The Indiana Daily Student ran an article on my path to teaching Writing through Trauma on Monday, January 26. I met with writer Cassie Heeke at the local Barnes and Noble, my favorite writing spot. Cassie had requested an interview after seeing an announcement for my class. Initially, I was frightened by the thought of accepting an interview as I have little experience on the receiving end of interview questions. I wondered what I could share, if I could feel safe in the process of speaking out on my journey.
One of my favorite writing exercises is one I call “Epistle.” The term is probably best known in relation to the Bible, but epistle refers to a letter in multiple forms. e·pis·tle əˈpisəl/ noun formal noun: epistle; plural noun: epistles a letter. synonyms: letter, missive, communication, dispatch, note, line; More a poem or other literary work in the form of a letter or series of letters. a book of the New Testament in the form of a letter from an Apostle. noun: Epistle; plural noun: Epistles “St. Paul’s epistle to
I have taught multiple Creative Writing classes. There are two components of these courses that are consistently difficult for students. The first is revision. Inexperienced writers often do not believe in revision. That issue eventually resolves itself. Either the writer will find their work ill-received and begin their reform, or they will eventually stop writing. If you are suffering from stasis in your creative growth, a quick fix is reading more, better, varied, published writing. Good luck! The second struggle is two-sided: the giving and receiving of constructive criticism. In
Self-care is a critical component of any trauma writing practice, but in order to implement self-care, you must first know your triggers. So, what is a trigger? A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma. Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. The survivor may begin to avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks triggered the flashback. She/he will react to this flashback, trigger with an emotional intensity similar to that at the
Everyone experiences trauma differently. There is no way to predictive measure for when or how a person will become traumatized. One human’s stressor is another human’s thrill. Ultimately, we are in charge of our own narrative. It is not up to anyone else to determine whether or not trauma has touched us. We know by the aching, irritable, gone-and-back again hollow we cannot seem to fill with hope. We know by the hives, the lost hair, the nightmares, insomnia, dropped interests and seizing moments we live through daily. We know,
A main struggle I face as a writer is letting go. Sitting down to write has become easy. I have trained myself to get words on the page. But writing authentically, giving value to words and recording or creating a story with integrity–well, I know writers who seem to have mastered that skill. I imagine them at their writing tables in a state of flow, madly scratching out words as effortlessly as they breathe. It doesn’t happen that way for me. Much of the time, writing is like pulling teeth.
Writing through Trauma Dates: 8 Mondays from January 19-March 9, 2015 Time: 6:00-8:00 PM Location: Unity of Bloomington Cost: $80 Instructor: Shawna Ayoub Ainslie This class will be a supportive space for adult writers negotiating difficult topics, regardless of genre or experience. We will discuss writing trauma from a safe space, self-care, critical reading, how to give and receive constructive criticism, what writing style works best for us and why, finding our voices, and point of view among other topics. At least 30 minutes of every session will be
I woke up this morning to find a pitch rejection in my inbox. This was happy because the rejection was expected, but not within four hours of submission. I expected to wait 2-3 weeks for any response. I can’t take the immediate rejection as an insult because, while the pitched piece is strong, the essay walks just over the line of what this magazine publishes. I was well aware of that, having done my research first by reading their published pieces. What I said to myself was, “It can be