Writing Workshop Wraps Up

Jennifer Furl, a freelance writer and editor, became interested in community writing organizations while pursuing studies in Folklore. This spring, she volunteered with Free Minds to help start up an eight-week writing workshop, offered for free to adults who typically don’t have access to writing in community.

In the past two months, I had the privilege of facilitating a writing workshop piloted by Free Minds at Foundation Communities’ Trails at Vintage Creek apartments. A dozen or so writers gathered every Monday evening for eight weeks to write together, share work, and offer feedback to one another. Through our collective writing, we were transported to Pluto, Bangladesh, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a yard in East Austin, and the 1990s. We heard about losing hair, leaving Chicago, gathering eggs, and reading by candlelight. And we wrote about writing — how it can make an impact and how some of us just can’t stop.

The Free Minds writing workshop was based on those offered by Write Around Portland in Oregon. As an intern and volunteer workshop facilitator with Write Around Portland, I witnessed how something magical happens when people write and share together — especially when these kinds of opportunities are not often available. The workshops are a place where people can express themselves and where others listen to what they have to say. I hope that the Free Minds writers gained something from this workshop experience, whether it was a writing technique, inspiration for a writing project, or a new understanding of another perspective.

Over the next week or so we’ll be posting pieces written by students during the workshop. Stay tuned!

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