14! You’ll get to see why a Women Writing for (a) Change writing circle is a magical place to both develop and challenge your writing practice.

draft_lens17279251module145724101photo_1294526004shape-collage-onlineTo register, please just click HERE for the Spring Series and HERE for the Art + Soul Series.  Or, sign up for the Sampler right HERE.  I’m sticking with 12 spots in each class, so please register as soon as you can to hold your spot. And do encourage your friends and fellow writers to attend as well! 

A Wonder-filled First Year!

What an exciting first year for Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville!  I cannot tell you how grateful I am to everyone who has a part of it. Working in this community this past year has changed my life in remarkable ways.  I especially appreciate our writers and their stories, courage, and transformation.  I am also grateful for the support of the Jacksonville community, and the larger national circle of Women Writing for (a) Change, from my mentors to my fellow facilitators. They have each given generously to help me launch Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, in 2014.  For a photo retrospective, check out the photo collection on our FB page. (And “Like” us if you haven’t already!)

UNF Write + HikeSuccessful Fall Public ReadAround 

Our Public ReadAround in December on the beautiful grounds of the UU Church of Jacksonville was very successful, with women writers well-represented in words and collage art and even song.  We also supported Rethreaded with brisk sales of their products, and raised $390 toward our outreach efforts this coming year.  Thank you to everyone who helped, from our donors to our attendees and supporters to, of course, our women writers.

Big Plans for 2014

I’m looking forward to what 2015 has in store for us! Just a few of the activities in the works are:

  • A January presentation to the American Legion to help raise funds for our Pilot Project for Women Veterans (email me if you’d like to donate or get involved);
  • Communications and volunteer support for the Generation Works program on February 7 with Donna Orender (email me if you’d like to help)
  • Our first “Write Around the Corner” event at UNF for a “Write + Hike” (register HERE now if you’d like to attend! Spots are filling fast!)  This is a joint venture with the Sierra Club; men are welcome.
  • A joint venture with the Downtown Library during Artwalk in March to showcase women writers (email me if you’d like to participate);
  • More outreach programs with the DBW Policy Center for Girls, incarcerated women at the Community Transition Center, and Bosom Buddies at the Women’s Center;
  • A possible joint venture with the UNF Women’s Center and the UNF Writing Center to bring our writing practices to UNF.
  • Much, much more!  (OK, not too much more, just the unplanned stuff that I’m staying open to.)

I hope to see you in one of our writing circles in 2015, and I look forward to growth and transformation as our robin guide shows us the way!


A message from the birds




Song of the Soul in Scottsdale

I am one who
gets a kick out of squawking loudly
and hasn’t forgotten how to play..

I am one who
jumps into things headlong
and cries out, Why do I doubt? 

I am one who
who flies with buntings
and keeps on singing.

 I am one who
stands on straws hollow, light, yet strong,
and dances to the sails of circling clouds.
I am one who
is serene inside the colors that I am,
and mirrors back the truth or lies you tell the world.
I am one who
sleeps at night,
and sees both the curve of the planet and the whisker of the mouse.
I am one who
spies on cardinals,
and knows that attention is life.
I am one who
lives alone and with others,
and flies on the line between fierceness and forgiveness.
— Group Poem, Song of the Soul Workshop, Compiled by Jennifer Wolfe
National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference
Scottsdale, Arizona
April 26, 2014

Poetry in the Desert



Each day a bird would shelter
in the withered branches of a tree
that stood in the idle of a vast, deserted plain.
One day a whirlwind uprooted the tree,
forcing the poor bird to fly a hundred miles
in search of shelter—
till it finally came to a forest
of fruit-laden trees.
If the tree had survived,
nothing would have induced
the bird to give up its security and fly.
— Anthony DeMello, One-Minute Wisdom

Desert rose

Desert rose

I’ve written a lot of poetry this month.  I took up the write-one-poem-a-day challenge of the National Poetry Writing Month and had a lot of fun with it.

The good thing about writing one poem a day is, as William Stafford’s son pointed out, you don’t have to write a GOOD poem every day.

The month culminated in presenting a workshop for the National Association for Poetry Therapy conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Which is in the middle of a desert. Which is where I literally found myself, the little bird that once sat in a dead tree tree, perched in a “healing garden” filled with fruit-laden trees.
You don’t get more poetic than that!

Well, actually, you can:
A tiny goldfinch, the symbol of resurrection, appeared on a water fountain in front of me as I sat in the garden with an old friend.

So there you are.
Poetry, in real life.
(Check out my favorite photos from my visit on my FB site.)

To celebrate, I’ve selected three poems to share. One is a found poem, collected as ReadBack lines from the Open Mic night we had at the conference.  I wasn’t quite ready to share any poetry yet, so, I played my ukulele to open the show.  Which was risky and vulnerable and lots of fun.  And then I wrapped the night with the ReadBack lines.  Which was magical.

The second poem I wrote at the conference.  The third is a group poem I compiled from the participants in my workshop. I’ll share those in a separate post.

So, here we go.

Open Mic Night
Alchemy at the Jung Institute in Asheville.
What I see here are beautiful lotus flowers,
and their words are hard and heartfelt.
It was a kindness.
My house is stuffed.
I shiver shards of broken wishes.
I made wonder my roof.
I whisper secrets to the moon.
Back to bread.  Back to wine.
The river’s cool color never repeats.
My arms are uncannily light.
A paradoxical experience.
Low doorways and open space.
An artist who dreamed in circles.
He’d been inspired by a poem.
As one free sky-seeking lark ascending.
I saw hundreds of spiders in the shower.
Nothing but a bird’s nest, I wept.
One night I dreamed my head was full of feathers.
Ancient swollen spiky thumbs.
It’s about a rose being a rose, thorns and all.
Who is an emperor without clothes or a throne?
Turn your gold into God.
Time to get out of the gene pool.
Always I find my maps at AAA.
Squeezed tight and flustered,
there she will be.
Then will come the Goddesses.
Love gifts will flood the void.
Each moment is the was of the next.
This has been my most beautiful day on the water.
Hear the silence in the spaces.
Why am I concerned with worry?
I am tainted by the inevitable fall.
Will I find the smooth taste of awareness again?
I’m here to journey.
I’m here to journey.
Everyone can be free in the now.
First the clearing away.
I can make a hole with my finger.
Pulling the long root of a weed.
You love him, they teased.
A thick salmon in your mouth.
You are a poet if you write a poem.
Instead of right angles, slopes.
The precision given in that answer.
They only attack when they are scared.
Both wild, both endangered,
they understood each other.
Yes, we both say to olives.
With perfect moments, completely out of place.
Wet nose up the back of a visitor’s skirt.
Better get cracking!
I am very tenderly rinsing,
covered by the indignities of illness.
An urgent love that longs to be enough to raise the dead.
How we played Gotcha Last every night, and you always let me win.
Until I was 21, and you left us.
It’s a memoir in poems.
Effigies of horror burned.
Let the weeping begin.
Does my anger scare you?
Like you’re the mother fuckin’ president of something.
Dreams take the form of rocks.
The abyss of sweet dreams.
— Read-back lines from poetry open mic night at
the National Association of Poetry Therapy Conference
Compiled by Jennifer Wolfe April 25, 2014


Find yourself in the circle


What if this was the year you found your true voice?


Join me for a very special workshop series starting January 2014 designed to help you cultivate and nurture your own authentic voice in a supportive writing community.

Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, is now offering a 15-week course created to provide time, space and a community to support the lives of women who are:

  • Just beginning to find their voices
  • Writing but seeking new sources of inspiration and discipline
  • In transition
  • Working in the arts who want to write to open up new avenues of expression
  • Involved in the helping professions and want to write as a way of keeping themselves intact
  • Poets, novelists, journal-keepers, memoir writers, and others

Classes allow for personal writing time, small-group sharing, instruction in useful and positive feedback, and opportunities to read aloud for an audience. You’ll also learn to identify the internal and external systems that silence you, and help one another to change those systems.

Class meets Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m. in the Clubhouse of Jacksonville Golf and Country Club. Each class will be facilitated by writer-faciliatator Jennifer Wolfe, with occasional guest presenters.  An additional Core Class will be offered Fall of 2014, with other workshops throughout the year. Tuition is $375.

Sampler session offered in November


Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

If you’d like to “test drive” the model, please attend our “sampler session” on November 20, 2013.  In this session, we will demonstrate the Women Writing for (a) Change practices and try out our “text” for the upcoming January class: Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. We’ll use prompts from this wise and witty book for our writing practice, and use journaling, expressive writing, and other creative methods to give you a taste of what the WWf(a)C process offers its participants.

Our first sampler session was held on Wednesday, October 16, and was a powerful experience for 11 Jacksonville women. Here are some comments from participants of our first “sampler” class:

  • Surprisingly fun! I really enjoyed my time and all the people.
  • Time to concentrate on something for myself.
  • The safe place to share.
  • Enjoyed the safe structure and welcoming atmosphere. Enjoyed being encouraged in this space.
  • The gift of the circle is the beauty in honesty. Words from the heart are always right.

Make this a year of profound change!

Experience the gifts of writing in a circle. Register by leaving a comment below or, follow the link to the Meetup site:  http://www.meetup.com/Women-Writing-for-a-Change-Jacksonville/.  Small fee of $25 for refreshments and materials for the Sampler; this can be applied to the tuition for the Core Class if you register by December 1, 2013.