Improve your Writing
"Genius is hidden everywhere; it is in every person, waiting to be evoked, enabled, supported, celebrated...Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's vision. Dickinson wrote Dickinson's. Who will write yours, if you do not?"
founder Amherst Writers & Artists
Click here to learn about online workshops.
Julie Mariouw leads writing workshops designed to help the writer bypass her/his inner critic; go directly to images, feelings, & memories; and tap into the healing power of writing. Julie creates writing prompts using metaphor, the senses, polarity and the physical body. Julie is an Amherst Writers & Artists Affiliate, and is certified to lead workshops in the AWA method.
Julie believes that:
Writing has unlimited power to heal.
Writing belongs to all people.
Each writer has a unique voice.
Writing in this workshop reconnects writers with their bodies & promotes physical healing.
Writing in this workshop increases sense memory & recall of prior life experience.
Writing in this workshop expands the imagination.
Writing in this workshop produces work that may not have been possible alone.
Writing in this workshop enhances individual healing.
Teaching of craft can be done without damage to the original voice/self-esteem of the writer.
A writer does not have to become personally vulnerable in order to write from the deepest places.
5 - 9 people in a Workshop.
8-Week Writing Workshops (now online using the Zoom platform).
Attention to craft is taken seriously, and offered through 1 - 20 minute writing exercises.
Writers, if they wish, read their work aloud
Comment only on what is strong and successful in the work.
All writing treated as fiction.
Writing that happens in the workshop is not discussed outside of the workshop.
Workshop leader writes with everyone else, establishing equality of risk and mutual trust.
"RITUAL, MEMORY, & PURPOSE
from The Healing Wisdom of Africa
by Malidoma Somé
"Ritual provides not only healing but also the recovery of memory and the reaffirmation of each individual's life purpose. How does ritual recover memory? When we focus our attention on the energetic aspects of individuals and of nature that animate and
motivate us, we become aware of images and emotional impressions that are unusual, extremely compelling, and as a result, captivating in terms of the amount of
attention they demand. Inside ritual and sacred space where energies are being woven, people's imagination and consciousness can be moved through time backward or forward. It is as if the awakened psyche is pulled toward those materials it was not able to recall otherwise. This is a shamanic journey, and it can be a very useful tool for entering these depths of time and space without actually having to expend energy and move physically. The kind of memory we are talking about here is something very personal, very compelling, and very transforming."
A WALK BETWEEN HEAVEN & EARTH
by Burghild Holzer
"Talking to paper is talking to the divine. It is talking to an ear that will understand even the most difficult things. Paper is infinitely patient. It will receive small fragment after fragment of a large network you are
working on, without you yourself knowing it. It will wait out decades for you to put together the first faint traces of your own code, a code you might have understood as a small child but which you're now gathering on a new level of understanding. The white paper is waiting. Each time you scratch on it, you trace part of yourself, and thus part of the world, and thus part of the grammar of the universe. It is a huge language, but each of us tracks his or her particular understanding of it."
"IMAGES & CREATIVITY"
from an interview in The Paris Review with Lynda Barry
"I believe that the arts are like an external immune system. I believe that they have a biological function. The fastest way I can explain it is that there is this brilliant
neuroscientist named V. S. Ramachandran, who wrote a book called Phantoms in the Brain. He was very interested in people with phantom-limb pain, and he had one patient who had lost his hand from the wrist down, but the guy's sensation was not only that the hand was still there, but that it was in a painful fist that kept clenching. Ramachandran built a box, with a mirror and two holes in one side. When the guy put his arms in, he saw the one hand reflected. When he opened the hand, he saw it open and it was like the missing hand was unclenching. It fixed his phantom-limb sensation.
That's what I think images do; that's what the arts do. In the course of human life we have a million phantom-limb pains---losing a parent when you're little, being in a war, even something as dumb as having a mean teacher---and seeing it somehow reflected, whether it's in our own work or listening to a song, is a way to deal with it."
"THE INTUITION THAT PROVIDES THE MATERIAL"
from The Soul Tells A Story by Vinita Hampton Wright
"The creative person inside you---the right side of the brain---needs a lot of space and understanding. He's sort of like the classic extravert who learns what he thinks by talking out loud. He spills information before it even makes
sense. And he's so expressive while doing so---just full of passion, emotion and energy. Forget about getting him to break down his thoughts and put them in order---he can't do it. That's why he needs his partner, the introverted editor, the quiet self that stands by and studies everything that's flying out of Mr. Personality's mouth.
You have to just let Mr. Personality have his say. You have to be quiet and let him ramble. The moment you get critical or start asking questions, his feelings will get hurt or he'll become irritated and shut up. So just stand by and listen and watch. Take notes but be quiet.
When you allow the creative flow to happen without interruption, what comes up from the well could be almost anything. It may be fraught with emotion---or not. It may be connected to your dream life. It may bring up forgotten memories or add details to memories you already have...For some reason the stream of consciousness cannot flow when the more logical thinking process kicks in.
...I can't stress enough that you can trust this flow. You can trust it because it is merely raw material; it is not the finished product that you're stuck with. Once you consider all your words raw material, you will be much freer to just write whatever comes. And you will also be much freer to do whatever you need to do with what comes.
...A lot of fear regarding your creative life will subside when you accept that the most wonderful stuff is in you already. It's there and waiting to be found."
"THE WRITER'S WORKSHOP"
from Writing Alone & with Others
"We write together---leader as well as participants---in response to a suggestion given by the leader. The leader's participation in writing and reading brand new work aloud is absolutely central to this workshop method. If the
Aug 11, '18 Writing Workshop
leader of a group stays safe, there is hierarchy, and the group members' safety is compromised. When the leader reads aloud, is honest about fear...the members of the group are empowered.
Writing together is an experience entirely unlike any that I ever had in elementary or high school, in college or graduate school...I don't know how to express the almost ecstatic experience that rather frequently happens when people write together and affirm one another's new work. There are so few places in our normal social lives where we are privileged to meet one another so vulnerably--to laugh and cry and laugh again.
Because there is no critique or discussion of first-draft work, we venture out with our words, often prefacing them by disclaimers, but daring to read them anyway, and hearing that they are accepted and respected. When we are funny, we get to hear the reward of our listener's laughter. Sometimes when we grieve, someone else weeps with us. We never discuss that work, not even to mention it at break over coffee and brownies. It belongs to the writer. But each of us has been heard and affirmed.
...When we write together in a workshop, we do not have time to revise or even read over to ourselves the words that we read aloud. To read under these circumstances is a powerful and sometimes emotional experience, both for the writer and for the listener. Our practice, upon hearing work that has just been written, is to mention 'what we remember, what stays with us.' This saves us from too much sweetness and the temptation to dishonest praise...I don't need someone to tell me my writing is good. I need someone to tell me, 'I see that kid putting the nickel in the jukebox.'
...Traditional teaching of writing has too often emphasized what is wrong. Most of us understand instinctively how to encourage and assist a child to do creative work. If a child brings you a picture of a bird in flight she has just drawn with a blue crayon, and you see that the left wing is hanging awkwardly down the page, but the right wing is soaring, you do not say, 'By the way, that crooked left wing looks really stupid.' You say, 'Oh, look! Look how that right wing is lifted by the air! I can just feel the flying!' The child looks at the picture, and what does she do? She goes immediately to her crayons and draws the left wing so it, too, soars."