Ateliers





With the Sheffington Writers Group, created after a series of workshop taught by Munira in the Eastern Townships
Photo by Gillian Lortie

Munira has been teaching creative and spiritual writing workshops in Quebec, New England and the Pacific Northwest for the past several years. To schedule a workshop, contact Munira at muniraavin@gmail.com. Here is a description of some of the workshops she offers:


Attention and Intention

(Writing as a Spiritual Practice)

Writing becomes a practice when it is done regularly. But how does it become a spiritual practice? In this workshop, we will explore ways to know ourselves through writing and how to receive the inspiration which is always available.

We will consider the following questions:

How do we find this inspiration?

What is the difference between writing as therapy and writing as a spiritual practice?

Can we focus our attention effectively?

Can we make a difference in this troubled world?

When does writing become a meditation?

Bring a notebook and, if you like, a poem or short passage of prose which has inspired you.


Cave of Secrets

(Using imagery and symbolism in poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction)

We are explorers. When we write, we go deeper and deeper into the unconscious, looking for the secrets of life – the secrets that often can be expressed only by an image or a symbol. But how do we know when we've brought back an image which is strong, natural and effective? How do we avoid the contrived, the trite and the cliché?

In this workshop, we will explore the answers to these questions. If you like, you may bring examples of poems or prose passages which have inspired you by their effective use of imagery and symbolism. We will also be writing and sharing our own work.


Elements of Story

We humans love stories. Everything we write or speak contains a story – sometimes fragmented, sometimes hidden – but a story nonetheless. In this workshop we will focus on the elements of the written story. A complete story must answer the following questions: who, where, when, what and why. If we understand how these questions are answered through character, setting, plot and theme, we will enhance our ability to create vibrant and fascinating stories in both prose and poetry.

The workshop will focus on the following story elements:

Plot (What happened?)

Character (Who did it?)

Setting (When and where did it happen?)

Theme (Why bother to tell about it?)


Illuminating the Ordinary

(A creative and spiritual writing workshop)

Most of the moments of our lives are ordinary. Occasionally, something "exciting" happens. Occasionally, we have adventures. But most of the time, we just live our lives, getting up in the morning, working, cooking, cleaning, doing what we "need" to do and trying to find some time to do what we "want" to do. We often forget that the secret to enlightenment lies in the present moment, no matter how ordinary it is. A writing practice is one way to pay attention, to see the world from different perspectives and to detect the symbolic significance of the natural world. When we view our lives through the lens of a regular writing practice, we see layer upon layer of meaning and the most ordinary moments begin to shine.

In this workshop, we will explore the various ways that writing can bring us to a deeper understanding of both our internal and external worlds.


Leaving Space

(A poetry workshop)

Poetry leaves more space than prose – more space on the page and more space in the mind. Generally, a poem begins with an image. Poetry leaves questions unanswered, allows leaps in logic, no worry about grammar.

In this workshop, we will examine the significance of elements of poetry such as rhythm, imagery and symbolism. We will explore our own relationship to poetry by reading, writing and sharing the poems that we choose or that have chosen us.


Polishing the Mirror

Writing is a mirror which reflects the perceptions of the writer and, eventually, the reader as well. As we write and revise our work, we go through a process of polishing this mirror until the reflections it gives are both clear and vivid.

In this workshop, we will focus on the steps of writing from the inspired abandon of the first draft to the secret joys of rewriting. Experienced and beginning writers of prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction are welcome. You may share samples of your own writing or excerpts from other authors if you wish.


Inspirations

(Writing from Painting and Music )

Through spontaneous writing exercises similar to those introduced by Natalie Goldberg in "Writing Down the Bones" and Julia Cameron in "The Artist's Way" we will explore our own responses as we look at paintings and listen to music, which is rich with associations and poetic content. These practices are designed to free creativity, bypass the inner critic and reveal unexpected thoughts, feelings and associations. They can also provide the raw material for future writing projects. We will share our writing and impressions in a mutually supportive setting.