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Introductory | Writing can be healing. But writing can also re-traumatize, making it difficult to tell the stories that shape us. In this workshop, writers gain an understanding of how the physiological processes of trauma interact with a writing practice. Drawing on published essays and in-class prompts, we’ll explore craft challenges specific to trauma, including fragmentation of memory, the temptation of melodrama, elevating a personal story into a universal inquiry, and the beauty of owning our complicated, contradictory selves on the page.
Katherine E. Standefer's debut book, Lightning Flowers, is forthcoming from Little, Brown in early 2020 and was shortlisted for the 2018 J. Anthony Lukas Works-in-Progress Prize from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. Her writing won the 2015 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction, appears in The Best American Essays 2016, and was selected as Notable in Best American Essays 2017. She writes about the body, consent, and medical technology from Tucson, where she earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Arizona in 2014. Her writing appears in the anthologies Beautiful Flesh: A Body of Essays and How We Speak To One Another: An Essay Daily Reader, as well as many literary journals, including The Normal School, The Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Colorado Review, and Cutbank. She was a Fall 2017 Marion Weber Healing Arts Fellow at The Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes, California, which supports writers working at the intersection of nature, human economy, and equity. She teaches creative writing and medical humanities at the University of Arizona. As a creative arts entrepreneur, she teaches community-level writing classes that help people write about sexuality, illness, and trauma, using a unique embodied pedagogy that considers the craft challenges, physiological hurdles and social barriers to telling stories of the body. A Certified Sexologist, she has provided sexuality education to more than 8,000 people and draws on more than 30 hours of trauma sensitivity training. www.katherinestandefer.com