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Local author teaches people to heal by writing

| January 25, 2016, 01:06 PM | 1 Comment
Laura Oliver

Author and writing instructor Laura Oliver at her Annapolis home. By Elyzabeth Marcussen, Hospice of the Chesapeake

Journalist Allen Saunders once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

That couldn’t be truer in the case of Laura Oliver and her work with the Chesapeake Life Center.

The award-winning author had decided she wanted to offer a writing workshop at the Wellness House in Annapolis to help people who had suffered a great loss and started planning via email with the person she thought was in charge. Only the person she was emailing actually worked with Chesapeake Life Center.

“You know how the universe works,” Oliver said.

Since that fortuitous email error, Oliver has spent the last decade offering writing for healing workshops at Chesapeake Life Center, as well as teaching creative writing workshops open to the public at St. John’s College. Her next writing for healing workshop, “Write It Down to Lay It Down: Healing After Loss, will be held from 10:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, at Chesapeake Life Center on the John & Cathy Belcher Campus at 90 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena, MD.

This is not a class on how to become a better writer. In fact, writing skills are not even necessary. Oliver said all that is necessary is an open spirit and creative desire.

Oliver created her writing for healing workshop after having had what she said was “a horrendous year of loss.” She realized it was hard to let go of what she didn’t understand and paraphrasing Arlene Croce said, “I began to write to understand what had happened to me. Writing brings clarity. In clarity, there is freedom.”

What she did for herself she then decided to do for others.

Those attending the workshop typically have experienced a loss that has, as Oliver puts it, written a new chapter in their lives. Using the power of their own words and inspiration from words shared by others, Oliver guides people to honor their own experiences and rewrite their stories. “Words are so powerful,” she said. “Words change your thoughts. Thoughts change your feelings.”

The act of writing about loss helps participants to let go, as one workshop participant – who actually inspired the name of the workshop — experienced. At the end of the class, she shared her appreciation with Oliver: “I may not be a better writer and I’m still dealing with grief, but I have learned that to write it down is to lay it down.”

Oliver is honored and humbled to be able to help people find a creative outlet to write their own life’s story. “They enrich my life hugely.”

The cost is $15 and registration is required by calling 1.888.501.7077.

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Category: Events, LIFE IN THE AREA, Local News, NEWS

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