Archive for November 2023

Around the Listening Table, or, What it Feels Like to Write Together

November 14th, 2023 — 1:11pm

This poem by Julia Fehrenbacher describes what it feels like to write in a safe, supportive circle of women. In our practice, we use poetry lines as a prompt and write quickly and steadily for a set amount of time. If we were in class right now, our jump off lines would be:

Our only job is to tell the truth

This is what seeing looks like

This is what listening sounds like

This is what free feels like

I warmly invite you to join my next Women’s Writing circles! Zoom classes begin Wednesday, January 10th, 6 to 7:30 PM PT, and my in-home class begins Friday, January 12, 10 to noon PT. Fees are $45 per class/$360 for the series. If you sign up by December 10, the series is $310. The series runs for eight weeks. If you are experiencing financial challenges, please reach out! Any questions or if you’d like to talk more, email me at

Let’s write!


Around the Listening Table – Julia Fehrenbacher

We arrive one by one, carrying the heavy

of the body’s aches, the mind’s angst, the day’s
so-muchness, the warring world’s weight. We carry all
of the beautiful things too. All of it is invited.

We put pen to paper, throw off
the saddle, and away we gallop, we gallop fast enough
to outrun the ones who want to shut us up.

One word at a time, our only job
is to tell the truth. One word at a time, we say
what we want to say, what we don’t want to say.

There is no wrong way. It is all life. It is all right.

And then, we listen. We listen as each woman
empties herself. Each string of each heart
gets plucked. We bow. We cry. We laugh. We say thank you.

This is what seeing looks like. What listening
sounds like, what a little closer
to free feels like.

I walk away with their stories and hearts forever woven
into mine, like braided sweetgrass that can never
be unbraided. Like a notebook that holds every last word—

a symphony of sisterhood that can never be unsung.

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Free Women’s Writing Circle November 28

November 12th, 2023 — 10:25am

There is tremendous healing power in telling our stories. Sharing our stories in a circle of supportive women not only helps us grow and heal, it helps others do the same. However different our lives are, we share a common thread — the desire to understand and find meaning in our lives. Women’s Writing Circles offers a practice that helps us with our journey.

On Tuesday, November 28, 6 to 7 pm PT, I will be offering a free, one hour Women’s Writing Circle practice to share a taste of this work. The practice is simple and deep: using poetry as a prompt, we write quickly and steadily for a set amount of time, pen doesn’t leave the page. That’s it! Writing quickly helps us bypass our inner critic, offers a real opportunity to meet our authentic selves on the page, and lets our creativity shine. It sounds too simple to be that powerful — yet it is. This practice is as joyful and freeing for those at the beginning of their writing journey as it is for those who have travelled a ways down the road. 

If you are interested, email me at for a link. Let’s write!

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Expressing the Ineffable: A Brief Practice

November 6th, 2023 — 7:07pm

I’m at a loss for words. The tragedy that is unfolding in Israel and Gaza, the continued tragedy of Ukraine, the global rise in overt antisemitism, all of it makes me pause.  What words can you write when you can’t find the words?

There is a word for that — “ineffable” — meaning too great or extreme to express in words. This includes both the beautiful and the horrific. This word describes the moment we are in.

My heart is breaking. But I am committed to finding the words, to name and witness what is happening in the world and within me. Grief. Despair. Love. I use these very words in my daily writing practice. I believe the act of committing words to paper is healing. I find writing in a safe circle of women healing. 

And so I’d like to share with you a brief writing practice for the time we are living in.

This practice is simple and can go deep. Using poetry as a prompt, we write quickly and steadily, pen not leaving the page. I chose this month’s poem, “The Peace of Wild Things,” by Wendell Berry, because it acknowledges both the truth of suffering and the possibility of grace. 

Below are brief instructions, as well as an accompanying video. Our souls are worthy of expression. This is the gift of this practice.


You can do this practice alone or with a trusted friend.

What you’ll need:

Ten minutes of quiet

A pen

Some paper or a journal. (I recommend pen and paper instead of your computer. It is a more visceral experience.)

1. Set your timer to ten minutes or have a clock handy.

2. Read the poem below out loud.

3. Choose one of the jump off lines from the poem:

  • When despair for the world grows in me
  • The peace of wild things
  • I rest in the grace of the world

Or you can use an alternate line: A few things I might want to write about…

4. Read the poem aloud one more time —then…

5. Begin writing. Pen doesn’t leave the page. Keep your belly soft. Say yes to what arises. If you’re stuck use the line, “Here’s what I want to say”… and keep writing.  When the time is done, put the pen down. Take a few deep breaths, then…

6. Read your piece aloud to yourself. Reading aloud helps your words land in your body. (Or read to a trusted friend. If reading in pairs, please do not comment on your friend’s writing. Simply acknowledge non-verbally, like nodding your head or prayer, hands and bear witness. This is part of creating a safe space.)

7. Take a few breaths. Your practice is now complete.

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For the time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


I will be offering a free, one hour writing practice on Tuesday, November 28, 6:00 to 7:00 PM PT. If you’re interested, please email me at to receive a zoom link.

The next round of Women’s Writing Circles begins January 10, both on zoom and in my home in Berkeley. Join our wonderful and supportive community of women as we write our truths together. You can read more at, or email me for more info.

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