Tag Archives: writing

Two New Summer Classes Offered!

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Our fall classes are filling up fast, but take heart—we’ve got two new classes we’re offering this summer!  One focuses on new folks, and one is for alums who need to “maintain their writer’s shape” over the long summer. More details below.

Summer Sampler on June 13

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New to Women Writing for (a) Change, Jax? Please attend our upcoming Summer Sampler 2017: Telling Your Story. We’ll be introducing you to our writing practices, helping you tell your own story through poetic inspiration, a well-tested writing method, and community support. We all have stories to tell, and most of us simply long for a place to tell them. Please join our circle and tell your story. We’ll be so glad to have you.

p.s. Plus, you’ll get to check out our new ”She Shed” in the garden out back!

Details:

When: Tuesday, June 13, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Opening Circle in the new “She Shed”
Who: New women writers
How much: $25
RSVP: Register here. Limited spaces available.

Maintain Your Writer’s Shape July 19

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Are you having withdrawal symptoms because you haven’t been to one of our writing circles in awhile? Or perhaps your writing has been suffering a bit because you’re out of your routine? Or perhaps you just miss your tribe?

Then please join us for a special summer session: Maintain Your Writer’s Shape 2017 on July 19. We’ll be previewing our memoir series this fall by telling the stories of our own summertime experiences. Please bring a photo of one of your summer vacations!

Details:

When: Wednesday, July 19, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Opening Circle in the new “She Shed”
Who: Alums of any of our other classes
How much: $35
RSVP: Register here.  Limited spaces available.

Please bring a journal, your favorite pen, a sweater, and a photo of one of your summer vacations. Hope to see you there!

“A circle of women may be the most powerful force known to humanity. If you have one, embrace it. If you need one, seek it. If you find one, for the love of all that is good and holy, Dive in. Hold on. Love it up. Get naked. Let them see you. Let them hold you. Let your reluctant tears fall. Let yourself rise fierce and love great. You will be changed. The very fabric of your Being will be altered by this.
If you allow it. Please, allow it.”

— Unknown

Finding Your Poetic Voice

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IMG_4312.PNGPlease join us for our Spring Series as we help you Find Your Poetic Voice here at Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville.

In this series, we’ll explore how poetry and poetic techniques can enrich your writing, infusing it with new ideas and themes…whether you write actual poems or just get more poetic in your daily writing practice. We’ll look at a selection of rich, juicy poems and see how they might inspire our creative process.

Our guest poet (from afar) will be Alexa Mergen, poet, journalist, teacher, and yoga practitioner. You’ll have a chance to meet her when she visits Jacksonville April 21-23, all the way from Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. She will consult with us on our curriculum.

The Spring Series meets weekly on Wednesday nights for 12 weeks, from January 25 through April 12, 2017.

WHEN: starting January 25, 2016, 6:30-9 p.m., through April 12.
WHERE: Riverside (1610 Osceola Street, 32204)
CLASS SIZE: Limited to 10 spaces.
FEE: $300 for the series (non-refundable unless cancelled two weeks before class); deposit of $75, balance due by first class.
REGISTER:  You can register right here!  Spaces are limited.

Curious but want a closer look first?  Please attend our Sampler on January 18 at 6 p.m. It’s a great way to find out what we’re all about!  Just register right here.  We’d love to have you.

You don’t have to be a professional writer to join in. Come by and learn more about the amazing process used by thousands of women across the country to express their authentic selves through writing and community-building. We’ll use prompts, poetry and prose to practice many different writing techniques.

“A circle of women may be the most powerful force known to humanity. If you have one, embrace it. If you need one, seek it. If you find one, for the love of all that is good and holy, Dive in. Hold on. Love it up. Get naked. Let them see you. Let them hold you. Let your reluctant tears fall. Let yourself rise fierce and love great. You will be changed. The very fabric of your Being will be altered by this. If you allow it. Please, allow it.” — Unknown

Join Us for Our Public ReadAround!

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img_3075It’s stories women need. Stories give us hope, a little guidance,
and a lot of bravery.
Sue Monk Kidd

Public ReadAround

Please join us as we broaden our circle to include our women friends, colleagues, and family  members. Once each semester, class members of Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville,  believing that “writing is not a performance, but a generosity” invite you to hear what we’ve been writing. Come enjoy an afternoon of delectable stories, poems, music, and refreshments.

What: Public ReadAround
When: Sunday, Dec. 4, from 2-4 p.m.
Where: Unity Plaza Community Room, 220 Riverside Avenue
Register: Register here

“Story creates an atmosphere in which truth becomes discernible as pattern.
When truth is told through the imaginative patterns of stories and poems,
we have a chance to be caught up and rewoven
into truth’s own designs.”
—Parker Palmer

Next Sampler Class

What: Finding Your Poetic Voice
When: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Unity Plaza Community Room, 220 Riverside Avenue
Register: Register here

Come spend a Wednesday evening in the company of interesting women in a relaxed and safe atmosphere. All are welcome. No writing experience necessary.

Read our Latest Newsletter

You can find out more about what we’re doing right here!

Finding Your Tribe

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Find Your Tribe in Our Community this Fall

Not long ago, a friend lamented that she had not yet really found her tribe, and longed for one. I so wanted to “fix” her by suggesting she join Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville. However, I must remember to MYOB (as Ann Landers used to say), and that WWf(a)C might not be for everyone.

However, if YOU are looking for a tribe, and you are OPEN to suggestions … perhaps you might care to join us? Here’s how to know if this community is right (a.k.a., “write”) for you:

  • You have a lot to say, and you need a healthy outlet for saying it
  • You’d like to be heard, without judgement
  • You enjoy writing, but don’t have much of a practice
  • You write all the time, but you don’t have a regular way to get feedback (other than “likes” in your FB feed)
  • You’d enjoy being anchored in a circle of supportive women
  • You’re in transition, and exploring new creative outlets
  • You’re an experienced writer who’d like to be stimulated by new techniques, ideas, resources, and people
  • You’d like to use writing to help you create a more “conscious” life for yourself

Actually, there are hundreds of reason you might enjoy being part of this tribe. So, I cordially invite you to give us a try this fall. We’ve got lots of ways to participate.

For starters, you can “take us for a test drive” during our Sampler class at Unity Plaza on Aug. 31. Or, take the plunge now and sign up for our Fall Series, starting Sept. 7, where we will be focusing on the theme of fiction (and non-fiction) writing techniques. Register here. Seating is limited, so register soon!

Or, if you’ve been through a big transition lately, and live near the beach, you may want to sign up for our 6-week Writing Through Transitions series in Ponte Vedra starting Oct. 13, focusing on using your journal to help you walk through this challenging time. You can register here if you want us to to hold your spot.

Plus, there’s our Art + Soul Retreat on Nov. 5, a one-day workshop where we will write, collage, share our work, and eat — with food catered by Tres Leches. Activities include writing, mixed-media collage, SoulCollage®, and art journal-making. Register here.

Finally, we’re planning a Women’s Open Mic on Nov. 2, a “Write + Hike + Birdwatching” at Guana River State Park, and hopefully a new monthly series at the Downtown Library (more details soon). Plus, save the date of Nov. 12 for the Jax by Jax Literary Festival. We will be actively supporting the Jacksonville writing community again this year.

No matter where you are on your life journey, or what kind of writer you are, we’ve got a place for you in this tribe—if you want one. Our mission is:

  • “To nurture and celebrate the individual voice by facilitating supportive writing circles and by encouraging people to craft more conscious lives through the art of writing and the practices of community.”

We do hope you’ll join us.
—Jennifer Wolfe, owner
Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville

WWF(a)C, Jax, is one of six affiliate sites of the women-led, national organization Women Writing for (a) Change, founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently celebrating its 25th anniversary year.

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.

Support our ‘Beloved Community’

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1794571_405495376278257_7756953264744044148_nDo join us! It’s our twice-annual Public ReadAround, in which the women writers from this past semester choose one piece to read out loud to the larger community.  Friends, family, and all other interested folks are cordially invited to join us as we hear the women raise their voices and tell their stories, in the brand new community room at Unity Plaza!  The ReadAround will run from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 16.  Register here (on Meetup) or here (on EventBrite).

A Silent Auction will support our Scholarship Fund to sponsor a seat in our regular circles or our outreach programs.  Currently we are offering writing circles to female inmates at the Community Transition Center, among other programs.  Here’s a small sample of what they are writing about:

When Have You Loved Wide Open?

When I had my two sons, A. and D., is when I learned to truly love wide open. Holding them in my arms after they were born has been the two proudest moments in my life. I grabbed onto them and never wanted to let go. They are the most precious things in my life. No matter where life may take them, I will always be proud of them and love them. Children are a blessing from God. I love them unconditionally and nothing could change that. If we only get to love wide open once in our life, we should feel blessed to have had that chance. It takes a lot for me to trust and to love someone, but with my boys it came naturally. It’s a love like I’ve never known before. A love that comes so easily. A love that is so pure and true. I couldn’t ask for a better gift than a child’s love: The way they look up at you and smile, or their little hands being held up in the air for you to pick them up and hold them, or a simple “Mommy, I love you.” I remember rocking my boys to sleep until they were 4 years old. I never wanted to put them to bed. I wanted to hold them all night. They may be 19 and 21 now, but they are still my babies. And I’ll never let go. They are my reasons for living and what keeps me going. I thank God for them every day. They are my two most precious gifts in life.

—T.F.,  based on a prompt from Marge Piercy’s poem, “To Have Without Holding”

We’ll hear more stories like these, plus we’ll be able to peek at the Collage Books assembled by participants in our Art + Soul Series. All semester, we’ve been writing to the theme of “Cultivating our Inner Garden,” and the resulting words and artwork have been both beautiful and inspiring.

Do join us to support these writers and perhaps to consider how you might want to become part of what Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to as our “beloved community.”

To Have Without Holding

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch ; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can’t do it, you say it’s killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.

— Marge Piercy

What’s MY Passion?

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Part Two of Three

So, if my friend Evan, at 10 years old, already knows his passion, it begs the question: What’s MY passion?
Let’s see.

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The bluebird appears on the old nest box.

Yes, I also love gardening.
And bird-watching.
And ballroom dancing
And singing on my ukulele.
And of course, I love writing, especially women writing, especially Women Writing for (a) Change.

But, if I had to say it in one word, my current passion is, “change.” That’s pretty funny, since it’s also the thing I fear the most!

Example: About 10 years ago, my family and I were rafting on the Nantahala in North Carolina. (Of course, the river is a great metaphor for change.)  In the photo snapped at the end, the look on my face as we are about to descend into white water is pretty much pure terror.  BUT I made it through.  And since then, I’ve learned to love the tumult, knowing there is smooth water just around the bend.

I do love to see how things evolve, and grow, and shift, and transform.

In fact, I now believe passionately that change is necessary, and that it begins, first and foremost, with ME. If I want to change the world, all I have to do is make one small, tiny shift, and that changes everything. Here’s what I do know about chemistry, dear Evan: If you change one variable, the entire composition changes and creates something new.

It’s alchemy.
It’s magic.
It’s a miracle.

Like the way my garden is currently transitioning, from winter brown to bright green.
Like the way my son is transitioning, from “car pool kid” to “new driver.”
Like the way my daughter is transitioning, from high school student to college student.

I’m not sure how it’s all going to turn out, and I am even biting my nails a bit as I look ahead to the tumult. Nonetheless, I am passionately glad to be in the middle of it.

Next entry: Inspired by PechaKucha Night in Jacksonville: What’s THEIR Passion?