Space for Ourselves: A Writing Group for People Living with Illness (in progress)
Writing about deep and difficult aspects of life not only offers fresh perspective and meaning; research shows writing is also good for our health. In this writing group, leaders Carol Henderson and Allison Harrison will guide participants through a series of writing exercises–designed to help group members turn inward for wisdom, draw on existing literature as inspiration, and gain fortitude. We will all write about self-care, the new “normal,” what illness can teach us, illness as metaphor, feeling “other,” and listening to our bodies. This group provides the unique opportunity to be part of a community where we care about each other but take care of ourselves. Sharing is optional. You don’t have to consider yourself a writer to participate. Sponsored by Project Compassion, a 501(c)(3).
I’m delighted to be co-leading this group with Allison Harrison (left), a community social worker and writer who is herself a bone marrow transplant survivor. She completed her Masters in Social Work and Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she also received Honors in Creative Writing as an undergraduate. Allison has worked on many issues of social justice and healing, including sexual violence prevention and survivor support, HIV prevention education, and support for people with serious and chronic illness.
The group will work toward a reading at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, on Sunday, March 16th at 3 pm. Open to the public. Hope to see you there.
Nonfiction Writing Workshops
My winter nonfiction writing workshops started in mid-January. Please email me if you’d like to be on the wait list for the next series.
Writing Toward Healing
Staring Saturday, February 22, I’m offering another series of Writing Toward Healing Workshops at the Hospice and Palliative CARECENTER in Winston-Salem, N.C., sponsored by Project Compassion and The Inavale Foundation. Workshops meet each Saturday, 9:30 – 12 pm. They are free and open to adults grieving a death-related loss. Registration is required. To register: Call 336-768-6157, ext. 1600.
Short Takes on the Self: A Writing Workshop
A weekend writing workshop in Durham, N.C., for writers of all genres and all levels of experience. Through carefully selected prompts, we will explore watershed moments, life themes, and the evolution of our sense of self. Plumbing memory, dreams, and point of view, we will use what we unearth to write more deeply, find far-reaching meaning, and create compelling stories and essays. Come prepared to write a lot and to be changed by what you discover. This workshop is sponsored by the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South, but open to both men and women, and not limited those in ministry. Friday, March 14, 2014, 7 – 9 pm; Saturday, March 15, 9:30 – 3:30. Fee: $125. Register online here. Or download a mail-in registration form here. For more information, contact Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South firstname.lastname@example.org
Farther Along: Writing Toward Reflection, Self-Awareness and Healing.
On Saturday March 22, I’ll be offering a daylong writing workshop in Winston-Salem, NC. 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. This workshop will explore how writing can help manage the pain of grief by awakening new personal awareness and offering transformative shifts in perspective for yourself and others. Designed for community members and professionals touched by grief and bereavement and for anyone who is interested in reflective writing. Sponsored by Wake Forest School of Medicine and Northwest AHEC.
Click for more information and to register.
I’ll be co-leading a Group Leadership Training for Amherst Writers and Artists, April 29 – May 3, Mebane, NC. Click for more information on AWA and to learn more about the training.
Focusing on Form
This coming June, I’ll be back at Meredith College, teaching in the Focusing on Form program. Date: June 23-27, 2014. Contact Ashley Hogan for more information and to register: email@example.com
WriteGirls Summer Camp
I’m looking forward to offering another WriteGirls Summer Camp again in July. WriteGirls is an intensive writing experience for teenage girls. For more information, contact Biz Presler-Marshall: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshops and Events from 2013
The Powerful Narrative: A Writing Workshop
My husband Bill and I had a terrific group of writers at Wildacres Retreat Center in September for our fourth Powerful Narrative Writing Workshop retreat.
Mining for Gold: Journaling into a Deeper Life
This year I added new prompts, new support materials to Mining for Gold: Journaling into a Deeper Life, my premiere journaling workshop. Here’s the workshop description: “Keeping a journal is one of the most productive of all methods for reconsidering our world, preserving our experiences, and exploring our deepest selves. On the pages of a journal we can let our inner voices reign while we develop our writing skills. It’s through this kind of “deep diving” into creative projects that we find ways to tell our own life stories. Experience first-hand how journals can help us come to terms with our pasts, discover joy in the present, and transform our futures. Unlocking the full power of this multi-purpose tool, we’ll explore memory, point-of-view, dreams, life chapters, character portraits, poetry, dialogues with aspects of ourselves, and more. We’ll acquire new techniques to enliven our writing with fresh, new ways to view our lives and creative selves. And as always, since the emphasis is on process, not product, come prepared to write.” (Meredith Colloge, June, 2013)
Farther Along: Writing Toward Reflection, Self-Awareness, and Healing
I was happy to have a combination of funding sources making this symposium possible. It was a “joint production” of Carol Henderson Workshops LLC, Project Compassion, Duke Health and Home Care, Heartland Hospice, Hospice of Wake County, Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church, Sandra Jarr, and the Inavale Foundation. The workshop led participants to explore the ways writing can help manage the pain of grief–by awakening new personal awareness and offering transformational shifts in perspective in oneself and others. It was a day-long symposium for both lay people and professionals. (May, 2013).
Farther Along: Symposium, Readings, and Panel Discussion
A 2-session symposium held in Salisbury, N.C. Some of the women who are part of the Farther Along Group gathered with participants to write in the morning session and later, for readings and a panel discussion in the afternoon. Phyllis Keels of Salisbury wrote about the symposium: “The exercises, at first blush, seemed easy, but they were so much harder than I thought. Hard in a good way. They helped me process aspects of my daughter’s death in a new and healing way. Thank you for doing what you do. You are making a difference in people’s lives–namely mine.” The symposium was sponsored by The Michael Yang Foundation and hosted by the Literary Book Post. (April, 2013)
Sandra Rogers (left), checked out Farther Along from her local library five times. On her left is Beverly Burton, a member of our Farther Along Group, who organized the Salisbury symposium.
Those Who Shape Us
Good narrative writing begins with good characters. Those Who Shape Us: Character Portraits of the Important People In Our Lives, held in Raleigh, N.C., was an intensive, hands-on workout in how to create full-blooded portraits of friends, family members, mentors, and ancestors, those we love, miss, admire––and even those we hold in awe, fear, or even condemn. (April, 2013)
Writing Toward Healing: A Weekend of Writing Workshops
April 12 – 14 in Richmond, Virginia. Sponsored by Noah’s Children
Creating Stories to Keep
A good story, like a good garden, cultivates the “wild permissiveness of the inner life” (poet Stanley Kunitz). In this two-day workshop, Creating Stories to Keep: Unearthing the Secrets of Powerful Narrative, we learned to give voice to our own wild inner lives through a series of craft exercises. The process allows us to pull stories out of us we had no idea were there, and learn to mold them into narratives with energy and momentum. Sponsored by RCWMS.
Selected Events from 2012
Reflective Writing for Psychologists
Care Net Counseling invited us to offer a mini symposium as part of their annual meeting, at Winston-Salem. In attendance were all the psychologists and staff from the organization. Kathy Shoaf, a member of our Farther Along Group who had sought counseling through Care Net, told the 100 assembled attendees about her family’s positive experience working with Care Net. I led the assembled staff and psychologists in several writing exercises for their own personal enrichment and to use with their clients. We ended the afternoon with a panel discussion featuring members of our group on the role of writing in our healing journeys.
On Saturday, November 10, I led the second of two morning workshop at Hospice of Winston Salem, 9:30 – noon. We’re planning to offer a series of workshops again next fall.
On Sunday, November 11 several of us from Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers, read at McIntyre’s Books, in Pittsboro, NC, at 2 pm. We had a lively discussion after the reading.
I led an all-day symposium,”Farther Along: Writing Toward Healing” at Hospice Support of Fauquier County, Inc. VA, on Saturday, November 3. The symposium was based on principles I’ve written about in my book, Farther Along: the Writing Journey of 13 Bereaved Mothers.
Maritta Gotz and Gil Brooker of Hospice Support organized a seamless day in a beautiful venue. We all enjoyed the writing and readings. Special thanks to the women from our book, Farther Along, who helped out and sat on a panel about the role of writing in their healing journeys: Betsy Anderson (she lives nearby and initiated the workshop), Dottye Currin, Kay Windsor, and Peggy Clover.
Our generous sponsors included: Fauquier Bank, Randy Minter, Moser Funeral Home, Village Flowers, and Harris Teeter.
Friday-Sunday, October 26-28, 2012
I taught at a writing retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, for a privately invited group of women. We had a glorious time. This weekend the place will be covered in snow.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
I led an all-day “Writing Toward Healing” workshop in Richmond, Virginia, sponsored by Noah’s Children.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I moderated a panel discussion at Hospice in Winston-Salem, on the benefits of reflective writing. The panel included members of the writing group I’ve led for the past 10 years–the women featured in my book, Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers.
Friday, October 12, 2012
I led a similar panel in Charlotte, NC at KinderMourn
Saturday, October 13, 2012
I was back in Winston-Salem, at Hospice to lead a morning writing workshop, this one open to anyone suffering the loss of a loved one.
As these workshops continue, I hope you can join us. I will be listing future events here on my website. And be in touch if you’re interested in hosting a writing event in your community.
More updates soon!