On Writing - Rancho La Puerta
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On Writing

Week of February 9, 2019

The Writing Life.  A freelance journalist reveals the secrets to returning to the page, how her career unfolded, and what it takes to keep on keeping on despite all the wild unknowns of the literary world. This talk explores failure and rejection as components to triumph, how to source inspired ideas as a non-judgmental observer, and the wild adventures each story supplies along the way.

Dispelling Doubt: How to Return to Writing Daily, even when you are met with every fear and doubt you could possibly muster.  And, how to face the page after the inevitable truth of rejection.  Writing is a practice of facing those rejections, facing the dark, and continuing to bring light to the page. This workshop provides writing exercises to transform hardship into gold, and teaches how to set new, realistic, and still challenging goals when it feels the world has crumbled.

Creating Order Out of Chaos.  How to construct a self-propelled schedule that sustains your creative work and personal needs.  Learning from people like Norman Mailer and others about what a self-made writer’s work day looks like, and what that teaches us about how to live a life and honor our deeper voice, expect to leave with tools and tricks and a schedule of your own on how to turn unstructured time into a goldmine.

Follow What You Love: Writing is guided by your actual desires whether they be for healing, for escape, for remembering, forgetting, the whole nine yards. In a series of writing exercises, we will shed the “expected” voice, the voice of “obligation,” and really source the core truth of ourselves as individuals.  Learning to hear and understand your own inner wants and needs and why and how that becomes vital for fruitful creative work.


Merissa Nathan Gerson is a widely published journalist with work appearing in The New York Times, Playboy, The Atlantic, Elle Magazine, Tablet, The New York Observer and beyond.  She holds an MFA in Writing and Poetics from the Naropa University Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, a Buddhist school in Colorado, and an MA in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.  Merissa was the inherited trauma consultant to Amazon’s hit show, Transparent, and recently appeared on The Doctors speaking about orgasm meditation. She is the founder of Ken Means Yes, a consent advocacy group, and speaks nationwide on the inheritance of trauma and memory as well as sex, sexuality, and religion.