Tag Archives: Women Writing for (a) Change

Writing retreat

I am at my laptop the last evening of the writing retreat. I am not far from home although others are. Distance is a funny thing–it can be geographical or mental. Eleven women trained by Mary Pierce Brosmer as teachers in Women Writing for a Change practices are here at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center in Glendale, Ohio. It is a (usually) annual retreat. I missed last year so I was happy to retreat this year.
We begin and end in a large circle, just as we do in classes. In between writing and discussion we eat, are in small groups getting and giving feedback, did I say eat?, and conclude our evenings with wine and laughter. We share stories from our lives, joke, touch on Big Questions. Some of us have known one another for years, decades even. It’s a sisterhood on many levels. We have shared in ways you can when you are intentional on a retreat.
I really just wanted to have this experience documented–until the next retreat, I hope.

gratitude

I’ve been AWOL from my blog for a few weeks. I had a head cold for two weeks and realized, finally, that I needed to quit fighting it and allow myself to rest. The first thing I am grateful for is that it was just a cold and not allergies.

The second thing I’m grateful for is that I got to teach two classes this summer. One was an in person class at Women Writing for (a) Change. I taught the Wednesday morning summer class in our building in ‘the heart of Silverton.’ Of the twelve women, six were brand new to WWfaC. What a privilege to turn them on to the processes of this community. The other class was an online class through Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Ten women from all over the world gathered six Saturday mornings (EST) and shared fastwrites and readbacks. Amazing! Did I mention? I got paid, too! This summer proved the saying ‘Do what you love and the money will follow.’

I am also grateful for these past few days when we’ve had a glimpse of my favorite season — Fall. I have made excuses to be outside to feel the breezes. Life just feels good! I hope it does for you as well, dear readers!

how great to stay at home / poem 99

I got the phone call first thing this morning: no meal delivery today. The coordinator had a meeting and had the Thursday volunteers deliver Friday meals. Hurray! I was relieved for I’d awakened with that damned morning stiffness and had to prepare for the online class I’d be teaching Saturday morning.

So I’ve had a luxurious day focusing on the creative writing class I’ll be teaching/facilitating via Catherine of Siena Virtual College website. I’ll be using Women Writing for (a) Change’s processes [and giving full credit, of course] but we’ll hold our circle in cyberspace. I took backyard deck breaks, talking on the phone to several people. I read, had my decaf, looked at my mail. My friend Vic invited me to come over and hang out with her and Nick later, if I wanted but I’m content.

contentment

seems like such a boring word
but actually when you are really content,
everything is just right with your world

a special hour with 2 young women & poem 97

I spent an hour this afternoon recording a girl and a teenager from summer camps at Women Writing for (a) Change. They were both very special. While the teenager wrote mostly about her parents, with anger and love, the middle school girl wrote more upbeat stuff. Both will be posted on the podcast page of http://www.womenwriting.org. What I came away with is the power of women’s words, regardless of our age. I was especially amazed that these two, so young, knew themselves as well as they did and confidently shared with the world.

poem

you two are braver than you know.
sure, it was scary to see that microphone at first
but you went flying above it, shooting stars that you are.

preparing . . . & poem 94

Someone phoned me a little bit ago and said she hoped she wasn’t interrupting a 4th of July gathering. No, I reassured her. I told her if I sounded a little out of it it was because I was still ‘in my head.’ I’d been on the computer, thinking, and writing much of the afternoon.

This, to me, was a rich and blessed day. I have plenty of friends and family if I had wanted to track down a social gathering for the holiday. No . . . I was using my time to prepare for an online class I’ll be teaching next week. Ten women from all over the world will share words online in real time. I look forward to seeing what this experience will be like. A year and a half ago, Karen T. Waters (Portland, Oregon) and I created the first online class using Women Writing for (a) Change processes through Catherine of Siena Virtual College. She’d then taught a class. This time I’ll be the teacher. While it is exciting, it is also a challenge.

poem

women from different perspectives
sharing our stories online
what an honor to be holder of this circle

my 100th post / poem 76

It’s hard to believe I have written 100 pieces since I started this blog. I had a blog elsewhere several years ago but bought a house, retired, and sold the old house, making me too busy to tend to a blog properly. This time I’m inspired. Part of it is my challenge of writing a three line poem a day for 108 days. I got this idea from Puerhan via Twitter (see blogroll on the right for his blog). Part of it is being in a writing class regularly at Women Writing for (a) Change. I’ve been a student in Kathy Wade’s Tuesday morning class several quarters now. I am lined up to teach the Wednesday morning summer class. I am also lined up to facilitate an online writing course through Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Even getting onto Twitter for brief 140 character conversations counts. I am definitely attracting writing opportunities into my life!

poem

writing on a regular basis
is one way to keep in touch;
the pen or keyboard acts as a lightning rod.

release of rain after the readaround / poem #62

The Tuesday morning writing class at Women Writing for (a) Change had a good turnout for our public readaround. We had a great time sharing some of our writing pieces from the quarter.

I noticed a theme of humor this time. Sure, there were pieces that mentioned abusive relationships, dementia of parents and partners, and other sad realities. But, overall, there was a lot of laughter. I read my blog post on “Comedy as a Cosmic Act.” I’d like to publicly proclaim: I love my small group!

poem

rain is attacking the tender lettuce leaves outside in my garden.
thunder is causing my shepherd to bark with crazy bravery.
i sit here with a pleasant sigh after a morning well spent.

a podcast with Sylvia, along with Poem #32

I just finished listening to the podcast I hosted with Sylvia Meek, a fellow student in the Tuesday morning class of Women Writing for (a) Change. Sylvia is quite inspiring! She had a career as a speech pathologist; she and her husband Henry had adopted a little girl; and Sylvia is a polio survivor.

When the usual host, Mary Pierce Brosmer, was unavailable, my sister podcaster, Annette Januzzi Wick, suggested in a moment of inspiration that I give it a try. After all, Sylvia and I had a connection:  we had been in class together for several sessions and in the same small group twice in a row. I thought, why not? I’d been the interviewee in the past, why not try the other role?

What made it work was thinking of it as a conversation for it was — a conversation with Sylvia about how she’d found Women Writing for (a) Change, what her life had been about up to now, and a sharing of some of the pieces she had written. I was familiar with most of them so this helped. I tried not to let the microphones and the women recording in the corner of the room distract the two of us from the intimacy we were sharing.

Poem #32

how it feels to be free
sharing in a room filled with women
knowing our words will be heard around the world

http://podcast.womenwriting.org/2009/04/21/how-it-feels-to-be-free-with-sylvia-meek.aspx

spending the day creatively, Poem #27

I spent a working day over at The Writing Hall, as some of us at Women Writing for (a) Change call the school’s building in Silverton. I am a student in the Tuesday morning class, newly into Spring Quarter. The class is largely returning writers interspersed with a handful of new ones.

Today we made altars to share something of ourself. The problem? I forgot. All but C. and I dutifully brought objects meaningful to us to display in whatever corner of the room we could claim as our own. I assured C. (a fellow Aquarian, by the way/did that make us spacier?) that we likely had items with us that could quickly be made into an altar.

So it was. I took my mala, a book on the Divine Mother just given to me by Jenny as I walked into class, took out my library card and PetSmart card (to show I love reading and animals), and borrowed a few stones and a flower from the center cloth of our class circle. I wrote a note saying how I had forgotten about bringing items for my altar but would honor this practice of spontaneity that lay before me. It worked! We left notes, if we chose to, and I got positive feedback on my experiment.

After class, Jenny Stanton and I prepared for the podcast with Dawn, a sister student. We fired up the laptop, brought up Garage Band, plugged in microphones, tested them, and were ready for Mary Pierce Brosmer, founder of the organization, to interview Dawn Diebold about her writing, plus Dawn would read several of her pieces.

I, the one recording (more officially known as ‘technical producer’) have the privilege of a sneak preview of the podcast before it is posted online. Now that I’ve recorded half a dozen times (thanks to my mentor, Annette Januzzi Wick!), I can actually relax enough to enjoy the process — as well as the creativity involved. Yes! to spending my Tuesday doing what I love — creatively so.

Poem #27

creativity is not always words,
it can show itself in the untangling of microphone cords
and the tracking of sound waves on a computer screen.

http://www.womenwriting.org/PODCASTS.html

Last class ~ and Poem #6

Today ended the Winter Quarter of the Tuesday morning Women Writing for (a) Change class. As I wrote on my ‘Soul Card,’ I wasn’t feeling much separation anxiety because I knew I would be seeing most of the women in a few weeks — for next quarter’s class. There are so many women I’d like to be in small group with. This class had some excellent writers & excellent people!

So let this set the context for Poem #6 in my planned series of 108 mala poems:

Endings are not simple yet they
inevitably lead to new beginnings;
for this I know and am relieved.