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Chapter III

Part A
"If I let you into my life..." 

Part B
Sustaining Longer Stories

Part C
Coming Soon!

Part D

Coming Soon!
Part E
Coming Soon!

Chapter III Review
Resources and tools

REMOVE - Welcome Home Primo--   Painting by Gwynne Duncan (1).jpg

Chapter III, Part A

"If I let you into my life..."

Slowing down, taking stock to prepare for the longer journey

There is something magical about the early weeks of daring each writer to create a Page One Moment and a first scene or two. 


However, engaging each group member in deepening and building on these moments, to continue the journey is a very different story.  This is true whether the participants are working for three to six weeks to write about a particular memory that needs to be told, or developing book-length projects over years of incarceration or within a community setting.  This chapter will take you through an exploration of different options and skills sets that are bound to come up as you, as the facilitator will make certain decisions as to your expectations and goals.


  • Are you invested in people having a finished product at the end of your workshop series?

  • Or would you prefer to have people give their all to each stage of the work, regardless of whether they are near the end of their writing journey when a time-bound workshop series draws to a close?  

    • We have had the experience of having people start projects that are interrupted, continuing or returning years later, precisely because so much time has been devoted to building momentum and power.  

    • In cases where people have been sent upstate to serve long sentences, the unfinished manuscripts, written in jail-approved pebble notebooks without springs, become a lifeline.

    • In cases where people are released to the streets or their notebooks are confiscated, their memory of their stories in depth often sends them back to our organization many years later. 

    • So the fact that they don’t rush to finish their project is a blessing in disguise.   

  • Are you working with an ongoing program?  (Note that often in prison or jail-based settings or with re-entry or probation programming, workshop offerings are incorporated for years on end.  In this case you will have some people who would like to have their work remain open-ended, while others are product driven.  


This chapter is designed to help you deal with both possibilities at once.  We refer you to look Part C of Chapter II, “What to do when people are in different stages of the writing.” 


Regardless of how you have answered these three questions, the overarching goal is to help every writer to develop the skills sets, along with the internal and external agreement to keep going in a deliberate enough way to recapture what happened in the past in a way that will be compelling to the Stranger/ Reader, while providing the writer with new lenses and insights, every step of the way. 

Deeper Dives and Dangerous Spaces

Counter-Intuitive Answers to Working with the Judge both within and without

If I let you into my story, will you promise not to judge?  


As you ask yourself this question in your dual role of workshop facilitator and Imaginary Stranger/Reader, we invite you to sit back and watch this video and let your mind wander back into the time of Herstory’s beginnings from which it continues echo” 


Do you see how the story openers themselves are fast forwarding a new stranger into a place beyond judgment into wanting to be invited in?  They are fast forwarding us into a place of wanting more, which is where our chapter on sustaining our stories towards new places of healing, understanding, and restoration must begin.


Is that command, to promise not to judge realistic?  Or is it coming from a deeper place, for which there might be other solutions, if we truly let the Stranger/ Reader into even our darkest moments?

 Stay tuned for a special video response from Judge Fernando Camacho about what actual judges are seeking to find in a story when they are making the decisions that will affect people's lives.  

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