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.
February: Art as Theft: Imitation Writing
Pablo Picasso famously said that all art is theft. We’ll test the boundaries of plagiarism by fearlessly borrowing gifted writers’ ideas, trying on a variety of voices, and imitating skillful techniques. Everyone who writes can participate in a conversation with other writers that transcends time and place. Join us for an afternoon of playful experimentation!
March: All My Relations
Our personal stories are intricately linked with the lives of our ancestors. Guest author Diane Wilson (bio below) will guide us to write the stories of those who have come before us, not as a simple family history but as a healing, sacred exploration of our own stories. She will also read excerpts from and discuss the writing of her memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, which traces her family’s ancestry over five generations.
April: Parts in the Whole: Form
Every bit of creation has an inherent, unique form—including our stories. We’ll experiment with structural possibilities for spiritual memoir, reflect on how form follows function in writing, and practice listening for emergent unity within the fragments of our memories.
May: Childhood, Revisited
Our spiritual journeys find their source and direction in our youngest years, when our first experiences indelibly marked us. How can we revisit early memories with compassion, curiosity, and humility?
June: Community and Revision
Stephen King says, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open”—but we can open that door slowly and deliberately. To conclude our season of celebrating community, we’ll explore life-giving ways to welcome others’ eyes as a means for re-seeing our work. How can we preserve our sense of safety, freedom, and exploration in the writing process while also sharing our writing? Might our memoirs help us foster sacred connections to others?
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.
Diane Wilson is a Minnesota author and Mdewakanton descendant. Her first book, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, retraces her family’s Dakota heritage across five generations and won a 2006 Minnesota Book Award. Her second book is Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life.
This Program’s Calendar Entries
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