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The Other Side of Fire: Writing the Personal Trauma Essay

  • Creative Tribe Workshop [at: Kore Press] 236 S Scott Ave. Tucson, AZ, 85705 United States (map)

7 Wednesdays from 6:15-8:15pm: October 19- December 7 (skipping 11/23).

Writing can be healing. But writing can also re-traumatize a person, making it difficult to tell the stories that so often make us who we are.

In this seven-week class, writers will gain an understanding of how the physiological processes of trauma interact with a writing practice. They will read writing about body traumas by writers like Vanessa Veselka, Leslie Ryan, Kelly Sundburg, Barry Lopez, Charles Bowden, and Alice Sebold, considering how writers handle craft challenges like the fragmentation of memory, engaging dramatic material without melodrama, elevating a deeply personal story into a universal inquiry, and owning on the page our complicated, contradictory selves.

This class is not a support group. Nor is it intended to take the place of mental healthcare (especially for those in crisis). But for those who have already begun the work of resolving their physiological traumas, it will offer a stable, supportive environment to begin writing the stories that, well told, have so much to offer society. Writers will be required to purchase Bessel van der Kolk's trauma bible The Body Keeps The Score and participate in light body-grounding practices. Writers should also plan to complete weekly readings and writing prompts, and participate in a workshop of one of their original essays near the end of the session.

Kati has studied trauma independently since her sexual assault in 2007, and takes courses at the Arizona Trauma Institute.

Cost: $270* (non-refundable deposit of $135 required to hold your space)

*One more scholarship is available for this class (reducing tuition to $170). These scholarships are strictly intended for those who could not otherwise afford to take the class at all. Please contact me at kestandefer[at] if you are interested, including a note both about your interest in the class and how a scholarship would impact your ability to join us.

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Learn more about our unique class location here!