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Writing to Heal

with Julie Maloney

December 2, 2012, 2PM-4PM

At last Sunday’s Speaker Series event, “Writing to Heal”, Julie Maloney, Founder and Director of Women Reading Aloud, began by having participants sit in a circle. It was a conscious choice, one intended to break barriers between strangers and create a safe, welcoming space for healing through words.

Writing in a circle

Julie explained, “Everything we write today is assumed to be fiction,” giving each writer permission to express themselves freely and know that they would not be judged. “We will talk about what’s working in a piece, not how to fix it.” She also shared the concept of kula, a Sanskrit word meaning community.

Julie Maloney

After a calming moment of guided breathing based on yogic techniques, participants read Pat Schneider’s poem, “Sometimes Writing”. Julie guided them further to read random lines from the poem, threading together the thoughts until the meaning of the words was magically transformed and deepened.

writing to a prompt


Soon participants were writing to mind-opening prompts as Julie encouraged them to reach within. “Write from the toes up… from the breath. You are so much more than what’s in the head. We’re not writing from the outside in but from the inside out. We want to hear the rawness.”

As participants shared their work aloud, Julie encouraged them to sit on the edges of their chairs and become givers. “You have three roles to play today. One is the writer. But when you read, you are the giver, the narrator. You are safe behind the page. And finally, you are the listener. All of you are the receivers of these words.”

Julie gives encouragement


The work created in the workshop was moving and beautiful, filled with richness of language and spirit. In just a couple of hours, the writers grew closer and more connected both to one another and themselves, sharing critiques that focused on the beauty of each other’s thoughts, phrasing, imagery and honesty.


As Julie closed the workshop with a final healing breath and the gentle strike of a chime, she told participants, “I hope you come away from this class with a valuable tool: the feeling that ‘I have a voice that is unique and beautiful.’”

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What Participants Had to Say

"The presentation was sensitive and fostering and respectful."

"Fantastic! Julie was an expert at keeping everyone involved."