Writing Rejuvenation–Summer 2016 Course

People tell you how much they like your writing, or how funny you are, or what rich experiences you’ve had.  But you often don’t see it that way.  You may feel stuck. Or you’re addicted to “shoulds.”  Or  self-doubt rules the day (and night). Or you start writing but forget about it after a couple of days.

I can relate.   It took me years of  befriending chaos while generating  hundreds of pages before I was able to revision, shape, edit, and, eventually,  publish a novel,  Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine.

I look back on those years with gratitude, as I encountered many writers who provided help along the path.  In this class, I want to pass on some of the  methods, practices, advice, themes and experiments I learned from writers such as Anne Waldman, Diane di Prima,  Ernesto Cardenal, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Ed Sanders (to name several). We’ll consider inspiration, collage, investigative poetics, correspondence, interviews, rants, prophetic interventions, slogans & precepts, remembrance of things past,  and more!

Each class session will have a theme, practices,  exercises and plenty of time to be quiet, write, listen, engage, and share.  You can use the class to jump-start an on-going writing practice, or  to re-commit to a project that you once wanted to send out into the world. Both locals and online participants can contribute to a class blog.

Here are the specifics:

In Saint Louis–

  • We meet on Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
  • Beginning June 14 and ending August 2
  • At 830 DeMun (home of Marty and Jerry King)  in Clayton 63105
  • You need paper and pen, or laptop or tablet
  • I’d like to meet up with each participant at least once outside of Tuesday evening  sessions

Online class

  • First agenda shared on June 16

Tuition: Saint Louis $135.00, Online $70, check payable to Mark Chmiel, or with cash.

Email or message me if you are interested.  If you know of someone who may be interested in this way of cultivating creativity and community, please pass along this information.

Take heart from the following reflection:

Until one is committed,
There is hesitancy,
The chance to draw back,
Always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
There is one elementary truth
The ignorance of which
Kills countless ideas and splendid plans;
That the moment one definitely commits oneself
Then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one
Which would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision
Raising in one’s favor
All manner of unforeseen incidents & meetings & material assistance
Which no woman could have dreamt would have come her way.

I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

—adapted from W.H. Murray



  1. Mark,
    I am very interested in your class and would love to join. I am not sure where your email info is located on here but if you still have openings for the class please let me know, thanks!
    ~Annie Brod

  2. Hi. My friend Jason has told me about this class and I would love to participate. I cannot make the first class. Can I still join? If so how do I do that. Thank you!!

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