“This writing workshop helped heal my relationship to writing. In this space, there was no need for judgment, criticism, or comparing. Catherine created a beautifully playful, loving space, and encouraged us to have fun, to be vulnerable, and to trust ourselves. We had the chance to sit zazen, to do generative creative writing exercises, and to share our writing as a group. I’m so grateful to Catherine for offering this gift!” – Victory Matsui, Brooklyn Zen Center
“Wisdom, intimacy, deep silence, new creative directions. This is my experience of Writing as a Wisdom Project.” – Michael Elsmere, Dancing Mountains, U.K.
“Catherine creates an atmosphere of safety and risk, compassion and non-judgment, creativity and light. Each time I have participated in one of her workshops, I’ve felt the mystery and wonder that are at the heart of both writing and Zen. Sharing my own joys and sorrows, listening to those of others, I’ve experienced the healing nature of the written word come to life. This is a writing workshop that breathes, a Zen workshop that talks! It’s a glorious combination.” – Alisa Malinovich, Brooklyn Zen Center
Susan Sontag used the phrase “writing as a wisdom project” when commenting on autobiography as an occasion for deep self-study. In this workshop retreat we expand on this idea to bring self-study to our practice of imaginative writing, with an emphasis on fiction and poetry.
From the position of understanding our practice as writers as an opportunity to receive, imagine, study and reveal our own present, dependently arising body and mind, we write together, using prompts and free writing, and reading and responding to one another’s words. Our work is quite intimate and playful and offers everyone opportunities for participation and discussion. This practice we share is appropriate to any level of writing or literary experience.
Considerations of form, both in literary practice and in dharma practice, may play a part in our discussions. Our time is structured to include informal periods of reflection and formal periods of silent meditation as practiced in the Zen tradition. Meditation instruction will be offered as needed.
A workshop and/or retreat depending on the schedule and venue, Writing as a Wisdom Project has been offered at various locations in the UK, and at Brooklyn Zen Center, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, Stillpoint Zen Community in Pittsburgh, Zen Center of Pittsburgh, Empty Hand Zen Center (New Rochelle, NY), Marblehead Zen Center (when it was still in Marblehead), North Shore Zen Center (Beverly, MA) , and the North Truro Public Library.
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