What is joy? It is different from happiness, which is externally generated and usually triggered by other people, things, places, events or thoughts. We are happy when things happen to us that make up feel pleasure. Joy is internally generated. It’s an attitude or approach to life that is intrinsic to how we view our circumstances. And because it’s internally generated, you have control over whether you find joy in your life. One of the ways to manifest joy is through a practice of expressing thanks for our lives. This course offers new ways to approach life and its sometimes difficult moments through a writing practice focused on gratitude. Using some of the classic texts on this (Writing Down the Bones, Simple Abundance, The Artist’s Way), students will engage in a daily writing practice over four weeks intended to open the writer up to new possibilities and a way of viewing life with gratitude and joy.
Learning outcomes/objectives: Through the practice of expressing gratitude through writing, participants will develop a sense of peace, goodwill and internal control for an overarching feeling of joy. Through this practice we not only shift our belief system internally, but see it expand and extend to the world around us.
Marcia Meier is an author, developmental book editor, writing coach, and publisher of Weeping Willow Books. Her latest book is Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty, co-edited with Kathleen A. Barry, Ph.D. Her other books include Ireland, Place Out of Time (Weeping Willow Books, 2017), Heart on a Fence, (Weeping Willow Books, 2016), Navigating the Rough Waters of Today’s Publishing World, Critical Advice for Writers from Industry Insiders (Quill Driver Books, 2010) and Santa Barbara, Paradise on the Pacific, (Longstreet Press, 1996). She recently completed a memoir, Return to Fourth Street, which is under submission.
Marcia’s poems have appeared in Writers Resist, Prime Number Magazine online, the anthology Knocking at the Door, Poems About Approaching the Other, and Sage Trail Literary Magazine. She has studied with Carolyn Forché (Hedgebrook in March 2016) and Kim Addonizio (six-week poetry workshop in fall 2017). A newspaper journalist for nearly 18 years, she has freelanced or written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, The Writer magazine, Santa Barbara Magazine, Pacific Standard Magazine online, and The Huffington Post.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MFA in creative writing, and has taught writing workshops and numerous college and university courses. Marcia is a member of the Author’s Guild and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Visit her websites at www.marciameier.com and www.weepingwillowbooks.com.
Philosophy on coaching/editing
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got when I was a young newspaper editor (from a grizzled old-timer) was to edit so that the original voice and intent of the author is clarified and enhanced but never changed so that it becomes unrecognizable to the writer. That is the one guiding rule I follow in everything I do. My intent is to help writers say what they want to say in strong, clear and powerful or lyrical prose, in their own voice. When it comes to coaching, I love to brainstorm character development, dialogue, scenes, and narrative arc. With manuscript review, I believe in helping writers learn how to help themselves, so I offer guidance and encouragement as well as specific editing and revision suggestions.