“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust… Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” ~ e.e. cummings
The AWA way of facilitating writing workshops is unique and the outcomes are impressive. All of us who are leading workshops have seen people claim their voices, and their truths as they write in this method. I often hear the term “life-changing” when a series of workshops is over.
Recently I was doing a training in Hakomi, a method of psychotherapy, and I learned something that electrified me. One of the trainers quoted Dr. Bonnie Badenach, Ph.D., LMFT and a teacher of Interpersonal Neurobiology. She says that there are three basic questions each one of us is asking in any important relationship. “Are you there? Do you see me? Do you choose me?”
An AWA workshop provides the opportunity for those questions to be answered reliably in a positive way – sometimes for the first time in a writer’s life. The first, “are you there?” is answered in the way the group listens and responds. The AWA workshop participants and facilitator are present, alert and focused on each writer in turn.
The second question, “Do you see me?” is answered positively by the practice of offering back to the writer what has been heard – the impact that the writing has had on the listeners and the words and images that stay with us.
And the final question, “Do you choose me?” – which can also be framed as “Am I okay? Do you care about me (and my story)? Can I rely on you?” is answered positively by the way we only comment (in situations of writing on the spot) on what’s already strong in the story, what’s already working in the piece of writing.
When I am involved in a training for AWA, almost inevitably the question comes up from one or more participants: “I’m concerned that I don’t know enough about writing, or about literature to be a good facilitator.” And the answer I give is some version of, “You don’t have to be the most gifted writer in the room, but it will stand you in good stead if you are one of the best listeners.”
I am grateful every day for having found this meaningful work, and grateful to be part of this extraordinary community of gifted writers and listeners.
Professional Development and Writing Retreat
And on that note—the AWA Board are very excited to let you know that our community will have an opportunity to come together in person for the first time since the conference.
Our organization is holding an AWA Professional Development and Writing Retreat in October 2018 at the Bosque Retreat Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The details and registration will be up on the website shortly. Save the dates!
We’ll begin the evening of Friday, October 12, and finish Monday, October 15, just after lunch. This is an opportunity to share our expertise through presentations and panels, and also to write with others as a participant for a change.
Welcome these Tennessee trainees!
The training took place April 21 – 25 at The Fold in Fairview, TN and certified seven new AWA workshop leaders.
From left to right: Deepali Srivastava, Sarah MacIntosh, Matt Wertz, Maureen Buchanan Jones (in front, instructor), Holly Maddux, Melissa Czech, Diane Millett
Only three trainings remain in 2018
June 16 – 20 in Newton, Massachusetts
June 20 – 24 in Dexter, Oregon
August 31 – September 4 in Chicago, Illinois
If you’d like to attend one of our powerful, 40-hour trainings to become certified to lead workshops in the AWA Method, please click the button below.
Regional News: Retreats in NC
Coming up: June 16, 2018, 9:30 am—4 pm, at The Writer’s Cottage in Chapel Hill, NC
AWA-certified workshop leaders in the South are taking the first steps to build a regional network. Two one-day retreats will be offered in North Carolina to support workshop leaders in their leadership and their writing lives.
On June 16, we’ll gather at Elizabeth Hahn’s beautiful Writers’ Cottage in Chapel Hill. Then, on September 29, we’ll meet in beautiful downtown Asheville on the Lenoir-Rhyne University campus. Space is limited, so sign up early (registration is currently open for the 16th.) All proceeds go to AWA. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Twenty-two people is about a dozen more than fit really comfortably in our living room, but we were all happy to be there two weeks ago to help Jen Cross celebrate the publication of her quite wonderful book, Writing Ourselves Whole: Using the Power of Your Own Creativity to Recover and Heal from Sexual Trauma. Jen had invited me to write the foreword to the book, which I did joyfully. It describes a developed and tested methodology for using the Amherst Writers & Artists workshop method as a healing practice for survivors of sexual abuse.
Inkslingers in Ireland – Yoga and Writing Adventure with three fabulous AWA facilitators – Sue Reynolds, James Dewar & Kate Marshall Flaherty. Visit the Emerald Isle and let its literary history infuse your own writing with its magic.July 28 to August 5, 2018. Visit www.inkslingers.ca for more information.
Join AWA Affiliate Lisa Borden for Embodiment: Running and Writing Retreat, May 11-13, Ojai, CA. Using running and writing as our tools, we’ll explore knowing, trusting, liking, and enjoying our bodies. We’ll explore how to push ourselves, accept ourselves, and stay embodied as we pursue health, wellness, and wholeness. More info: https://bit.ly/2EfkME6