writinglifeWriting Life: a four-week women’s writing circle
Nourish Yourself. Honour Your Voice. Write Your Stories.

Wednesday, January 17 to February 14, 2018, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
(four Wednesday afternoons excluding January 24th) 

theme: oh the places you’ll go

The phrase from Dr. Seuss, “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” is a good theme for helping us recall where we’ve been and where we’d like to go. Who are we when we travel? Anonymous among strangers? Or do we become part of a new place, exploring and discovering previously unrealized impressions of ourselves? These aspects of fresh insight can be applied to writing as well, without leaving our chairs. While learning a new language or learning about ourselves, we can take Isabel Huggan’s advice: “Start with little things: flowers, trees, birds. Make a little garden, if only in your head (Belonging: Home Away from Home). “Just pay attention,” poet Mary Oliver tells us. “Patch / a few words together and don’t try / to make them elaborate . . . “ (“Praying”).

Perhaps we are here in order to say: home,
threshold, door, path, pond, lily pad, green,
arbutus, dahlia, orange.
To say them with longing and more intensity
that the Things themselves
ever dreamed of existing.

After Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Ninth Duino Elegy”

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 four weeks is $140 due before the circle begins on January 17, 2018.

Please send your cheque made out to Mary Ann Moore to 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.