Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Mindful Storyteller in You: New Program Fall 2023

 

The Mindful Storyteller in You  

Presented by Alexandria Peary 


What stories connect you to the Granite State? In this workshop led by New Hampshire State Poet Laureate Alexandria Peary, we'll focus on jumpstarting your most important place-based stories. You'll practice mindful writing techniques that offer a fresh way to start a story you may have contemplated telling for a while, and in the process, could discover unexpected stories that have been waiting to be told. Developing an openness to the present moment, you'll free yourself from thinking there are stories you "should" write. Learn how to practice "moment tracking" to develop a path your story may take. The session will close with strategies to continue the creative momentum at home and give you more tools to finish your story. We'll also talk about how to remain receptive to changes in the draft, keeping an open mind about its final form through genres like flash nonfiction, the personal essay, and prose poetry.


Choose your date and location:


Wednesday, September 20 at 5:00 pm

Wayfarer Roasters Downtown Café, 626 Main Street, Laconia RSVP


Friday, October 6 at 2:30 pm

AVA Gallery, 11 Bank Street, Lebanon RSVP


Saturday, October 21 at 10:30 am

Historical Society of Cheshire County, 246 Main Street, Keene RSVP

As part of our multi-year initiative, Becoming New Hampshire, these workshops will culminate in a heartfelt and lively on-stage conversation between New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult and New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alexandria Peary in Jodi Picoult and the Writing Life: More Than a Good Story at the New Hampshire Humanities Annual Celebration on Wednesday, November 8 at 5 pm at The Palace Theatre. DETAILS

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Essay on Creative Emptiness for National Poetry Month

 


I've published a piece at WBUR's Cognoscenti on mindful writing to celebrate National Poetry Month. It's about how I handle creative emptiness and also about how poetry started in my life because of a medication and birth defects. 

You can find the article here.




Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Online Talk on Mindful Writing (April 14, 2023)

 



I'll be giving a Mindful Writing presentation for NH Humanities on April 14, 2023,  5 PM EST. This talk is sponsored by NH Humanities and is online & free to the public. 





This Very Moment is Perfect for Writing

Mindful writing is the nonjudgmental observation of the ever-changing present to gain a healthy perspective on our internalized critics, better manage our preconceptions, and enjoy access to continuously arising wording and ideas. Mindfulness at the desk leads to increased self-confidence in our creativity and stronger connection with others. This session provides an overview of mindful writing as well as hands-on practice with techniques easily replicated later at home.

Registration required:

https://www.nhhumanities.org/programs/1564/this-very-moment-is-perfect-for-writing

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Panel at the University of New Hampshire Deep Time Lab






I'll be talking about mindful writing as a panelist at the University of New Hampshire's Deep Time Lab this Tuesday. 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM.

Deep Time Lab: The Present is the first in a three-part series of community conversations exploring how we situate ourselves within Time. The series explores new connections between past, present, and potential futures through the research of UNH faculty and community scholars. The conversation is a compliment to the Solastalgic Archive and Deep Time Lab exhibition at the Museum of Art. The exhibition asks viewers to consider living in our current age of accelerated change, which reveals that there is not a single, predictable future. Panelists will explore the idea that history is a story that can be retold and revised: What will be is being scripted right now.

Deep Time Lab: The Present features a conversation between Dr. Cristina Faiver-Serna, UNH Department of Geography and Women's and Gender Studies, Dr. Alexandria Peary, Salem State University and New Hampshire Poet Laureate, and Dr. Tu Lan, UNH Department of Geography. Join us to explore time as a language, a measure, loss, abundance, a social context, a scientific principle, a spiritual space, and a cultural expression.

This event is a hybrid in-person and Zoom event. Location: room A218 in the Paul Creative Arts Center. Registration is required to attend the program via Zoom.

Register to attend via Zoom here.

Joins us for all events in this series, Deep Time Lab: The Past on October 27th and Deep Time Lab: The Future, on November 3rd.

Deep Time Lab: The Present compliments the exhibition the Solastalgic Archive and Deep Time Lab on view at the Museum of Art through December 3, 2022. 



Thursday, September 29, 2022

Free Mindful Writing Event for Students








Mindful Writing Event for Students



Next week, I'll be presenting to students (from any school in the country) ways to use mindfulness to become less stressed about writing. This session will last around 50 minutes, is free for students, and is happening online.


Registration required: register here.


October 3, 2022—Downgrade Doubt & Procrastination: This session is designed for middle school to college-aged students. Teachers are welcome to sit in and observe. If you’ve been slogging through a writing task, a powerful transformation can happen just by switching your attention to the present moment. The battle of self-doubt and procrastination that has been raging in you turns into a temple of self-respect and focused calm. In this session, we’ll walk through a series of quick steps at the desk to reduce writing worry through mindfulness so that, within minutes, you’ll be starting or continuing that writing assignment.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Materials on Mindful Writing

 
Here's a compilation of my recent publications
and talks on mindful writing as a
resource for you.




Book and articles:

Prolific Moment: Theory and Practice of Mindfulness for Writing (Routledge 2018). 

Promo code SS225, when used at checkout at https://www.routledge.com/

will generate a 25% discount.


“The Role of Mindfulness in Kairos.” Rhetoric Review. 35.1 (2016): 22-34.

"Mantra of Intention." New Writing: International Journal for the Practic
and Theory of Creative Writing. 19.1 (2022): 3-12

"What Does Mindfulness Offer Teachers?" Interview with NCTE, Council
Chronicle, November 2021:  article here.

Desk Meditations: here.

“Writing in the Company of Ghost Readers.” The Writer’s Forum. Vol. 205. 
Nov. 2018.

“The Ability to Write is Always Present.” Guest Blog Post for National 
Council of Teachers of English, May 2018: here.
 
“The Point of Now.” Guest Blog Post for the North American Review, 
Summer 2018: here.

Presentations available online:

2019 TEDx talk, “How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You 
Write”: video.

“How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You Write a Novel.” Webcast for 2021 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo):  video.

NCTE Mindful Writing Webinar Series at National Council of Teachers
of English. Host and architect of show. (A new series is happening in September/October 2022: more info soon): here.  here.  And here.

Mindful Writing: A Conversation. Featured speaker at What a Word 
is Worth Podcast: Conversations with Creative People on Collective
Healing Using Innovative Means. Host: Dr. Marianela Medrano. 
December 5, 2021: podcast.
 
“Why Writing Goes Better in College if You’re Mindful”: Academic Speaker Series
Lecture at Landmark College, Putney, VT. February 23, 2022: video.

           
Additional presentations:

"Present Moment, Prolific Moment: Using Mindfulness to Write." Workshop I 
offer through New Hampshire Humanities: here

 Keynote Address on Mindful Writing for Secondary Schools Writing Centers
 Association (SSWCA) Conference. March 2021. 

This Very Moment is Perfect for Writing.” Presenter. 2nd Annual Conference 
on Writing and Well-Being Crossings: Exploring Shared Work in Writing. 
University of Nevada, Reno. January 2021.

Presentation on Mindful Writing for Southern New Hampshire University. 
April 20, 2020. 



Sunday, April 10, 2022

Groundlessness: A Compilation



I invited the students in my ENL 221: Mindful Writing course to share their thoughts on groundlessness with you.


Authors: Dasia Dobbs, Meghan Miraglia, J. G. Bova, camryn rose, Bailey Hughes, J.P, Gabrielle Vitiello, Sofia Ciriello, Iliana De Peña, R. LeBlanc Lutts, Casey Saraceno, Joseph Tadesse, Matthew Lydon, and Phoebe Leo.

 

QUESTION 1: How would you explain groundlessness to a friend or family member?

I would explain groundlessness as a form of recognition without preconceptions, being open to what is already happening but not too fixated on it.

Groundlessness is letting go of all control, all preconceptions, ideas, opinions, etc.

I would explain groundlessness as letting go of your preconceptions and start looking at everything around you with a benign indifference. The world is what it is and you are just floating in it.

Groundlessness is the acceptance that there is no ultimate answer or destination or reason for being. It is the ability to accept everything and nothing simultaneously.

Groundlessness is being more open minded to the ideas of things in question, it is a question with the answer being more willing to listen to more ideas.

Groundlessness is a state of knowing and unknowing in which people simultaneously find comfort and discomfort all at once; the notion that our existence simply is.

Groundlessness is the complete release of depending on things that keep you numb. You may think you're secure, but groundlessness pushes you to a space of deep discomfort and lack of control.

Groundlessness is just being okay with the fact that nothing stays the same.

Groundlessness is not holding onto your teachings as the rule because there is more to everything than what you were taught and you should be open to experiencing more.

Groundlessness is a being open minded to things going on in your mind.

Realizing that nothing is permanent and just accepting that everything is constantly changing. Just like our breath is constantly changing so is everything else, nothing will stay the same.

Groundlessness is the state of letting go of preconceptions and other thoughts.

Groundlessness is the idea of truly understanding and being able to accept change. Everything changes all the time everyday, every second.

The way that I would explain groundlessness is that it's an idea where you would not hold on to things and make room for other things without clinging to one idea.

I would explain this as a way of letting go of all other perceptions so that they do not reflect and cause me to hold onto preconceived thoughts. This can cause you to lose your own wisdom.

 

QUESTION 2: Why should we be interested in groundlessness?


You should be interested because it gives us the freedom to simply be and to exist without fear—since whatever you're doing is enough.

Doing this will not hold you back to new experiences, ideas, opinions, etc. if you cling on to something or don’t challenge yourself, you are vulnerable.

We should be interested in groundlessness because anything that keeps us dependent keeps us unreal. These things we over-rely on make us unknowable, even to ourselves. Groundlessness helps us accept change and accept the fact that the things we cling to are already decaying.

You should be interested due to the fact it is a way to enlighten your mind, a way to develop and keep growing as an individual. A way to become a better person.

You should be interested in groundlessness because your habits might not be you. They may be because of someone else and in that case you should try and let go of them to discover more.

We should be interested in groundlessness because by detaching  from our worldly concerns or responsibilities, even those that give us feelings of security, we can see what comes to us in our state of emptiness without the influences of other things.

You should be interested in it because Pema Chodron mentioned it allows you to connect with the mind that knows no fear. Accepting that things are constantly changing and you shouldn't hold onto the concept of anything. This allows for no suffering and to really connect deeper with your mind.

The way that groundlessness can be applied is that it could be helpful when trying to learn something new and the topic is always changing so it would be not a good idea to cling to one.

This is something to take interest in because without this idea we can easily fall behind or become “vulnerable” to multiple things surrounding us like: ideas, definitions, topics, beliefs, etc.

If you’re not noticing and accepting groundlessness, you allow fear to get in the way of your being.

Groundlessness is interesting because it detaches one from everything and nothing at the same time. It is a state in which people can delve deeper into the connections that lie all around them.

Groundlessness is the opposite of being grounded, because if you find something to ground yourself with that "something" could change and throw you off your course again. So you can't root yourself in anything and be completely safe. Hence, accepting groundlessness.

It allows us to be open minded and let things go.

 

QUESTION 3: How should a person practice groundlessness?

 

Start by realizing that emptiness is a form. If you pull away from it and get rid of it, you are able to start the process.

We can practice this by letting thoughts go as they come in and releasing our preconceptions. Not just things that trouble or worry us, but also those that we typically love or enjoy.

How you should practice groundlessness is really hard for me to explain. I feel like learning the term and what it really means is a start; once your mind can wrap around the idea of groundlessness, your mindset may be able to slowly be altered to try and fulfill a kind of groundlessness, even if it isn’t all at once. Yeah.

We can practice groundlessness by understanding that there is nothing to hold onto, including the teaching that there is nothing to hold onto. We should also question and experiment with things our "teachers" tell us: we should accept nothing without thoughtful inquisition.

To practice groundlessness, I believe you have to remind yourself constantly about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Are you doing it because you are curious and are trying to learn from all different sources so you can gain your own thoughts or are you doing it because that is exactly what you were taught to do so it is comfortable?

Learn to question but actually listen and absorb.

I would say that groundlessness is a state, it simply is. I think that it is unwise to call it something to achieve. I think it would be possible to practice it by doing and not attaching yourself to the idea of it.

You can practice by challenging your thoughts and asking yourself “why” when you are doing things. Maybe the “why” is because that is what the teacher is asking us to do to complete the assignment. But that is all it is, it is not a fundamental, universal reason for doing it.

The way that you can apply this is to not accept things the way they are but make sure to keep an open mind.

Practice it by just accepting what is there and don't judge, perceive, or hold onto it. Just let it be, whatever happens, happens. Maybe just take everything that you believe and accept that it is not real or permanent. It is not going to be there forever.

Find comfort in things but don't get too comfortable so that when things change it won't be as detrimental or surprising. 

How to practice this? Is never holding too hard onto anything. Understand that these should all be loosely understood in your mind. No matter how factual it may seem, you don't know if it will change one day. Holding on and believing everything you think is true will never change can be dangerous.

By not being attached to anything and keep learning more different perspectives and ways of thinking.