Thu, Mar 28|
Live Online via Zoom
Self Care and the Senses: Mindful Writing to Heal (part I)
A 6-week Generative and Healing Writing Class with Erica Anzalone, MFA, PHD & Beth Brewer, LCSW, RYT
Time & Location
Mar 28, 2024, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
Live Online via Zoom
About the event
When writing about difficult or traumatic events, we must feel empowered to step into the richness of our sense memories without feeling like we are being swallowed by them. Mindfulness teaches us to be with whatever is present while still maintaining a sense of self-agency and choice. It can also help you to approach experience with curiosity rather than judgment. Opening to mystery invites a sense of discovery that can be exciting and meaningful to both the writer and reader. Most importantly to our class, mindful writing can be both a healthy and healing process with the right guidance and support.
Beth Brewer (LCSW, RYT) and Erica Anzalone (MFA, Ph.D.) will create a safe container for you to tell your story in a supportive community. Our primary textbook Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo applies both therapeutic methodologies informed by research and craft techniques from the field of creative writing.
You will walk away with:
- pages of new or revised work enriched by imagery and other craft techniques like metaphor, and balancing the positive and negative to create paradox as well as healing
- recorded guided meditations that will help you stay grounded in the present as you continue your writing practice
- an expanded sense of self-care based on activist and poet Audre Lorde’s original definition and a personalized list, which will also support your writing practice
The five senses are the bridge between mindfulness and creative writing. Beth will lead guided meditations at the beginning of class, and help us end the class mindfully as well. Erica will lead you through close readings of published works to examine imagery, as well as other craft techniques such as metaphor and paradox. Through generative exercises, you will have the opportunity to create vivid and detailed imagery from your life experience. Sensory detail is crucial in appealing to readers. It is also a key ingredient for a healing narrative or poem, as are other features we will be exploring.
Being witnessed in a supportive community can be an essential part of your healing process. Erica will provide positive feedback if you wish to share your writing. You can also choose to share and be witnessed without verbal feedback, or not to share. Beth will help us stay grounded throughout with mindfulness techniques that appeal to the five senses.
Additional takeaways include:
- knowledge of what makes a poem or narrative healing, and a potential structure for your own writing practice
- the opportunity to share your writing goals with an accountability partner
- eligibility to enroll in Mindful Writing to Heal II, in which we will begin to move from what DeSalvo calls the “germinating” phase to the “deepening” phase through workshop
This class is suitable for all levels and genres of writer, though we will primarily be reading creative non-fiction and poetry. Class size will be limited to ten.
We believe writing can be a radical act of self-care for anyone, and are excited to facilitate your healing journey!
COURSE DATES AND TIMES
We will meet via zoom for six consecutive Thursdays from 6-8pm EST:
Erica Anzalone (she/her) is a writer and educator with over eighteen years of teaching experience at the college level Her book Samsara was the winner of the 2011 Noemi Press Poetry Prize. In Samsara, she looks through a spiritual-historical lens at art, war, feminism, religion, and the body in extremis. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa and a doctorate in English from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where she was awarded a Schaeffer fellowship. Her work has appeared in The Colorado Review, Hotel Amerika, Cream City Review, Juked, Pangyrus, baldhip, Coconut, Denver Quarterly, The Literary Review, Greatcoat, Konundrum Engine Literary Review, Mary, The Offending Adam, Pleiades, Sentence, UCity Review, and elsewhere. Her second poetry manuscript explores the surrealism and simulacra of Las Vegas, and offers both a critique and celebration of American excess. She is also the founder and owner of Witch Lit.
Beth Brewer (she/her) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 2 decades of clinical and leadership experience. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern Maine, and a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College (where she and Erica were classmates!). Currently in private practice, she specializes in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and somatic hypnotherapy primarily in the treatment of mood disorders, anxiety and trauma. Beth has been teaching Yoga and Meditation since 2016.
She started her social work career providing outreach and education for a sexual assault support center, and went on to direct a community-based program providing services for high risk children and families. She continues to consult in the community mental health space for addiction treatment centers, adult case-management programs, and therapists who are becoming authors. Beth believes in the power of language, imagery and metaphor to transform our lives, and has witnessed time and again how impactful a simple shift in word choice can be on our healing. You can read more about her here.