By Mark Matousek, who will be presenting Writing to Awaken: Memoir as a Path of Transformation at Hollyhock on August 18-23, 2017.
Each of us is born with a unique gift, an authentic voice waiting to be heard. Regardless of the work you do–artist or housewife, bus driver or entrepreneur–this creative power is your genius. Once you learn to tap into this power, and tell the truth about who you are, your life can be transformed. Find your connection between desire, creativity, and spirituality, and how together they can be forces of productivity, self-awareness, and transformation.
Continue reading Awakening Genius (Podcast)
By Shaena Lambert, who will be presenting Going Under the Words: Creating Fiction and Memoir at Hollyhock on June 2-7, 2017. This essay originally appeared in Quill and Quire, December, 2013, The Last Word, and was reprinted in The Huffington Post.
Margaret Atwood says in Negotiating with the Dead that writers are like jackdaws (a European crow): “We steal the shiny bits and build them into the structures of our own disorderly nests.”
Collecting these shiny bits is an integral part of the fiction writer’s craft, but most writers, including me, are somewhat shamefaced and ambivalent about the process. What if these bits are woven out of other people’s secrets? Or pieces of skeleton from the family closet? There’s an almost physical urge to use the material that speaks to you, especially once it starts to grow on its own, putting out twitching root hairs, but you don’t want to expose or hurt other people.
Nadine Gordimer’s famous solution was ‘to write as though everyone you know is dead.’ But few writers have the chutzpah to do this, or the moral certainty. For most writers, collecting material has a more secretive, illicit quality. It is gathered in the dark, kept under wraps, then released, with a mixture of pride and guilt, in what one hopes is a sufficiently transmogrified form.
Continue reading My Crow Self
By Lynda Monk
Journaling and writing are powerful ways to get in touch with the stories and experiences in our lives.
“Each of the stories we tell and hear is like a small flicker of light – when we have enough of them, we will set the world on fire. But I don’t think we can do it without story. It doesn’t matter what community is in question or what the conflict appears to be on the surface, resolution and change will require people to own, share, and rumble with stories.” – Brene Brown
Sometimes connecting with our own story and creative self-expression can get put on the back burner, slip away quietly without us even noticing. One of the number one obstacles to journaling or writing for themselves that I hear my clients talk about is that they do not have enough time to write. Do you have this challenge too? Do you find it hard to carve out the time for your journaling (or personal writing practice)? Do you find it challenging to take time for yourself and your story? If so, you are not alone!
Continue reading The Five-Minute Journal Entry
By Albert Flynn DeSilver, who will be presenting Writing As a Path to Awakening in Vancouver on Oct 1-2, 2016
Writing in general, let alone a book, is a huge commitment. . .it takes inspiration, dedication, practice, and devotion. Below are a few ways to begin generating ideas and continuing along the journey.
1. Write about a time you made a scene in public, or at the very least over the phone, where you raised your voice, screamed, called someone names, or otherwise behaved inappropriately or obnoxiously in public.
2. Write about a time you were under or over dressed for the occasion. Describe the costume, the scene and situation, be as specific as possible. Continue reading 5 writing prompts and 10 steps toward book editing & book completion
By Mirabai Starr, who will be presenting Writing Your Story of Loss & Transformation in Vancouver on Nov 4-6, 2016.
At the end of October 2001, on the day my first book came out – a translation of Dark Night of the Soul by the sixteenth century mystic, John of the Cross – my fourteen-year-old daughter Jenny was killed in a car crash. Although I had been on a dedicated spiritual path nearly all my life, nothing could have prepared me for the descent into the transformational fire of grief.
Spiritual practices were for ordinary times. This was cataclysmic, and nothing less than radical truth would satisfy my anguished soul.
All the tricks I had learned on the path – which I had innocently thought of as methods – failed me. Meditation, chanting, reading sacred scriptures – they were not only inadequate for addressing my brokenness but they struck me as wholly inappropriate. Spiritual practices were for ordinary times. This was cataclysmic, and nothing less than radical truth would satisfy my anguished soul. The most radical truth I could identify was that there are no answers for the Great Mystery. All I could do as loss swept through the landscape of my heart was to sit in the fire of unknowing and allow it to burn.
And write. Write through the pain, write through the mystery, write through every one of the so-called stages of grief: denial (my child can’t really be dead); anger (it must be somebody’s fault); bargaining (if only); depression (I surrender to my sorrow); and acceptance (this is what happened, and now I must integrate it into the tapestry of my life). Continue reading Writing Through the Fire