What I Learned From Writing in Circles of Womenby Shayne Case, Thursday Morning Fall Workshop, 2016
Do not wear mascara - unless it is waterproof or unless I am really okay with black rivulets connecting my eyes to my chin.
If my voice isn’t feeling a little shaky when I read out loud, chances are I missed the truth somewhere in describing the territory around the truth.
My pretty writing doesn’t satisfy my hunger. I feast on the grit of raw, vulnerable, honest writing.
It is important to read with spaciousness and pauses. The quiet in between the words might tell me more about the story than the words themselves.
Eat a good protein rich meal before writing. Avoid caffeine. The adrenaline from truth telling is enough to fuel a rocket - anything more and I’m falling off chairs.
Aim for the things that feel unsettled, unresolved, and misunderstood. Reporting on what already happened is not as alive as the adventure of discovering something new.
In 2003, Emily Trinkaus began a series of writing workshops based on the Amherst Writers and Artists method developed by Pat Schneider and now used in writing communities around the world. Emily had trained with Pat in Massachusetts, and then led writing workshops through Brooklyn Writers in New York. The following year, Emily began facilitating her workshops through Portland Women Writers (PWW). In subsequent years, as PWW began to expand its scope and audience, Jenn Lalime, Dawn Thompson, Rhea Wolf, Ali Thacher, Jennifer Sprinsteen and Sidra Quinn began leading workshops as independent facilitators.
When facilitators step away from PWW it is often to pursue further creative goals. In 2010, Jennifer and Ali left PWW to create Portland Writers, a complementary organization offering both women-only and co-ed groups. Rhea Wolf and the exciting astrology-based work she is doing can be found at www.rheawolf.com. In 2014 Sidra Quinn stepped away in order to follow new and exciting creative goals. Learn more at: www.thestorytemple.com.
Dawn Thompson has been with Portland Women Writers since 2008 and currently oversees it. She and a growing number of other compassionate and creative facilitators currently offer a wide variety of writing workshops to the PWW community.
"What do I hope to get out of each workshop? Actually I am beyond hope - I am at a near-certainty that I will get wonder, pleasure, surprise, fun, challenge, companionship and inspiration." ~ D.L., workshop participant
Fundamentally, Portland Women Writers workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists method developed by Pat Schneider and described in Writing Alone and with Others. By offering a safe environment, these workshops support participants to find and express their authentic voice, access their creative power and build community with other women.
The foundation of Schneider's approach is the revolutionary notion that writing is "an art form available for all persons." PWW workshops draw from Schneider's "Five Essential Affirmations:"
1. Everyone has a strong, unique voice. 2. Everyone is born with creative genius. 3. Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level. 4. The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer's original voice or artistic self-esteem. 5. A writer is someone who writes.
During a Portland Women Writer workshop, facilitators offer inspiring prompts into the freewrite that spark creativity and encourage writing from our authentic voice. These doorways help the writer bypass the critical mind and go where they most need to go with the writing. The writer is also always welcome to disregard the prompt and write whatever she wants. We write for different time periods and always have a chance to share what we have written, although sharing is always optional. Sometimes we open the circle for non-critical feedback. We write by hand in order to connect ourselves more deeply with our body, breath and heart.
Writing is often a solitary practice. Writing in community offers us a chance to learn from one another as both writers and human beings. We witness each others' stories in a respectful, inspiring, uplifting environment. In this day and age of technology, social media and electronic devices Portland Women Writers consciously chooses to bring people together in the same space. We believe this real time human connection promotes health, happiness, authentic connection and a diminishment of isolation. The majority of our workshops are held in a participant's home. Having the opportunity to write in the beauty and comfort of a home environment is a treat for writers. It also gives us the opportunity to offer writing circles at different locations aross the metro area.
Paying for a Workshop
Our Philosophy At Portland Women Writers we try to keep our workshop prices low so that all women, regardless of economic status, have access to workshops, while still recognizing that the money paid supports the facilitators so they might be able to continue to do this important work.
We also offer partial-scholarships and payment plans for many of our workshops (for details, contact the workshop facilitator directly). We also have a strong, vibrant, caring community of participants who occassionally wish to provide full or partial workshop payment for women who may need additional financial support. If you'd like to contribute money towards another participant's workshop-either someone specifically or to those most in need, please contact us for instructions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Methods of Payment We accept both check and PayPal. If you'd like to pay with check, contact your workshop facilitator directly. If you would like to pay with PayPal, please let the facilitator know and she will send you all the information you will need. If you are signing up for a guest facilitator's workshop please check to see if she offers the PayPal option. Clicking on the website PayPal link will take you to the sign-in page on PayPal. Please, include the title of the workshop in the "comment" section of the PayPal screen. If you experience any issues or need addtional information about paying for a workshop, please contact us at email@example.com
Refunds All paid workshop fees are fully refundable with one week cancellation notice. After one week, a $40.00 fee is retained for administrative purposes for weekly groups and a $25 fee is retained for one-time workshops. This cancellation policy does not apply to retreats.
In a weekly group, if a participant must withdraw after the 2nd week, no refund is possible. Check with individual facilitator about using a portion of the fee for a future workshop. Also, if you are going to miss sessions in a weekly group, pro-rating is not available. Please, contact the individual facilitator for other questions regarding refunds.