Creative Writing Workshops 

with Julie Mariouw

Ann Arbor, Michigan

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.

                     Madeleine L'Engle

Julie 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 believes that:

  • Writing belongs to all people

  • Each writer has a unique voice

  • Teaching of craft can be done without damage to the original voice/self-esteem of the writer

  • Writing has unlimited power to heal

  • A writer does not have to become personally vulnerable in order to write from the deepest places

  • Writing in a group produces work that may not have been possible alone

The Workshops:

  • 5 - 9 people in a Workshop

  • 8-Week Writing Workshops/One-day Saturday Workshops/Online Guided Meditation & Writing Series

  • 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 talked about outside of the workshop

  • Workshop leader writes with everyone else, establishing equality of risk and mutual trust

 

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"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."

"RITUAL, MEMORY, & PURPOSE

from The Healing Wisdom of Africa

by Malidoma Some

"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 expand energy and move physically.  The kind of memory that we are talking about here is something very personal, very compelling, and very transforming."

"THE WRITER'S WORKSHOP"

from Writing Alone & with Others 

Pat Schneider

"We write together---leader as well as participants---in response to a suggestions 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."

2016 by Julie Mariouw