Sample Workshops

LIFE STORIES: Memories of Love, Action and Thought

“We are all the same, that is human, [but] in such a way that nobody is ever the same as anyone else…”

Hannah Arendt

Inspired by the work and thinking of 20th century writer and philosopher Hannah Arendt, and by Diving for Pearls, a book about Arendt by Kathleen B. Jones, this workshop guides participants as they write and share stories “to know precisely what the past was, to [explore] this knowledge and these memories, and then to wait and see what comes of knowing and [remembering],” as Arendt put it. Arendt believed strongly in living life in a way that is thoughtful and moral, even if it means taking risks, so that we are not simply “a leaf blowing in the whirlwind of time.”

Through writing prompts and facilitated exercises, along with a look at Arendt’s wise words, we will celebrate what Goethe called “life’s labyrinthine, erring course,” as our narratives “recall significant events in our lives by telling one story among many, so that they can live on.”

                                                              FINDING THE GOLDEN FLEECE: Writing Our Archetypal Journeys

What do heroic literary figures like King Arthur and Harry Potter, or real-life people like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe have in common? They all have a great story to tell. But it’s more than an exciting narrative: Each of them has been on an archetypal journey – a heroic exploration, full of adventure, fraught with risk, and ultimately rich with reward.  As they seek to find meaning in a complex world, these characters or people are changed forever by experiences peopled with mentors, villains, jesters, and other archetypes.  We’ll explore our own archetypal journeys as we reach for the “Golden Fleece” in our lives.                                                       


IDENTITY AND CULTURE ON THE PAGE: A Writing Workshop about Our Roots

Culture and tradition play a large part in shaping our individual and group identities.  This workshop, which draws upon cultural traditions, rituals and experience, provides an opportunity to write about who we are and where we come from – geographically, historically, and emotionally. Whether whimsical or wise, join in crafting written explorations that takes us back to our roots! 



 We can learn a great deal about other countries and cultures by reading stories written by the world’s great writers.  We can also tell our own tales of cultural heritage, family rituals, travel experiences and wish list adventures when we take time to reflect upon them through creative expression.   This  workshop includes reading and discussing selected short stories by such luminaries as Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwidge Danticat, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and others. It  also offers prompts for our own writing, both in workshop time and in “homework” assignments, to be shared voluntarily in when we meet. Come prepared to wish, wonder and write!


                                                            MAKING MEANING OF MEMORY --WITHOUT FALLING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE!

Memories provide insight into our lives and help us to understand who we are (and how we got that way).  They can offer meaningful triggers for writers in all genre, not just memoirists.  Often, however, writing from memory can lead us down a dark rabbit hole of introspection.  Take heart! As George Gershwin knew, “It ain’t necessarily so!”  This workshop focuses on our life experiences with rigor and honesty, but without falling down the dark hole of humorless self-absorption.  We will emphasize the funny side of things as we remember and reflect upon the loony world in which we live.          What could be better in this time of angst?  Come with ideas, memories, laptop or paper/pen, and a sense of the funny and absurd!


                                                                        Writing Our Way to Resistance!


“May you live in interesting times.” That well-known expression is relevant in many ways at a time in our history when raising our voices through artistic expression has become vital. Whether we paint, compose or literally speak out, giving voice to our feelings and values is necessary.  Writers do this by way of creative expression through fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction, including essays and commentary. This workshop provides an opportunity for writers at all levels to craft personal expressions of resistance in their own ways and their own voices.