Dearest Writers and Friends,
As some of you know, I have the pleasure of writing with the Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA )-method writing groups that Jan Haag hosts here in Sacramento. Jan is an amazing facilitator, and we produce really amazing first draft work in these groups.
I have to say, when I first met Jan and learned about the method, back when I ran the arts programs at UC Davis Extension, I was pretty skeptical about it. I thought it was just a mutual admiration approach to critique, combined with a little airing of dirty laundry. Boy, was I wrong. The AWA method is an approach to creating a safe, welcoming and non-hierarchical space for writers of all ages, genders, classes, education levels, etc. to come together around one table and give voice to the beautiful, surprising, terrifying, moving stories and poems inside us. All work is approached as fictional, that is, as a created thing separate from the person who wrote it. What is so radical about the approach, perhaps especially to folks who have formal education in writing, is that it focuses on what each writer is already doing well–giving the writer a place of confidence in her work from which to experiment, to stretch, and to teach herself and others (through her own risk-taking) to write better.
Tonight, at 7:00 PM at SPC, the group will give a reading from our ‘zine, the purpose of which is to showcase pieces substantially unchanged from the form in which they emerged in writing group.
If you are already familiar with the AWA approach or local AWA community and want to reconnect, tonight is a great opportunity. Or, if you are curious about what this whole AWA thing is, tonight is a great way to explore whether this might be a way you can enrich your own writing life.
I hope to see you there!
Yours in writing,