Monday, October 16, 2023

Online Course in Mindful Writing, January-May 2024


I'll be teaching a HyFlex graduate course on Mindful Writing, January-May 2024 at Salem State University. This course meets on Thursdays, 4:30-6:50 pm online and in-person.

Below you'll find a description of the course and info on how to register as a student outside of Salem State University.


ENG 835

This course addresses a fundamental flaw in most people’s writing education: how school has trained us to overlook the present moment when we write in favor of dwelling on a future outcome with a future reader or a past outcome with a past reader. Traditional education has taught us to be mindless (to overlook the present) when we write, and the problem is that the majority of writing difficulties can be attributed to mindlessness.

Ignoring the present, we tend to think of judgmental readers from the past or future, and this blocks us from writing freely and with a focused mind. Ignoring the present, we expect automatic perfection from pieces of writing we haven’t even had time to draft. Ignoring the present means falling under the sway of our monkey minds, believing storylines we tell ourselves about our potential. Finally, ignoring the present means denying ourselves access to a set of powerful resources for our writing—rhetorical factors that are only visible when the present moment is visible.

ENG 835 offers theoretical grounding and frequent hands-on practice with mindfulness techniques and present-based rhetorical tools. It offers an in-depth mindful exploration of issues of originality, creativity, motivation, community, and resilience geared for students considering careers as creative and academic writers. A present-moment focused writing practice leads to short- and long-term benefits for use in graduate school and beyond. Course concepts include detachment, impermanence, verbal emptiness, preconceptions, ego, embodiment, interbeing, intertextuality, self-care for writers, and audience proximity.


Through mindful awareness, we delve into process strategies to write on a daily basis; motivation when no longer in school; dealing with rejection; staying open to new genre; and handling thesis, dissertation, or publishing deadlines. Also through mindful awareness, we explore structural matters including narrative and organization; imagery and description; metaphor; and character and/or thesis development. Students have the opportunity to tailor a final project around their personal writing plans.


Registration opens late November/early December. For info on how to register, go here.

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 CafĂ©, 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: