WHO WE ARE, WHERE WE LIVE: Buckeye-Shaker
Decades of research by Social Psychologist James Pennebaker demonstrates that when people write for as few as 20 minutes, connecting their experience (what they saw, heard, smelled, tasted and touched) with their emotions, amazing things happen. Their brains release powerful chemicals—endorphins and oxytocin, among others—that enhance well-being and even health. They report a sense of catharsis, of releasing repressed memories and thoughts, of understanding their experiences more fully.
When people engage in this “expressive writing” in community, the results are even more pronounced. Participants report a powerful sense of bearing witness to others’ experiences, and value being heard by others with differing perspectives. The solitary writer and reader are brought out of isolation, and the potential for community connection begins.
In the “Who we are, Where we live” writing workshops, we practice this kind of writing—recalling moments and places in our lives, whether decades-old or recent. We use short poems written by known poets as inspiration and join each other in writing exercises. Then we share our writings with each other, not to critique or improve upon them, but merely to have them heard.
Workshops were held at Rice Library and at the East End Neighborhood House and engaged a varied group of community members. Please join that community by enjoying the photos below and the results of these workshops with the same sense of witness that we brought to each other’s work.