Mid-fall newsletter: New writing workshop track! New mugs and tees! Reflections on trying to feel present

Dear friends,

I moved almost three months ago, and I’ve been slowly unpacking, organizing, and decorating, trying to make this place feel like home. I borrowed a neighbor’s stepladder and finally hung some art, and two wonderful friends came over and helped me put together my IKEA bureau, which was honestly way above and beyond the call of friendship.

I love it in my new place, but I don’t quite feel fully present yet, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the six or seven still-unpacked boxes, or the cleaning and organizing still left to do. Maybe it will just take time. I talk to myself about it, as I drive through the neighborhood, or sit on my porch or on the front steps. “You live here,” I say. “This is your home. This is your porch, and these are the morning glories you planted that are finally blooming. These are your ridiculous, gorgeous jade plants in the new office sun.” It becomes almost liturgy, ritual, naming my life, my home, my self.

My morning glories finally blooming

But I still feel lost in thought, lost in stress and worry about money, about whether my feet and knees will ever heal, whether I’ll ever be able to nanny again or make enough to live on as a writer. I feel deeply in need of grounding, of returning to my body and its physical place on the earth. What I wouldn’t give for my knees to be up for a few good sun salutations, or a nice long evening walk. Or to stroll slowly through a park at a toddler’s ambling pace, then sit and snuggle that toddler as we read. I have lost so many of my best ways of being present, because of the pandemic and my own injuries.

But I keep trying. “These are your yellow walls. This is your view of the sunrise and sunset. This is your yard where the bunny visits, where you toss out carrot tops and lettuce leaves for her. This is where the frost will soon color the grass-tips white in the morning, where you will see your breath when you go out—your own breath, from your own dear body, in this place and this time, on this dear earth.”

New Track in the Finding Your Voice Writing Workshop

Some fun news about the Finding Your Voice Writing Workshop: We are adding a new track! Track one will still be for those with depression or other mental illness, but track two will be open to anyone who wants to write. We all have a story to tell, and I wanted to loop in more of you and your stories. There will still be focused encouragement and community for writers with mental illness, but there will now be an additional group for anyone who wants the tools, practice, and feedback that this six-week workshop offers.

Do you dream of being a writer, but don’t know how to get started? Do you wish you could connect with other aspiring writers? Then this workshop is for you. Over the course of six weeks you will receive affirmation and encouragement, as well as an overview of four genres of writing: Poetry, fiction, essay, and creative nonfiction. Through six guided writing assignments you will have the opportunity to try out different ways of writing, to receive feedback on your work, from me and the other participants, and to offer feedback to others.‍

By the end of the workshop, you will have six pieces of writing to build on, and a community of other writers to support and encourage you in your work.To learn more, register, or apply for a scholarship, go to workshops.jessicakantrowitz.com.The workshop begins October 30th, so register soon! And please feel free to share with anyone you think may be interested.

“You are not alone” mugs and tees

I finally managed to hire a calligrapher and figure out how to design the t-shirts, and my store is live now! Tees, mugs, hoodies, and even a sticker! I’ve also redesigned my Love is love chicken mug, but all 2021 chicken proceeds still go to Our Bible app. There are more colors and styles up at the online store.

Finding Your Voice Author Chat

Besides working hard on the writing workshop and doing edits and gathering endorsements for my third book, Blessings for the Long Night, I’ve also started a new interview series! My first guest was the incredible writer, musician, and now TikTokker, Matt Bays. You can watch our conversation up on my Instagram page.

Matt and I dug into his two books and the eventful time between writing them, as well as how his coming out affected his writing and his life. It was a really great conversation, despite the fact that I was literally like a deer in the headlights with my new ring light.

I’m hoping to have some other great writers on soon! Also, I made the graphics myself and am inordinately proud of myself.

That’s all for now, friends. I’m about to get buried in the workshop for the next few weeks, but I’ll hopefully be back in December to let you know how it went. Or maybe you’ll already know because you’ll have been a part of it! A girl can dream. 🙂

And as always, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! (I’m the weirdest and most honest on Twitter. 🙂

With much love and hope,
Jessica

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