‘a sense of belonging together on a creative level’

English: A Sense of Belonging, acacia cedar sc...

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This was one of many responses after last week’s ‘read-around,’ an opportunity for those who have been writing weekly inside Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility to read to guests.  All guests were other inmates who signed up to attend. At the end of the reading, everyone was invited to write a response to the question: ‘what would draw you to the group, and what would keep you away?’ Given that this reading was the first exposure to ‘writinginsidevt’ for well over half the women present, the comments speak volumes to both what women hunger for; and how strongly the safety of our circle is conveyed through our practices and words.

‘What would draw me to the group would be the sense of belonging together on a creative level; a sense of comraderie as well as self. What would keep me from coming back would be for the group to become about materialistic things rather than what we can take away. That I feel is something I desperately need in my life. It’s about getting what you put in!’

‘Women “writing for a change” is powerful and creative. Face your feelings – express them! share, be, laugh, cry. Disrespect to others’ creativity being tolerated would deter me.’

‘I would not attend if I did not feel comfortable to share honestly.’

‘I want to come so I can learn how to write better. I wouldn’t come if there wasn’t a chance to learn.’

‘Encourage me – getting to know the women on a more intimate level. Discourage me – breaking confidentiality.’

‘Spur to come: committed women. Inhibitors to coming: women that are not serious about writing.’

‘Wanting to come: peace, warmth, freedom of emotion. Not want to come: fellow inmates not taking this seriously. Thank you.’

‘Draw me in: confidence, mystery.  Keep me away: nothing! love it’

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