Monthly drop-in sessions led by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew 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: Re-Imagining Gift
We like to say that accomplished writers “have the gift.” What if instead of talent the key to effective writing is the writer’s capacity to receive? And what if we reframe the final stage of writing (sharing, publishing) as passing this gift along? We’ll launch our fall spiritual memoir series by tracing the generous, life-giving energy that moves in, through, and beyond the creative process.
October: Re-Imagining Prayer
“The more we come alive and awake,” writes Brother David Stendl-Rast, “the more everything we do becomes prayer. Eventually even our prayer will become prayer.” By writing about our past, we wake up to what happened and are enlivened by the process—in other words, we pray. Together we’ll write memories of our experiences of prayer, explore the evolution of our thinking about prayer, read spiritual memoirs that include prayer, and write as a prayerful gesture.
*Sherrie Fernandez-Williams will be a guest writer at this session (see bio below).
November: Re-Imagining Loss
Writers cavalierly say there’s no such thing as a bad experience; there’s only good material. We’ll explore the redemptive dimension of writing—how revisiting memories of loss and hardship might not alleviate our suffering but can make of it a gift. How do we practice self-care and reader-care as we write hard memories?
December: Re-Imagining Revision
Revision—literally seeing with new eyes—is rewarding. But most of us come to revision with all sorts of mental blocks. Today we’ll revise our ideas about revision, exploring it as a form of play, as a means of listening, and as our central work as human beings.
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.
Sherrie Fernandez-Williams, author of Soft: A Memoir, is a recipient of an Artist Initiative Award through the Minnesota State Arts Board, a Beyond the Pure Fellowship and SASE/Jerome Grant through Intermedia Arts of Minneapolis. She was a Loft Mentor Series winner for Creative Nonfiction, a Jones’ Commission Award Winner through the Playwrights’ Center and was selected for the Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat. She’s published poems and essays in various literary journals including Aquifer: The Florida Review, Wrath-Bearing Tree, Segue and will be in a forthcoming issue of Serendipity. Her work is also featured in the anthologies The Poverty and Education Reader and How Dare We Write. Fernandez-Williams discovered her need for words in Brooklyn, New York, where she was born and raised, but she “grew up” as a writer in Minnesota.
This Program’s Calendar Entries
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