HOLA. Have you had your chicken today? Anyhow, now that Winter begins packing up her shit to take her raggedy ass back to hell, I'm ready to do some more traveling and teaching and eating and return to a sweeter, sleeveless way of life. The first stop on this springtime tour de gluttony is Richmond, Virginia, where I attended Virginia Commonwealth University for .999 semesters many moons ago when I thought I was about that broadcast journalism life. (Long story short: I chose my dance company over school, which was one of the best choices I ever made.)
This time, I'm teaming up with the lovely Shawnda Harper of TheNappyNerd.com to bring my mental health-centered writing workshop series to my home state. BOOM. Here's the run down:
Busting your emotions open upon a blank page often works wonders for the soul. Writing through the rough patches and rolling in the deep, on paper, can be both therapeutic and revelatory. It’s an undertaking sure to bring clarity (and closure?) on life’s problems, patterns and sharp turns.
During Literary Therapy: Writing (For) Your Life, we’ll relax (with snacks) in a secluded, intimate setting as we open those closets and mine our lives for rich, relevant writing material. In a safe, calming and encouraging environment, we will write about our mental health journeys, self-care, self-love, self-hate, and all that wonderful jazz that stands between us and Understanding. You will flex your creative muscle while writing your way through the inspiring, the life-changing and the tragic alongside a dynamic group of similarly openminded, clarity-seeking folks.
We will read published excellence by wonderful people like Roxane Gay and Kiese Laymon and Dave Eggers and discuss what it takes to craft powerful, engaging and relatable written work. Using a (masterfully seasoned) gumbo of writing exercises, group discussions, peer review and instructor feedback, you will produce a collection of raw and revelatory new material while experiencing the cathartic and healing power of writing firsthand. With some good parenting and a heap of perseverance, one of those powerful personal sagas may even grow up to become a book, a blog, or an Ava Duvernay-directed biopic starring David Oyelowo or Viola Davis.
This workshop is intended for beginning and seasoned writers alike who want to strengthen their creative voice and answer difficult personal questions through introspective writing. This workshop is also suitable for mental health professionals, scholars, and administrators seeking new methods of clarifying and exploring personal narratives with clients, patients or students. Previously, I have lead this workshop at Adler University in Chicago for students and administrators in the clinical mental health graduate program, and for a group that included college professors and relationship counselors.
This workshop was made possible by Nappy Nerd: Lifestyle of the Black and Brainy, a lifestyle brand designed to celebrate and showcase Black Excellence. Have a gander at their fine goods, stalk their Instagram, and follow them on Facebook like a nice human.
My essays on mental health:
- "Dancing The Blues Away: How Ballet Became My Therapy" [Very Smart Brothas]
- “What A Difference A Year Makes: On Battling and Beating Depression” [Very Smart Brothas]
- "Hey, Therapy” [Abernathy]
- “On Depression: to anyone else living in a fog” [Gawker]
(To discuss hosting a workshop for your school, writing group, organization, etc., hit me on my Motorola two-way pager...or send me an email.)
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