Thursdays, April 20, April 27, and May 4, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 pm
Imagination is necessary for creativity, compassion, human connection, and our relationship with Mystery. In this three-part series, Susan Power will share excerpts from her novel, Sacred Wilderness, offer insights from a Native worldview in which faith, practice, and imagination work in unity, and lead us in using our own sacred imaginations through conversation and fiction-writing exercises.
In fiction, the trail markers of what happened don’t exist. The writer must step bravely into the wild, having faith that imagination will provide what’s needed to make meaning. It’s an exercise of trust, deep listening, and active creation. Writers Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew and Elizabeth Fletcher will join Susan Power in leading this exploration of fiction writing as a spiritual practice.
Session One: Entering the Sacred Wilderness. We’ll learn about the inspiration for and birth of Sacred Wilderness. How does a novelist come to trust an inner nudge enough to begin writing? Or how do you know when a story has chosen you? When characters appear, how does the author know they’re worth heeding? Why might this creative impulse be an act of faith?
Session Two: Romping in the Wilderness. Together we’ll explore how the process of writing fiction can be a form of deep listening and a means of acting on faith. How can our imaginative play become a way of participating in the Spirit’s movement? How do we encourage a story’s inner life to reveal itself?
Session Three: Trusting the Wilderness. Resistance inevitably arises during the creative process. When things are hard, how do we know whether that’s a message to stop or to trust our deeper impulses regardless? What do you do when inner wisdom doesn’t reveal itself quickly or easily? What motivates you to continue when your imagination seems to have forsaken you or when external forces deny the significance of this work?
Susan Power is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe who teaches in the American Indian Studies Department at the University of Minnesota. She’s the author of three books, The Grass Dancer (winner of a PEN/Hemingway award), Roofwalker, and Sacred Wilderness, a novel that brings together four Clan Mothers across chasms of time and culture in order to bring foundation to a contemporary woman floundering in the wilderness of soulless materialism.
Writing instructor and spiritual director Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew is the author of Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir; the forthcoming Living Revision: A Writer’s Craft as Spiritual Practice; and many other books, essays, and short memoirs. Her work explores the intersections between spiritual growth and the creative process.
Elizabeth Fletcher holds an MFA in Writing from Hamline University and is working on a memoir that follows her search for a spiritual home by way of Guatemala. Her writing has appeared in The Literary Bohemian, Sea Stories and Confrontation.