writinglifeWriting Life: Nourish Yourself. Honour Your Voice.
Write Your Stories. A 6-week Women’s Writing Circle.
Next 6-week circle:  September 2017

Summer 2017 Circles
Destination Unknown: a writing journey of practice, discovery & possibility
(Sign up for one or all of them.)

Wednesday, June 21, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Writing as Self-Compassion & Transformation
“Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, / The photographs, the desperate notes,” the late Derek Walcott wrote in his poem “Love After Love.” Together we’ll “take down” whatever those notes and write. This in itself is an act of self-compassion (an “alchemy of self-compassion” Tara Brach has called it) when we touch our vulnerability and find a natural tenderness there. Many other writers before us will offer inspiration for whatever form our writing takes.

Thursday, June 22, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Your Heart’s Desire
Desire is at the heart of creativity, the late John O’Donohue wrote in To Bless the Space Between Us. “When we engage creatively, we depart from the fixed world of daily routine and grounded facts. We enter into a kind of ‘genesis foyer,’ where something not yet is might begin to edge it way from silence into word, from the invisible into form.” This is the sort of excitement that fuels the writing life. Leave expectations behind and following your desire, enter into a new experience of the unknown to see what will magically unfold.

Wednesday, July 19, 9:30 a.m. to noon Questions as Gateways
“The purpose behind questions is to initiate the quest,” the great mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote. We’ll answer some questions, pose some questions and see how questions open us up to the one story we have to tell.

Thursday, July 20, 9:30 a.m. to noon Writing as Devotion
Writing is a relationship which means there are peaks and valleys. So let’s not be hard on ourselves. Let’s write from a place of having something to say that only we can say. Developing your own “tea house practice” will be a way to begin. “If you choose writing as one of your acts of devotion, prepare to be a student of its wisdom as long as you show up for its gifts. Writing will pull you forward into places you can’t yet see. It will bring with it the challenges you need to become more fully alive and awake. It will bring with it the obstacles you need to grow,” Laraine Herring wrote.

Friday, July 21, 9:30 a.m. to noon Dedication
Imagine writing to someone you once knew, who would that be? Imagine them sitting across the table from you, hanging on your every word. We’ll have a look at establishing an ongoing writing practice and creating a community of support.

Sunday, August 27, 9:30 a.m. to noon Stirring the Pot
Writing begins at the table. Other objects will prompt our writing and we’ll have a look at your own stages of creativity.

Monday, August 28, 9:30 a.m. to noon The Four Directions
What are your stories in each of the four directions of the Celtic Medicine Wheel? The air of the East, the fire of the South, the water of the West and the Earth of the North will help you find your way to your stories through the four elements.

Tuesday, August 29, 9:30 a.m. to noon Opening to Possibilities
There are many forms your writing can take. We’ll have a look at those forms and at the various ways you can explore, imagine, and map your ideas, keeping track of your questions and your process along the way.

Wednesday, September 13, 1 to 3:30 p.m. A Writing Life Salon
Bring a piece of your writing to share at the Writing Life Salon, a circle of women who have been participants in the Destination Unknown summer circles. Meet one another, share your writing if you’d like to, and learn about the writing circles to begin in the fall of 2017.

what happens in a writing circle:

In the Writing Life Circle we write from our lives and create writing lives. We write for the love of it. I offer inspiring readings, poems and prompts as doorways to our own stories and “your own way of looking at things.” Much of our inspiration and creative stimulation comes from one another as well as from the work of other writers. There’s no critiquing and no previous writing experience is necessary. If you are already writing, this gives you the support of others and some further insight into what you’ve been working on. The weekly circle feels like an anchor and an oasis. The four directions and the centre remind us to stay connected to the seasons of the earth and the seasons of our lives. Open to your gifts as you become part of a community of writing women.

[The writing circle] helped me immensely as I was able to get feedback on my writing in a safe and supportive way. Being with other writers inspired me and kept me motivated to continue with my writing. Your wonderful quotes, prompts and reference books provided me with resources that I would have never accessed on my own. It was like being given a writer’s toolbox filled with a limitless source of inspiring tools.
Ginny Sargison

what if you don’t have writing experience?

“Writing” can be a frightening word if you’re used to being judged for it. In the Writing Life Circle we transform thoughts into words, memories into insight and new possibilities. Inherited stories become invented stories, recreated by you. As there’s no pressure to perform, you’re free to explore. I follow circle guidelines from Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture by Christina Baldwin. The guidelines give us structure in the space just as we look for structure in the story.

benefits of the writing life circle

Some women may write another piece of their story and that way keep up the momentum. Others may be open to exploring in the moment as if writing in a journal. Everyone benefits from the circle by listening with attention and speaking with intention. We create a sacred space in which to let our stories reveal themselves. Other benefits include:

  • An exploration of your relationship to silence and stillness,
  • A variety of writing prompts to get you started,
  • Guidelines for your own journaling practice,
  • References for reading and inspiration,
  • Support from a circle of women who are also writing,
  • Witnesses to your creative journey,
  • A creative boost and a reminder that your creativity makes a healthy impact on your life and on the world.
I love the ritual, the sloughing off of the outside world and cloistering of one’s self in that space and time. And the holding back of discussion to a simple echoing back of our fellow “circlers” writing – speaking the phrases that caught us off guard, sparked an inspiration, evoked the curl of a smile or a tiny tear … completes the sacredness of our coming together to write about life.
Stephanie Clark


The fee for each 2-1/2 hour circle is $45 payable to Mary Ann Moore in advance.

Please send your cheque made out to Mary Ann Moore to Mary Ann Moore, 3350 Hickman Place Nanaimo, B.C. V9T 3Y1. Or, if you do online banking, consider an e-transfer.

Please note, once you have paid and if your plans change before the circle begins, your fee will be applied to a future circle.

the setting

The Two Cat Be & Be,
3350 Hickman Place, Nanaimo, B.C. V9T 3Y1


If you haven’t been to a Writing Life Circle before, it’s a good idea to have a chat with Mary Ann in advance. Please contact Mary Ann Moore at 250-729-2630 or creativity@maryannmoore.ca.

the intent of the writing life circle

  • To provide a safe place for women to tell their stories.
  • To find the still centre of ourselves and of the circle.
  • To write what has heart and meaning for us.
  • To realize our role as leaders in a circle of leaders.
  • To remember the divine feminine and embrace our female and male teachers.
  • To becoming a community of peers slowing down to a natural rhythm.

what former writing life circle members have to say:

The writing circle was meaningful, insightful, moving and also fun. I felt privileged to be included among such wonderful women who shared their unique and precious experiences, feelings and thoughts.
Rie Okamura

my experience

As a poet, writer and circle leader, I bring many years of experience, passion and playfulness to writing in community. I find great delight in seeing people awaken their creative potential. My poetry, fiction and personal essays have appeared in chapbooks published by Leaf Press, literary journals, websites, anthologies and on CD: When My Heart is Open. My full-length book of poems, Fishing for Mermaids, was published by Leaf Press in April, 2014. Please visit my books page to see more. And have a look at my blog.  I’ve created a mentoring program called Writing Home: A Whole Life Practice which you can link to here.