I was the recipient of a 2012 Minnesota State Arts Board

Artist Initiative grant to bring poetry and writing workshops

into a series of non-profit organizations.

 

My passion is to bring poetry that is dynamic, accessible and transformative

to those who do not usually read poetry or have been resistant to it

because they feel they do not understand it.

Besides sharing the joy of language arts, this project enhanced

the efforts of these organizations to help their clients heal,

discover new skills to work on problems,

create understanding, and add creativity as a tool for transformation.

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The grant enabled me to bring workshops into twelve organizations listed below. I wrote with 180 novice and experienced writers, from ages 14 - 76.

As I look back, I realize that writing together in these circles was healing for me as well. I wrote and shared along with the participants and although I honestly wrote about my own regrets, guilt, failures and sorrows, tried to always find the "shift": a change in perspective, ways I have become more authentic and more in tune with my vision of myself as a person, as a writer, as a mother and as a teacher and mentor. I had a revelation while writing at the heart support group at Abbot Northwestern Hospital. Because of one crisis after the other these past ten years, I felt I had no luck. But when I look back at my life, I see many moments of grace.

 

Witnessing these moments of shift or understanding has been grace and a gift for me. The writers at Harriet Tubman are women seeking shelter either from abusive domestic situations or trying to forge a new path off the streets. They began to share their stories and the secrets of their successes with each other for the first time after writing class. According to the Saint Paul Almanac director Kimberly Nightingale, the writers at Saint Paul Almanac became more creative, wrote with fewer cliches and with more honesty and deeper insights after our initial writing sessions. The writers at the Spiritual Memoir considered the questions that arose with fresh awareness. The writers at Pathways found themselves surprised and moved by realizations of their hearts' desires while the writers at Abbot wrote letters of gratitude to their hearts.

The youth at The Bridge found their voices and poetry flowed from their pens.

 

I am humbled and awed by the vulnerability and courage of these writers to find their inner guidance and inner truths and to be able to share them with strangers in a circle.

Past Workshops:

Shinge Creek Commons: Tea, Cookies and Writing with Wendy

Pathways: Care for the Caregiver (on-going)

Abbot Northwestern Hospital Heart Institute

Creative Writing Circle at Hennepin County Central Library

Creative Writing at Saint Louis Park Friends of the Arts

Writing to Heal: Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts

Writing Circles for Healing at The Wellstone Center

Saint Paul Almanac: presentation of Finding Your Story

to community editors: how to get started, generate story ideas, encourage others to share their stories, and bring your story

alive with details

Writing Circles for Healing & Growth for clients

at Harriet Tubman and at Cornerstone

These two organziations provide services for women

who have survived domestic violence and are seeking

to grow and heal. Writing is a way to express their

authentic voices, acknowledge their strengths

and look to a future without fear.

The Bridge for Youth: the vision is to ensure care to provide shelter and support, to reunite families whenever possible and when it is not,

to build independent living skills in young people.

Springhouse Ministry Center: Spiritual Memoir

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