Photo by Pattie Flint
My Approach to Teaching Writing
I teach writing practices to help people connect to their body, to their creativity, and to the wondrous depths of feminist ethnic studies ways of knowing. My dissertation was on the psychosocial processes and epistemologies (or, ways of knowing) within several lineages of feminist studies writing practices—including practices found in Black studies, Chicana studies, and postcolonial and transnational feminist writing, especially in the 1980s. I brought a particular focus to feminist writing practices on identity itself as dynamic and multiple, and on coalition building practices across differences of identity, including race, gender, sexuality, and class.
(Feminist transnational theorist Jacquie Alexander has a beautiful articulation of this way of understanding dynamic identity.)
Previous to my PhD research on feminist writing practices at UC San Diego, where I earned my doctorate in Ethnic Studies, I completed doctoral coursework in a second PhD program in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at UBC. Prior to that, I graduated summa cum laude with an MA at Yale Divinity School, with attention to what created spiritually rich, psychologically deep, and intellectually rigorous writing practices. Prior to that, I did graduate training in counseling psychology.
From all this training, I focus on using writing as a trauma-informed creative practice that reconnects the head, heart, and spirit, as well as a process that expands our ways of knowing to connect with Spirit, land, water, ancestors, and other-than-human species life.
While I am not a therapist, I am a psychosocial theorist, which means my methods teaching writing bridge interdisciplinary work on the unconscious and the psyche with critical social theory's attention to material histories of power (including race, gender, sexuality, religion, and colonization).
I have taught writing and worked as a writing coach for 20 years. I use the teaching of writing in service of supporting people's finding of their voice, and in service of their learning how to listen to the stories of others. I often call myself a Writing Doula because what I do for my students and clients supports the birthing of creative life and power inside them. It feels like sacred work.
I have loved writing since kindergarten when I wrote my first story about a magical talking horse! I find words enchanting. I asked for a typewriter for Christmas in 3rd grade. I published my first "article"—a 3 sentence letter to the editor—in 6th grade. I have spent most of my adult life trying to create a life in which I get to study and write as much as possible—which led to 5 graduate programs of labor to cultivate my methods as a teacher, theorist, and writer. I believe the study of texts across time and generations and the creation of our own words on a page somehow matters in the Creative evolving life-force of this gorgeous universe.