Writing Workshops

Storying All the Way Home: A Sacred Journey

2-The-Seventh

Stories are medicine. They have been since that time. The Ancients knew this and told stories – myths and folktales – to help light the way for their communities, and for their descendants. Us. The right story can heal us. The right story can show us where we are wounded and how to heal the wound.

In this 8-week online workshop participants will become familiar (again) with ancient myths, folktales, and fairytales, exploring their archetypal structures, the hero’s and heroine’s journey embedded in symbols and events, and the alchemical transformations that take place within them. We’ll use writing and our imaginations to enter into imaginal realms where we’ll take sacred journeys of our own, all the better to find the medicine we need to heal the present. To transform what ails us today.

No previous writing experience necessary. All are welcome to participate.

Participants can expect…

· A safe, nurturing container in which to explore personal, cultural, and global woundings
· To read (and watch) myths, folktales, and fairytales from diverse cultures including West African, South African, Chinese, Indian, Caribbean, English, Irish, Scottish, Native American, and many others…
· To become familiar with various forms of analysis including Jungian psychology
· To become familiar with the structure of the hero’s journey/heroine’s journey
· To write myths and fairytales that are medicine for these times
· To participate in weekly online conference calls in which we will discuss material, take sacred journeys of the imagination, write, and share writing and/or insights
· To receive feedback on writing generated throughout the workshop

 

Writing Down A Life: Beginning Memoir

Healing Hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Thirty years ago people who thought they had a story to tell sat down to write a novel. Today they sit down to write a memoir. Urgency seems to attach itself these days to the idea of a tale taken directly from life rather than one fashioned by the imagination out of life. –Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story

We have so many stories to tell. Without the telling of our stories, so much of our lives remain underground, unseen and untold. The telling of our stories allows us to bring those unseen parts of ourselves above ground and into the light, to make sense of what we have lived through – those experiences which have brought us to our knees, or lifted us to the sky, or carried us to hell and back. Those experiences which we have yet to explain to ourselves. We write so we can understand. So we can heal. So we can live new stories. What are the stories you have to tell? What are the stories that you must tell before you die? What are the stories that keep you awake at night? That make you laugh out loud when you remember them? That are calling you to make them visible to yourself and the world?

Explore your own life stories in Writing Down a Life, an 8-week online memoir writing course designed and taught by Helen Klonaris.

Over the course of two months, you will learn how to draw out the stories from your experiences, and use craft (character development, narrative structure, showing vs. telling) to give your stories a place on the page and in the world. You will do this through assigned readings and online discussions, writing exercises, the writing of one main memoir, group workshop, and substantive one on one feedback from the instructor of the course. This is an excellent course for beginning memoir writers.

This course is open to writers of all skill levels and writing backgrounds.

Here is what participants can expect:

In this 8-week course participants will learn

  • How to gather memories
  • How to show rather than tell
  • How to develop a strong narrative persona
  • How to find a narrative structure that works for your story
  • How to create meaning out of the chaos of our lives
  • How to give constructive feedback to other writers
  • How to become excellent editors of their own work

Participants will also be given tools to further their memoir writing in the form of

  • Appropriate readings on craft
  • Appropriate readings of published memoirs
  • Professional critique/feedback from the instructor
  • Resources/direction to aid in the publishing process

We will meet online through

  • Asynchronous postings on a designated class website
  • One on one Conference calls for feedback on your memoir drafts

Who should take this course?

  • Anyone who has ever been told, “Wow, have you ever thought of writing about your life?!”
  • Anyone who has survived a crisis/tragedy and wants to make sense of it for herself/himself and others
  • Anyone who has triumphed in some way over adversity and wants to celebrate her/his journey
  • Spiritual seekers who want to write about a journey with Spirit
  • Mothers who have stories to share about childbearing/losing children/raising children/the challenges of being artists and mothers/etc.
  • Fathers who have stories to share about raising children/losing children/the challenges of being fathers and husbands/single fathers/etc.
  • Persons of difference who want their stories to be told
  • Anyone seeking to make sense of their life, or some period of their lives that continues to haunt, frustrate, pain, or otherwise confuse them
  • Anyone seeking to know herself/himself through the creative act of writing
  • Anyone who has a memoir in progress and would like community and professional feedback to take their writing to the next level

For more information, write to helenklonaris@gmail.com.

 

 

A Light Through My Window: Writing the Spiritual Memoir

light in window

“Listen: open a window to God and breathe. Delight yourself with what comes through that opening.” Rumi

“Listen to your life.  See it for the fathomless mystery it is.  In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” ~ Frederick Buechner, Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation

Our experiences of the Sacred are at once our most real and our most mysterious. How do we know when we are in the presence of the divine? And how have our numinous experiences transformed us?

In this 8-week online writing workshop, we will bring our gaze to bear on our relationships to the Sacred, and to the journeys we have taken with the Sacred, through trials, tragedies, and triumphs. We will explore both the nature of our relationship to the Sacred, and our experience of the Sacred itself. We will consider how our relationship to the Sacred transforms our day to day living, from our intimate lives to our social interactions and ultimately, to the work we do in the world.

In this online workshop we’ll read published memoirs, poetry, and nonfiction that illumines the spiritual experience from diverse traditions. We’ll write weekly and discuss both craft and our spiritual journeys. We’ll work towards a rich and inspired portfolio of writings that tell your story of a personal relationship to the divine.

Who Should Take This Workshop?

  • Anyone who has experienced the Sacred
  • Anyone who has quarreled with God and survived to tell the story
  • Anyone whose relationship to the divine has helped them survive challenges, tragedy and/or loss
  • Anyone who experiences the Sacred in ways not appreciated by the mainstream
  • Anyone who considers herself/himself a mystic
  • Anyone who craves a deeper relationship to Spirit in their everyday life

 

For more information, or to register, write to helenklonaris@gmail.com.

 

cave-paintings
Ancient Rock Painting, Nevada, USA

Writing Down the Body – A Creative Writing Workshop

Our bodies are sites of rich and powerful stories. Some of them wet with grief, or rigid with rage. Others tremble with desire, or sing with delight. Everything we have lived has been experienced through our skin, our eyes, our ears, our bellies, our feet.

What stories does your body want to tell? What journeys does your body want to give voice to? What challenges have you overcome on those journeys, and what gifts did you uncover along the way? Who will you become as you give your body the freedom, and the right to speak?

In this 8-week online workshop, participants will be guided gently and soulfully through a variety of techniques to invite and coax the body to voice and to story. No previous writing experience is necessary.

Participants will be given and directed to

  • Appropriate books/readings on craft
  • Appropriate readings of published works of memoir and fiction
  • Professional critique/feedback from the instructor
  • Resources/direction to aid in the publishing process

We will meet online through

  • Asynchronous postings on a designated class website
  • One on one conference calls for feedback on your writing and process

Who should take this workshop?

  • Anyone who has lived in a body considered ‘different’, or ‘other’ by the mainstream
  • Anyone who is exploring, reclaiming, redefining their sexuality
  • Anyone who has experienced sexual abuse
  • Anyone who has struggled with, come to embrace their racial identity
  • Anyone who is exploring what gender means
  • Anyone who is challenged by disability
  • Anyone who is struggling with illness, chronic or otherwise
  • Anyone who is embracing being in their body, regardless
  • Anyone who has experienced birth or death through their body
  • Anyone who has experienced their sexuality as sacred
  • Anyone curious to know what their body wants to say…

 

For more information, write to helenklonaris@gmail.com.

Testimonials

“Helen, you created a very warm and welcoming atmosphere, a cozy virtual home, where we could gather to write down and share the stories of our lives.  In this home you also provided us safe spaces, sacred rooms, where we could bring and ruminate on all manner of things – from the deep kindlings within our hearts to the mundane musings of the everyday. You witnessed our journeys in a non-judgmental way and honoured us and them with sincerity. You listened attentively to our stories and heard in them both what we had written and what we had not. You accompanied us on our unique paths and provided individualised direction based on our needs and experiences. You encouraged, coached and cheered us on to growth and development in the craft and art of writing and gave us useful tools to assist us. You inspired us toward personal transformation and fulfillment in an environment of abundant grace.” -Desiree Johnson, Writing Down A Life Participant

“I was looking for a connection and a deepening of my path, but I really did not expect it to be so spectacular!” – Kathy Colman, Watering the Spirit Participant

“Helen, your program answered my call/search for growth. In the beginning I was shy and afraid that I was not good enough but you helped me to grow through that fear because your first comments allowed me to relax, feel safe, and from your words I was assured of not being judged. I saw that your intention was pure. You really want to help others heal, grow and achieve their goals.” –Tanya Hanna

“I absolutely loved the way that Helen facilitated this course! I think what I loved most was the fact that she was so respectful of our writing and that she found a way to critique each piece in a way that was helpful and honest, yet loving. Writing is such a personal thing, and when you are writing about your life, there are places that are raw. But Helen creates a space that allows for honest reflection because you know that you can trust her with your truth. I have never met her, but I get the sense that she is an incredible human being, and I really enjoyed the course.” -Claudia Arthur-Rolle

“I never knew this would be so healing, I am discovering something else with each assignment – life is wonderfully creating a tapestry speaking to me…revelations.” –Writing Down A Life Participant

“Helen … a few mornings I had the pleasure to spend with you… and it brought me more then I imagined. I was reminded that people need people, women need one another, and our stories need to be told and witnessed …. I thank you again, and look forward to more openings of our spirit.” -Agnieszka Christie, Watering the Spirit Participant

 

 

 

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