Writing Ourselves Whole

restorying our lives ~ October 2011
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Hello Writers and Friends!

There're so many changes happening around these parts that I don't want to take much time up front here -- I'm ready to dive in! I think that's the Fall talking, though: for me, Fall means new beginnings and new possibilities. That's the start of a new school year still singing in my bones -- amazing how those routines live in us, even long after school-house days are over.

I am holding space and energy these days for those engaged in deep transformational work, including everyone who is putting any energy into the Occupy WallStreet protests, and the similar protests that are pushing up and together in places all around this country. This is a major movement, the voices of thousands saying, together, in solidarity, Not Anymore. Not In My Name. The people standing up, putting bodies and voices where only silence and complacency has been allowed. This is necessary work -- as are the transformational processes that you're engaged with. We are fully in the struggle, and I'm holding thoughts of peace and justice for all cultural workers around this little planet.

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Here's what's coming up for Jen and Writing Ourselves Whole:
  • This Wednesday, October 12: Guest facilitating The Art of Queer Parenthood at Femina Potens  
  • This Saturday, October 15: Writing the Flood (Berkeley) 
  • Also Saturday, October 15: The LitQuake LitCrawl!  (I get to join Carol Queen, Gind De Vries, Marlo Gayle, horehound stillpoint, Allison Moon and Robert Lawrence for the Good Vibrations reading at the Women's Building during Phase II!)
  • October 19-23: I'll be attending the the Tomales Bay Workshop (thank you so much for helping me to get there!)
  • October 26: Erotic Reading Circle    
  • November 1: Last day to submit your writing to the Erotic Reading Circle Call for Submissions!
  • November 12: Reclaiming our Erotic Story (Sacramento)
  • November 13: Write Whole: Survivors Write (Sacramento)
  • November 15: Conversations with Writers (UC Davis) -- Erotic Writing as Liberatory Practice 
  • November 19: Writing the Flood (last one for 2011 -- we'll take a break in December)
  • November 23: Erotic Reading Circle 
  • Coming January 2012: Two new workshops!
    • Bayview Writers -- a safe, supportive creative writing workshop for Marin! Tuesday mornings (for women) and Wednesday evenings (open to all). Watch the Calendar for more information!  
    • Also, I'll be beginning a project-focused workshop, for those in the middle of (or ready to commit to) a long-term project: novel, memoir, story, essay or poetry collection, play, script or other big project, this group will provide support, coaching and writing time. An 'advanced' group for those ready to dive deep into your craft.   
    • In addition, of course, Write Whole: Survivors Write begins its Winter '12 session in early January. I'm currently reformatting the Declaring Our Erotic series, and will share more information about that group soon! 

Whew -- I hope I'm not forgetting anything! Read on for more information about all of the above -- and if you haven't seen it yet, I'm re-printing the call for submissions for the Erotic Reading Circle anthology! I'm so excited to be a part of this project with Carol Queen and Amy Butcher -- it's going to be a fantastic book, and if you've ever shared your work at the ERC, you can be a part of it.  


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Stay in touch with us at the writing ourselves whole blog (remember, I share writing prompts several times each week on the blog -- come on over and join us!) and on Facebook.  


I'm so grateful to participate in this community of writers and transformers with you --


Keep writing, ok?

All best to you!  

P.S. So many thanks to Renee Garcia, who's been helping me mightily these days!

P.P.S. Please forward this info to anyone you think might be interested in these sessions or topics. And feel free to reply to me with any questions or comments you may have.

writewithusCome and write with us!
image of a fountain pen and elaborate cursive writing
photo by thoschi, creative commons license


Every third Saturday, 1-4:30pm
(unless otherwise noted) 

October's group meets on 10/15


Writing The Flood is a writing group for anyone looking to prime the writing pump: using the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we will write together in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories, poems, essays, images and voices that have been stuck inside for too long.  This is a time to work on a larger project, get started on new work, play on the page, or write yourself through a block and back into your writing voice.

Unless otherwise noted, this workshop meets on the third Saturday of the month. $50 (with a sliding scale) Limited to 12. Register or email me with questions:


Upcoming dates: 
  • Saturday, October 15
  • Saturday, November 19 (for this last Writing the Flood of 2011, we'll have some homemade treats!)  
  • Saturday, January 21, 2012(!)    

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Reclaiming the Erotic Story
The Liberatory Potential of Writing Desire

November 12, 2011 - with Sacramento Sutterwriters 


   Can erotic writing liberate more than our libidos? Does greater comfort with sexual expression lead to greater agency in our communities? Many of us assume that the erotic is solely the province of the individual, and not the realm of social change or communal liberation - but what happens when we all have wider access to and more comfort with erotic language and sexual expression? The full breadth of our erotic power can challenge what our society teaches us about our sexuality, which is both damning and provocative when it comes to personal expression and human relationships.


 When we bring our longing into the light and find common ground with others, when we risk exposing that which we've been trained to be ashamed of, I find that many of us step into a deeply empowered (and more embodied!) self.

In this workshop, we'll take try out some explicit writing, and will consider how empowering a creative engagement with sexual identity, desire, and expression, as well as the ability to write out our fantasies and desire, can affect our intimate relationships, our communities and our work in the world.

 The cost for this workshop is $100.  A $25 deposit would secure your place with the balance due on the day of the class (there will be a substantial discount for participants who attend this workshop and Write Whole on Sunday the 13th.)


If you are interested in attending, please give John Crandall a call at 916-708-9708 or an email at johnalbertcrandall@yahoo.com

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Write Whole - Survivors Write
For Survivors Of Sexual Trauma
November 13th, 2011 - with Sacramento Sutterwriters 


Many of us who are survivors of sexual trauma feel fragmented or disjointed and have come to believe we must always live our lives this way.


In this Write Whole group, we are offered the opportunity to learn that we can live and feel whole in our experiences and desires - that we can create new art through writing, and transforming our pains and fears into power and love.

It bears repeating: Transforming our language is one way we transform our lives. Altering and expanding our language has the effect of changing who we know ourselves to be.


In this Write Whole workshop, you'll write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing, engaging with such subjects as: body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more.


Though we come together as survivors, we are never required to write any particular version of "our abuse story." In this space, you have the opportunity to write as you feel called to write, no matter what the subject.


Although the setting is a supportive one, this workshop is different from a "support group," as the focus of the workshop itself is on each person's writing. We create beauty out of the sometimes extraordinarily difficult stuff of our lives.


The cost for this workshop is $100.  A $25 deposit would secure your place with the balance due on the day of the class (there will be a substantial discount for participants who attend this workshop and Reclaiming The Erotic Story on Saturday the 12th.)


If you are interested in attending, please give John Crandall a call at 916-708-9708 or an email at johnalbertcrandall@yahoo.com

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 The Erotic Reading Circle  


Every fourth Wednesday at the Center for Sex and Culture


suggested donation: $5+

Since 2006, we've been meeting on the fourth Wednesday of the month to share and celebrate the breadth of erotic artistry in the Bay Area! 

The next Erotic Reading Circle meets on September 28, 7:30-9:30 at the Center for Sex and Culture, 
1349 Mission Street, San Francisco (cross streets 9th and 10th). $5+ donation requested (no one turned away); donations support the Center for Sex and Culture. This month's circle will be a collaborative effort with the Sex Worker's Arts Festival events at the CSC! 


Bring whatever you're working on, or whatever you'd like to be working on.

Come join readers and share your erotic writing! Bring something to read or just be part of the appreciative circle of listeners. This is a great place to try out new work (ask for comments if you like), or get more comfortable reading for other people. Longtime writers will bring their latest... newly inspired writers, bring that vignette you scrawled on BART while daydreaming on your way to work. Carol Queen and Jen Cross host/facilitate this space dedicated to erotic writers and readers.


See you at the Circle!      


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Write Whole: Survivors Write 

Our SF-based 8-week workshops


 Winter '12 Workshop begins Monday, January 9


Meets 8 Monday evenings, 6:00-8:30pm.  

This workshop is open to all women survivors of sexual trauma.


Gather with other women survivors of sexual trauma in this workshop, and write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing, and deal with such subjects as: body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more. You'll be encouraged to trust the flow of your own writing, and receive immediate feedback about the power of your words!


8-week workshop fees: The fee for an 8-week session is $350. (I can generally work out payment plans; please contact me if you have question or concerns about payment.) The regular registration fee will be in effect through September 15. The late registration fee is $385; last day to register is 9/30. Please register early!



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Bayview Writers:

A new and supportive writing workshop for Marin.


Inaugural group begins early January:

Tuesday mornings in Tiburon: 10am-1pm (women's group);

Wednesday evenings in San Rafael: 6-9pm  (open to all writers)


Make a commitment to your writing in 2012! 


New writing group forming: Bayview Writers is open to all writers seeking a fun, generous and supportive atmosphere in which to create powerful new writing. Using the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method, we write together in response to exercises designed to spark your creative imagination. Whether you're in the middle of a larger project, beginning something new, or going through a time of 'writer's block,' this workshop is for anyone looking to connect with their writing, regardless of experience level. Connect with other local writers and release the words that you've been longing to write.


9-week workshop fees: The fee for an 9-week session is $425. There is a reduced-rate early bird fee of $380 if you register by  November 23. The regular registration fee will be in effect through January 1, 2012. The late registration fee is $465; last day to register is January 6. Please register early!



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Call for submissions!
Sex Still Spoken Here: More from the Erotic Reading Circle

Editors: Carol Queen, Jen Cross, Amy Butcher

Publisher: tbd
Deadline: Nov 1, 2011 (earlier submissions preferred)
Compensation: TBD (at minimum, each author receives a copy of the finished collection and we will be sharing profits with contributors)

Editors Carol Queen, Jen Cross and Amy Butcher are collecting submissions for a second anthology of hot writings from the latest incarnation of the Erotic Reading Circle. Have you attended the Reading Circle in the last five years? We want your stories, poems, novel or memoir excerpts. All sexual orientation, sexualities, and gender orientations welcome: we want to showcase the diversity and power of writing that has been shared at the Circle. That being said, please do not submit stories featuring sex with children. Submissions welcome and invited from anyone who has shared their work at the ERC since 2006; we will read and consider all submission, though we will prioritize work that has been read/shared at the Circle. Reprints will be considered as long as you retain the rights to the work.

This follow-up to Sex Spoken Here (Down There Press, 1998) will consist of three parts: an introduction to the Erotic Reading Circle (a conversation with the editors); an anthology of erotic writing shared at the Circle in its latest incarnation; and a how-to manual for those wishing to start an Erotic Reading Circle in their communities. We expect to release the book in both electronic and print formats.

Keep in mind that you still have a chance to attend the Erotic Reading Circle before the deadline; join us on October 26!

Payment: Because we don't yet have a publisher confirmed, payment is still being determined; we will share profits with contributors, and all contributors will receive at least one author's copy of the anthology on publication. Contract is for one-time rights.

How to submit: Include story title, byline, and the date when the piece (in any form) was shared at the ERC (if it was) at top of first page. Send double spaced Times or Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc only, NOT .docx) OR RTF of 1,000-4,000 word story. Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch and double space (regular double spacing, do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing). US grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) required. In the body of the email, please include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable), mailing address, and 50 word or less bio in the third person to sssh.subs@gmail.com. If you are using a pseudonym, please provide your real name and pseudonym and make it clear which one you'd like to be credited as.


Community Announcements!
These emails aren't just about the fabulous happenings of Jen Cross & Writing Ourselves Whole - PLEASE send me info about your writing workshops, calls for submissions, fundraisers, and community events and let me know you'd like me to include them in the newsletter. (All the listings here are current as of October 2011.)

  • New! The Center for Movement Education and Research presents TWO Introductory Workshops in Dance/Movement Therapy: San Francisco Saturday November 12th 2011 and Los Angeles January 7, 2012. Dance/Movement Therapy is a profession that links psychology and dance. Come learn about this unique healing art. Northern CA Info: http://www.movement-education.org/class_intro_workshop.html. This workshop is intended for individuals who would like an introduction to the basic concepts dance/movement therapy.  Students, dancers, therapists, and those interested in the transformative elements of creative movement experience are welcome. No prior movement experience is necessary. NorCal nstructor is (the amazing) Forest Franken, MA, MFA, BC-DMT  
  • New! Call for submissions! Anthology of Trans and Genderqueer Poetry: http://transanthology.com/ Deadline for submission is Nov 30, 2011
  • New! John Fox, of Poetic Medicine, is offering many programs here in California this Fall -- he's just offered a reduced fee at his 10/28-10/30 Menlo Park writing retreat (entitled "My Looking Ripens Things: Being a Catalyst for Healing Through Poem-Making"): find out more at http://poeticmedicine.org/calendar.html  
  • New! My friend and colleague Chris DeLorenzo, of Laguna Writers has a number of writing workshops and retreats coming up; check out his website to learn more and to register. It's a gift to get to write with him! He's offering a grief writing workshop on October 15: "Writing Our Way Through Loss: A Grief Writing and Healing Retreat." http://www.laguna-writers.com 
  • A free support group for queer identified partners of survivors of sexual abuse/incest is forming. It will be a peer led by an MSW trainee. This is not a formal therapy group but more of a peer-led support circle. The group will create a safe space to explore our feelings about our partners, their stories, their families, and how they intersect with our own lives. If you are interested, please send an email to queerpartnersofsurvivors@gmail.com for more information.
  • Want more opportunities to write? Check out the monthly creative writing workshops that our friends at Green Windows writing workshops hold on the  Rock Paper Scissors Collective, 2278 Telegraph Avenue at 23rd Street in Oakland. These groups are open to youth 16-25 and their friends (youth workers, teachers, etc.), and meet from 7 - 9:15 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month --$1 - $25, sliding scale. Additional donations welcome. Email Peggy if you're wondering if you might fit - you probably do!) Faculty, students and staff of the Peralta Community Colleges are especially welcome. 
  • Check out Diane Hira Rose's Writing as Healing workshop - Focusing on free self-expression we deepen and awaken our creative process. We protect our inner writer by not judging, criticizing or editing our work. We write in a compassionate, safe environment, in a lovely indoor creekside garden setting in North Berkeley. Mondays, 7-9 PM or Tuesdays 10-12 Noon. CONTACT: 510 525-8056
  • Ellen McCauley, CMT, of Re-Membering Wholeness, is a massage therapist who does powerful work! She is extending her practice to include San Francisco and the East Bay (she's based in Santa Cruz), will come to your home for two or more massaged (get your friends together for a massage afternoon) and is offering reduced rates on initial sessions and gift certificates. Call for more info: 831-588-1510  
  • Ellen Morrison, ASW, offers intuitive painting workshops (in addition to individual therapy, problem solving groups and support groups). Check out her work at SoulStudios.org!
  • The Center for Sex and Culture needs our financial support right now.  There's no other organization in the Bay Area that does the kind of sexual-culture work that the CSC does -- and we want to keep it going! Can you donate?
  • Co-Active coach Fresh! White has a special offer for the new year over at Affirmative Acts Coaching: The 2011 2-for-1 Life and Fitness Coaching Program. This collaboration with Cerified Fitness Trainer Ace Morgan allows you to focus on life-change and fitness goals at the same time!
  • If you are in need of ANY PR/marketing assistance or love, please check out Jianda at SugarMamaPR -- she is helping me get so much clarity around something that can be awfully challenging (promotion and PR!), and does her work with generosity, enthusiasm, and a wide range of knowledge and experience! 
  • Have you seen Diagnosing Difference yet? "A feature-length length (64 mins) documentary featuring interviews with 13 diverse scholars, activists, and artists who identify on the trans spectrum (transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, and gender variant) about the impact and implications of the Gender Identity Disorder (GID) on their lives and communities."   
  • Got a big event coming up? Our crafty, super-talented glitterfemme sister, SarahD, is your go-to grrl photographer! Let her document your big day or get your head shots together -- book a session at Portraits to the People! Sarah's photographs are sharp, fun, and gorgeous. She shows you that all your sides are good sides!
  • Check out the incredible work that Vanissar Tarakali, Ph.D., is doing around embodiment, trauma, deep self-care and allyship!
  • Have you read Trauma Stewardship? A gentle reminder: taking care of ourselves is a part of doing ethical, sustainable work in the world.  We deserve it, our communities deserve, the folks we work with deserve it... please be easy with you!

best & best & best -- keep on writing y'all!  And stay in touch, ok?  Email jennifer (at) writingourselveswhole (dot) org.




I really appreciate and am a bit awed by the amount of support and healing has happened for me in this room. The level of respect and regard for each writer's voice is a gift I carry with me into the rest of my life.
- anonymous (Write Whole writer)

Visit the Writing Ourselves Whole website and purchase a workshop gift certificate for your friends, family or co-workers. Certificates can be purchased in the amounts of: