Trauma memoir writing workshop*

Georgia NeSmith
6 min readApr 20, 2021

I am organizing a memoir writing workshop for women like myself who have suffered deep trauma in their childhoods or early adulthood — emotional injuries that carry forward and mess up our adult lives as well.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Of course, many of those injuries trace back to physical and sexual abuse. And then there are the “big picture” injuries related to global political and social conditions continuing to do us deep emotional and physical harm. These conditions include systemic racism, misogyny (including transgender misogyny), homophobia, disability, and a whole host of other sources/excuses for hatred toward our persons that come at us from people who don’t know us at all, except as social categories they know only by stereotype.

It’s all one very monstrous package we haul around on our backs. And it doesn’t go away. Therapy helps, but only to calm the surface until the next serious challenge to our very humanity falls upon our shoulders, and we nearly fall down because of it.

I call it “Ongoing Traumatic Stress Disorder” (OTSD). OTSD derives from the multiple ways people misperceive and misunderstand us…even hate us…for reasons having nothing to do with who we are. It goes far beyond the personal to the social, cultural, and political arenas in which we have to struggle so hard — solely to maintain a sense of ourselves as human beings — that we become exhausted from the fight.

And some of us give up. Or nearly give up. (See links at the end of this article connecting to stories involving various moments of my struggle just to stay alive in the last 40 years.)

This creative workshop is intended to help participants heal through writing memoir — both the most horrific and most amazing moments of our lives.

Ideally, participants will have publishing as a goal, tho publishing isn’t a requirement for participation, especially since until we go down deep into the scariest moments of our lives it may be all we can do just to hang on.

Sometimes when you go deep into your buried experiences, you don’t have the strength to make it public, at least at first. Though you may eventually grow strong enough to face it in…

--

--

Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.