This class changed my life.

I found myself in a safe and supportive environment where I could not only share some of my most intimate experiences, but learn to write about them in an intentional and constructive way. I ended up composing nearly 100 pages of my own personal sex essays!

This is more than just a writing class; it’s a place where we can talk about one of the most important things in the world: SEX.
— Kali Kennedy, yoga teacher and Penning the Nasty / Owning the Nasty student, Tucson, AZ
When I initially signed up for Kati’s class on writing trauma, called “Unlocking Tough Stories,” I noted that her syllabus incorporated some discussion on the physiology of trauma and how it impacts one’s writing practice. As a former mental health practitioner, I found this an encouraging start; indeed, Kati cultivated a safe space for writing about vulnerable topics. Moreover, she curated a reading list for our study of craft, and though I’m an avid reader, Kati still managed to introduce me to several new voices. Our readings reflected diversity, in authorship, content, and form—and Kati led our exploration of narrative craft with illuminating questions, the kind that facilitated deep conversation between participants. Kati’s craft assignments expanded my writer’s toolbox and introduced me to new ways of thinking about my own material. Her critiques of essay submissions were both thoughtful and generous—she is able to identify a writer’s strengths and seeks to understand the writer’s intention for each piece.
I hope to study with her again in the future!

—Jen Gilman Porat, Unlocking Tough Stories student, Online via Catapult, May 2019
Kati is a passionate sex educator, and she brought a wealth of knowledge into the workshop. She creates a safe space for participants to share their most vulnerable material and fosters lively discussion about sex in our culture and in modern literature. Her workshop was a treat I didn’t know I needed. Sex writing has many facets and nuances, and I am confident approaching it now.
— Libby Horton, Writing the Personal Sex Essay student, Boulder, CO
I am so grateful for Kati’s course, The Telling Itself: Illness Narratives as Healing and Craft. This was my first writing course and Kati created a fine introduction to the craft, helping me start on a new and fantastic journey. Kati distilled so much about the craft to create focus and liveliness, without the ideas being overwhelming or out of reach. She inspired an atmosphere of discovery and ease so each student felt her own voice and understood more of her own story in a way that could only occur by group effect. No one wanted the course to end!

The impact was deep—changing how I read, think, and write. Kati helped free something in me, dissolving a fear and a holding back, leaving me with excitement to keep journeying in the country of writing.
— Julia Jurgens, illness writing student, Tucson, AZ
I loved the structure of the class, bouncing from discussion of this taboo subject— *sex*— into suddenly having a timed writing exercise with a prompt that jump-started ideas. Writing fast and furiously, not having to share, was freeing. When we did share, that was wonderful and wild.
— Patti Gassaway, Writing the Personal Sex Essay student, Boulder, CO
I loved this class. It was extraordinary. Maybe I couldn’t have handled it or wasn’t ready at another time in my life. We descended into an abyss of pain. And explored the incomprehensible and the chaotic. Individually and collectively there was so much growth. I read the news from a new perspective now. Realized that most assault, terror, brutality, violence is written or framed by men or male journalists or editors who are making observations. They are constructing stories from the outside. The first person narratives are powerful. Unforgettable. Brave. Wounding. Disrupt mainstream assumptions. And my own expectations. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you for offering a vast landscape of voices.
— Barbara Seyda, Writing the Trauma Essay student, Tucson, AZ
This class taught me to think about how writing about sex arouses readers and the different ways it accomplishes that arousal. Kati helped me begin to view the world with a sex positive outlook and try to confront the shame instilled from a childhood fraught with puritanical prudery. I’m blushing less, and I’m happy about that.
— Caleb Klitzke, Penning the Nasty & Owning the Nasty student, Tucson, AZ
Kati is so open-hearted and wise in her craft. She is not afraid to share and examine difficult subjects; she encourages her students to expand their viewpoints, and step out of their comfort zone, while at the same time guiding us gently through terrain that can be challenging. She is one of the most knowledgeable and open-minded writers I know. In her class “The Telling Itself” I started a draft of a personal essay, about a very difficult subject, and I haven’t experimented with this form in years. Kati was also very helpful in her critique of my poems, even though her expertise lies mainly in prose. The other class members became equally engaged in the class, and the entire experience was extremely enlightening.
— Lisa Marie Cole, illness writing student and creative coaching client, Tucson, AZ
The readings were invaluable. So often sex seeps its slippery way into my writing, and I’m at once intrigued and horrified by it. How dare you! Always showing up unwanted and unannounced, and my words always at your mercy. The readings from this course helped me see I’m not the only one. They validated that urge in me to go ahead — pen the nasty in whatever way it wants/needs to come out.
— Lora Rivera, writer and Penning the Nasty student, Tucson, AZ
I had the good fortune to work with Kati on writing my book, Corporate Water Strategies. Kati is an outstanding writer and researcher, and, more importantly, a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend her!
— William Sarni, Water Strategy Consultant, Author, and Board Member of the Rainforest Alliance
Kati took my memoir draft and elevated it from good to great. She challenged me to access richer expressions of my experience than I would have otherwise, and edited my story in a way that illuminated my voice and made the narrative sparkle with clarity and form. She knows her stuff and I recommend her without hesitation.
— Linda Curtis, Executive Coach and author of Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Grace

Published Writing from Kati's Classes

Student Awards and Achievements

  • Students accepted into Creative Writing MFA programs at University of Iowa, Oregon State University, University of Arizona, Purdue University, and Washington University-St. Louis, and University of Montana, plus the Creative Writing PhD at Ohio University.

  • Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell won First Place in the Tucson Festival of Books 2017 Nonfiction Contest with her essay "Good Lands of Mercy." The essay was also a finalist for the New Ohio Review's 2016's essay contest, judged by Phillip Lopate.

  • Sara Hubbs' essay "Night Fishing" will be anthologized in an imprint of Talking Writing called "Into Sanity: Finding Meaning from Mental Illness." It first appeared on Talking Writing on March 6, 2017.