Course Image Values of the Future Through Transformative Language Arts

Fortunately, the values for a better society can be taught, not just through stories, songs, dances, and poems about the values, but also through the very processes of telling or creating stories, singing or creating songs, and so on. In other words, our artistic processes themselves can give people experiences that open them to values that are necessary for an improved society. In this 6-week course, I'll briefly lay out a theory of how values can be influenced, as well as the eight values I’ve chosen as “values of a future society.” I’ll introduce the values one at a time and give examples of processes from storytelling that support each value. Then I’ll help you identify and/or create processes that can give others experiences of each value, from your particular type of transformational language work.

Course Image Your Calling, Your Livelihood, Your Life

What work calls to you as your own as this point in your life? How can you develop a livelihood — or transform your current livelihood — with your deepest vision, values and voice? In this class, you’ll explore long-term conversations with your callings (in our art, work and life), approaches for exploring and revising myths and messages about who you should be, cultivating spaciousness for your deepest work, hunting and gathering sources and supports, making the work you love come true, and staying engaged with your life’s work as your life shifts and unfolds. This class includes writing and other arts to bring more of your dreams to the surface as well as soulful planning tools. By the end of the class, you will have a body of writing, plans and maps, and other arts and tools to guide your life from the heart of your callings.

During the class, we'll look at how to expand and deepen the lifelong conversation with your calling, and then how to translate your callings into your livelihood and life. Participants will explore what they're doing with/in their lives, what changes they want to make to live more authentically and how to change patterns and old storylines through weekly writing prompts, plus podcasts or videos to instruct and inspire. This is an ideal class if you're considering or making changes in your avocation or vocation, wanting to deepen your art or work or writing or relationships, preparing to put yourself out there in your community more, or just ready to sit down and have a long and artful talk with your calling.

We all take, save, and inherit photographs of the people, places, and things that bring meaning, mystery, hope, and connection into our lives. These treasured personal archives will be the source of inspiration for writing as a means of restoring meaning, purpose, hope, and resilience during and after loss. Expressive writing prompted by personally chosen photos can help loved ones cope with what Pauline Boss calls the “ambiguous loss,” associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

In this course, we’ll use expressive writing, in poetry and prose, to help build resilience, restore meaning and purpose, and honor and celebrate relationships through legacy stories. TLA practitioners and writers at all levels of experience will imaginatively encounter personal photos sparked by questions that generate remarkable and uplifting writing experiences.

This thorough introduction to Transformative Language Arts (TLA) encompasses the personal and the global, the contemporary and the historic, and how TLA can be practiced through writing, storytelling, performance, song, and collaborative, expressive and integrated arts. Each week includes short readings, a lively discussion, and invigorating writing prompts to help you articulate more of your own TLA callings. Participants should plan on spending 3-5 hours on class assignments each week. We will also have two 40-minute conference calls (time to be determined in concert with everyone’s schedules), at the beginning and end of the class, to get to know one another and discuss questions and topics voice-to-voice. This class is also required for TLA Foundations Certification.

We move our bodies through this world, experiencing it daily, but often not connecting with either the world or our selves in a conscious and intentional way. This six-week class will help us to slow down, breathe deeply, and experience our bodies in this world. Through a variety of readings and texts, online discussions, and creative writing exercises, participants will investigate what it means to be in their bodies in the natural world.

Participants will be invited to engage in the natural world in whatever means possible for them – be that on a park bench in a busy city, through an apartment window in the suburbs, camping in a forest, walking through open fields, or working in a garden – and to embrace their bodies in their current state of being. Creative writing will focus on the senses of the body, the elements of nature, and the ways we can be more aware of those things in our daily life. We will explore these themes through various forms of poetry including traditional nature-based forms such as the bantu, haiku, and renga, as well as forms such as the pantoum, free verse, and communal writing.


Often as writers, we seek to extend our voice beyond the boundaries of self, hoping to capture and translate the texture of life beyond our skin. Inherent in this work is the omnipresent question: how can I, in the body I live in, bring the stories of others to life in a way that authentically captures their culture, offerings, three dimensional representation and unique perspectives? In this workshop we will investigate the power inherent when other people's stories enter our hands, specifically through the lens of news and creative writing.

This six week course explores the crafting and performance of personal stories for growth and community. We will focus on strengthening our imagination, story structure, emotional impact and performance skills. The class will be a balance of listening, reflecting, crafting and sharing. Our intent is to deepen awareness of the power stories play in personal and communal intellectual, emotional, and social development.

There’s beauty and meaning to mine from your life story, and this workshop will help you artistically express what you’ve overcome and achieved, and creatively share your experience to benefit others through the medium of theatre. You’ll learn how to write successful dramatic monologues based on your life that are personally meaningful, emotionally satisfying, and relevant and engaging for an audience. In class, through thematic writing prompts and creative exploration, you’ll develop your ordinary and extraordinary life experiences into powerful, dramatic monologues that can be performed – by you or an actor – with universal appeal. In class meetings will present elements of dramatic structure and explore the artistic qualities necessary for an effective dramatic monologue. We’ll explore the role of conflict, plot, communicating subtext, voice, narrative, and the importance of set-up. New writing will be generated in and out of class, shared in class and aspects of revision will be presented and practiced. Beginning and experienced writers in any genre are welcome!

Course Image Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies)

What is the physicality of a wound? What types of loss feel nearly impossible to come back from? What kind of life settles into our bones if we don’t take the time to grieve these losses? Can we dive into the wound, the loss: excavate and unearth it? We will focus on surviving and survivorhood; what it looks and feels like to live beyond traumatic experiences. The dominant narratives about the survivor body— oft pathologized as disembodied, disassociated and unwell— will be turned on their heads. We can never actually leave our bodies, as hard as we might try (and as wise as we are in our reasons for trying) and are therefore always already embodied. Too often survivors that are also writers are told to not dwell in the trauma, that writing from personal and traumatic experience isn’t “legitimate” writing. I don’t believe that to be true and am regularly heartened and inspired by the writing people do while diving into the wound(s).