Monthly drop-in sessions focus on different aspects of writing spiritual memoir: themes that commonly arise, craft techniques, challenges and joys of the writing process, and practices for opening our work to the spirit’s movement. Sessions include writing exercises, examples from leading and emerging writers, lecture, and small group conversation.
To support individual writers and writing groups in the ever-deepening practice of writing spiritual memoir, time is included for participant questions.
September: Making Connections
Just as contrasts in flavor make an exciting dish, great writing often emerges when we bring together disparate subjects. We’ll experiment with this, conjoining memories from different eras of our lives and making leaps between objects and ideas, belief and doubt, narration and reflection. Making connections across difference on the page can strengthen our capacity to do the same in our lives.
October: Writing as Contemplation
In the city fields
Contemplating cherry trees . . .
Strangers are like friends
Contemplation, as the Buddhist priest and poet Issa illustrates, is a field of intimacy, and writing is one entrance. Guest writer Kyoko Katayama will share observations about writing as a mindfulness practice and lead us in writing exercises that encourage deep listening, responsive creating, and open-hearted becoming.
November: Embodying Holiness
Our bodies are trustworthy sources of memory and wisdom. Together we’ll write from our bodies, about our bodies, to our bodies, and with our bodies as a practice of welcoming the Spirit. We’ll also delve into sensory description as a literary technique that invites the reader deep into our experiences.
December: Becoming the Stranger
We use the metaphor of a journey to describe the soul’s path because the risks, challenges, and surprises of spiritual growth are so similar to travel. We’ll write memories of leaving home, visiting new landscapes, and becoming the stranger. We’ll also explore how and why writing becomes a spiritual journey.
Writing instructor and spiritual director Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew is the author of Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir; Living Revision: Opening the Writer’s Art; and many other books, essays, and short memoirs. Her work explores intersections between spiritual growth and the creative process.
Kyoko Katayama’s poems have appeared in Asian American Renaissance Journal and Intersecting Circles: The Voices of Hapa Women in Poetry and Prose, and an excerpt of her memoir-in-progress was published in Where the Tree Falls, the Forest Rises: Stories of Death and Renewal. She is a psychotherapist in St. Paul and a senior member at Common Ground Meditation Center.
This Program’s Calendar Entries
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