A Workshop Based on Trust
Everyone who enters a writing workshop for the first time is taking a risk. Writing with people we don’t know makes us nervous, writing itself makes us nervous, reading our work is another risk, listening to others’ work and responding is a final risk. In order for the workshop to support each writer there must be an agreement for how we allow each other to express ourselves in this art form and how we attend to each other’s work when it is shared. This is the basis for trust that is established and upheld throughout the workshop. This trust contains respect, a recognition that every voice is different, and that the authority over any piece of writing belongs to and remains with the writer. With trust and respect this workshop is a place where a writer can freely experiment and explore what they want and need to create.
The weekly workshops I lead are online and span ten weeks. Those ten weeks include the opportunity for a manuscript review by each writer if they choose. Each workshop includes no more than 9 writers and invites each writer to follow their inner genius and listen attentively and respectfully to others. I offer a wide range of self-curated prompts that support the mingling of memory and imagination as well as the development of prose and poetic craft.
Testimonial: The AWA method of writing builds trust in one’s own voice and in the sharing of that voice with others. I have written with several workshop leaders in this method, including several years with Pat Schneider, its founder, but no workshop leader has surpassed Maureen Buchanan Jones in the quality and consistency of her listening and support. Not only is she insightful, identifying the intelligent heart and inner meaning of the work, but she is able to reflect it back to the writer in a way that nurtures future creative risk-taking and satisfies the deep need to be understood. She has an uncanny ability to stay present to the work. If her attention ever wanders, I have never caught it; she takes in every piece of writing with the same loving witness, and can feed back, not only her overall sense of the work, but also the specific language used – with remarkable appreciative detail. She came highly recommended to me, when Pat Schneider took a hiatus in her teaching, and I understand why. As Pat said, “Maureen is most intimate with the soul of the AWA method,” and that method fosters intimate and courageous writing. She is a magnificent writing companion. Court Dorsey, Writer, Actor, Activist.