What we mean by a safe space

  • This workshop is designed to explore memory, emotion, and body as writer's tools generally. I do, however, expect challenging subject matter to come up, including the potentially traumatic whether for a fictional character or one of us writers. This workshop is intended to be a safe space. By that I mean two things.
  • First, nobody's experience will be censored. If a writer is working on something to do with personal trauma, it will be a welcomed subject matter. (See caveat about writing about trauma below.)
  • Second, everyone here is expected to honor each other as writers and human beings. Things shared in this course must not leave this course. Your presence in this course implies your agreement with a policy of respect and privacy for all writers and all writings shared within this workshop.
  •  If you want to write about a trauma, know that you may need to back away from it during the workshop if it gets to be too much. Work with a different experience or turn to fiction. Then use the workshop methods to approach the trauma later, when you feel ready to do so. Expect to read writing that has to do with various kinds of trauma, including sexual. If we want to work with our own difficult experiences or create those experiences for our characters, it is useful to see them handled in others’ writings. We will discuss readings in class and students may spiral back to topics, so opting out of a reading is not a practical option. Please talk to me before registering if you have specific concerns, but know that I cannot guarantee anyone will avoid a specific trigger or foresee or control what students bring to workshop or want to discuss. If that seems like too much to ask of yourself right now, consider that this is probably not the workshop for you at this time.
  • If you have emotions come up and need to cry, please do. You can always turn off your camera for a few minutes, but if possible stay in the class.
  • How emotionally triggering this workshop is will depend on what each student brings to it in terms of both experiences and writings, which I can neither predict nor control. The workshop may be light or heavy overall depending on each of us and our projects.