Writing can take so many shapes. It can be an act of reflection, imagination, and change. Or as Joan Didion said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” Whatever shape it takes, I believe writing belongs to everyone. Every voice is worthy of sharing. Writing gives our voice the chance to become a vessel. It can offer us memories, dreams, and forgotten parts of our imagination. Our voice can carry us deeper inward, toward the roots of our stories. It can also lead us out, toward new ways of seeing the world.
In 2016, I opened Voice & Vessel, a writing studio, as a creative space for discovering the stories we carry. My writing workshops are grounded in the Amherst Writers & Artists Method. I’m a Certified Leader of the AWA Method, and I love sharing it with writers of all backgrounds. In all the workshop approaches I’ve experienced, the AWA Method is most generative and welcoming.
Amherst Writers & Artists Method
The AWA Method took shape in the 1980s, but its roots are in a movement that began in the 1930s. If you’re familiar with Brenda Ueland (If You Want to Write), Dorthea Brande (Becoming a Writer), Peter Elbow’s idea of freewriting, or the practice of morning pages, you’ve already crossed paths with this approach to writing.
In this method, we work toward wholehearted writing. No looking over our shoulder at our critics. No asking for permission to use our voice. The AWA Method starts with the belief that a writer is someone who writes, and then it offers a set of practices to help us face the empty page.
Voice & Vessel Writing Workshops
Voice & Vessel’s studio is what I like to call a living room for writers. Comfortable chairs, good coffee and tea, cozy lighting, and lots of books and inspiration. The studio is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I lead weekly workshops in the space. I also lead a monthly writing circle meetup, host retreats, and happily travel elsewhere to write with folks beyond Grand Rapids.